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Brother DCP-L3550CDW review: A reliable printer outperformed by its siblings

Expert Reviews Staff
19 Jun 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
267
inc VAT

Decent printing and some strong features – but Brother has shot its DCP-L3550CDW in the foot

Pros 
Affordable colour laser multifunction printer
Scans are very quick
Cons 
Print speeds are slow
Better alternatives for similar prices
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Brother’s DCP-L3550CDW is a relatively affordable colour laser MFP, but it’s full of useful features for a home or small office: wired and wireless networking, fax, duplex printing and a 50-sheet ADF. Sadly, this model can’t make duplex scans, faxes or copies, but the range-topping MFC-L3770CDW can.

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Brother DCP-L3550CDW review: Design and setup

You could hardly accuse this MFP of being good looking, but it’s a practical design, with control coming from a 9.3cm colour touchscreen. Brother has clearly invested in usability: the DCP-L3550CDW can multitask, scanning to a PC, for example, while servicing a print job, and even releases the automatic document feeder for use after copying while the printer is still churning out the copied pages.

Buy now from Currys PC World


Brother DCP-L3550CDW review: Print speeds

This MFP isn’t particularly quick for a laser. Rated at a modest 18ppm in black or colour, it delivered black text at 16ppm, and mixed colour graphics at a middling 14.7ppm. Duplexed colour graphics emerged at 5.6ppm. At 14 (mono) and 17 seconds (colour), single-page photocopies were swift, while ten-page ADF copies completed in 47 seconds, black or colour.

Scans were very quick, with previews and low-resolution A4 scans completing in seven seconds or less. Only at 1,200dpi did things slow down appreciably, but even then scanning a 10 x 15cm photo took just 44 seconds. Print quality was generally very good, with sharp text and even, glitch free-graphics, but pages lacked the impact and sheen of the best lasers, looking in some lights more like output from a capable inkjet.

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Brother DCP-L3550CDW review: Performance

Copies were too dark at the default setting, but scans were among the best we’ve seen from a Brother device. The DCP-L3550CDW uses separate toner, drum, belt and waste toner consumables, which can cut running costs, but juggling seven consumables is a lot to manage for home users. Print costs are around 2p per page in black and 8.4p in colour, which isn’t excessive for a printer in this class.

Buy now from Currys PC World


Brother DCP-L3550CDW review: Verdict

Ultimately, this MFP is undone by Brother’s own MFC-L3770CDW, which, in addition to its duplex ADF, offers faster printing, a 30-page multipurpose input and a USB slot for direct prints and scans. Curiously, it cost only £10 more at the time of writing, leaving us wondering why we would choose the DCP-L3550CDW, capable though it is.

Brother DCP-L3550CDW specifications
TechnologyColour laser MFP
Maximum print resolution2,400 x 600dpi
Maximum optical scan resolution (output bit depth)1,200 x 2,400dpi
Dimensions (WDH)410 x 475 x 414mm
Weight23.2kg
Maximum paper sizeA4
Warranty1yr RTB

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