Brother International (Aust) DCP-110C

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Brother International (Aust) DCP-110C

Pros

  • Fast, quality printing, fast copying

Cons

  • Not as quiet as advertised, roller patterns around the edge of prints, copy quality suffers a little

Bottom Line

Small, inexpensive and well performing, the DCP110C is recommended if you are after a basic machine for very good quality document printing and adequate photo output. It also has a built-in memory card reader.

Would you buy this?

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Inexpensive and stylish, the DCP-110C's compact design is perfect for the home user who wants an understated device for printing, copying and scanning.

Its internal workings are different from most other multifunction devices. Whereas most other devices have their ink cartridges fitted to a moving print head, the DCP-110C has its ink tanks fitted to the actual body of the machine. Ink is transferred from the ink tanks to the moving print head via a tube system. Brother calls this Capillary Tube Technology.

The main reason for implementing it is to keep the print head's weight to a minimum, which in turn reduces noise and vibration caused by the side-to-side motion of the print head. We found the vibration from this printer to be slightly less than that of some of the other units in its price range, but the paper feed mechanisms, rollers and even the print head were all noticeably audible during testing, and certainly not as quiet as we had hoped they would be.

The input tray at the front of the printer can hold up to 100 sheets of paper, which is then pushed through a curved paper path and pushed out to rest in the output tray, located above the input tray. Both these trays are within the footprint of the unit itself, with only a small flap protruding towards the front of the unit to hold up the paper that has been output. This allows for only 25 sheets to be held in the output area of the printer.

The DCP-110C provides four modes for versatile document printing--fast, fast normal, normal and fine--with fast mode producing light grey text suitable for proofing and fast normal mode producing darker, relatively sharp text that is easy on the eyes. Fine mode is noticeably the sharpest and darkest of all modes and, of course, the slowest. During our testing, a full page of text took 1 minute 14 seconds to complete in fine mode, 30 seconds in normal mode, 22 seconds in fast normal mode and 17 seconds in fast mode.

During photo printing, the Brother demonstrated quite good sharpness and colour tones for a printer in this price range, although there was very slight colour banding in areas of gradation. Our test photo-quality prints were completed in 5 minutes 20 seconds.

We did notice that all our photo printouts were affected by consistent roller patterns at the right edge of the images, possibly due to a characteristic of the paper output mechanism.

For scanning, the DCP-110C has a basic TWAIN driver that allows for few custom settings (resolution and brightness/contrast) and lacks the ability to descreen images, which takes out patterns that can be evident when scanning in magazine or book images, for example. The lack of features does make it very easy to use, however. Those looking for basic scanning will be pleased by its colour capabilities, although we did find greyscale scans to be rather blotchy and lacking in detail. For OCR, Brother supplies ScanSoft's OmniPage, which does a good job of scanning and preparing text for editing very quickly. The only mistake made by this software during testing was its misinterpretation of "rr" as "n".

Scan keys on the control panel make it easy to quickly scan documents and images to the computer, or even to a memory card.

Photocopies of colour documents did not colour match well in our tests, and came out darker than our originals and without the same level of clarity. "Best quality" copies were very fast, however, with a full-page colour photo completing in just 2 minutes 19 seconds. Photocopies of a full-page text document produced slightly muddy text in normal mode, but came out in just 28 seconds.

The DCP-110C only has a one-line LCD to show the settings you are applying. The control buttons are all fairly simple to use and the menu system easy to navigate. Changing settings and browsing the menu produces annoying beeps.

While shortcut buttons make copy and scan functions very convenient, the Brother Control Center software can be used to quickly execute tasks from Windows.

The integrated memory card reader on the front of the unit also makes it easy to print borderless photos from your digital camera's memory card, and you can view the contents of your card by printing out index pages.

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