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Brother DCP-9020CDW review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £237
inc VAT

A low price and decent print quality are let down by some of the highest print costs we’ve seen from a laser-class MFP

Many MFPs are studded with physical buttons, but the blocky Brother DCP-9020CDW LED printer has just a single power button, a 9.3cm colour touchscreen and a grid of touch-sensitive number keys. The touchscreen makes it easy to configure features such as the MFP’s wireless network connection and the on-screen keyboard is large enough to make it easy to tap in your network’s password. All the main controls, such as icons to take you to the copy, scan or settings screens and even the colour and mono copy buttons within the scan screen, appear on the responsive touchscreen rather than having dedicated buttons.

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The DCP-9020CDW has plenty of features which allow you to use the MFP without a PC. Brother’s iPrint&Scan mobile app makes it simple to send the printer documents or photos from an Android or iOS phone or tablet on the same wireless network. You can also download and install apps to the MFP that let you browse and print documents you have stored on cloud services such as Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive.

The Windows printing and scanning interfaces both work well, neither providing you with an overcomplicated range of options nor depriving you of useful features. The MFP also comes with a copy of PaperPort 12 SE, which gives you a range of document management and OCR tools to help manage your scans. Brother’s own scanner interface is a no-frills affair with a good range of fixed-resolution scan options but few advanced settings.

Brother DCP-9020CDW


Unfortunately, scanning is not the DCP-9020CDW’s strong point. The 1,200×2,400dpi CIS scanner is particularly bad at capturing shadowy images. In our test scans, dark low-contrast areas blended into each other. High-contrast reproduction is also a bit off: we noticed smudged edges where light and dark areas meet. On the plus side, primary colours are bright and the natural tones of our test photographs were accurately reproduced. However, the greatest problem with the DCP-9020CDW as a business scanner is that scanned 8pt text had noticeably fuzzy edges even at 300dpi. Scan speeds were at least fairly quick, with a 1,200dpi photo scan taking under a minute and a 300dpi A4 document scan taking 18s.

Copy quality also leaves something to be desired, with colour copies that looked oddly light and grainy, with fuzzy, speckled text. The text on mono copies is a bit sharper, but contrast on mono reproductions of colour images was poor, giving them a murky appearance even when we used the adjustment settings available via the MFP’s touchscreen interface. Single-sheet colour and mono copies both took 17s, while 10 pages fed through the ADF copied in 48s.


If the copies weren’t all we’d have hoped for, we’ve few complaints about the MFP’s overall print quality. Colour prints aren’t quite as glossy as those from some laser devices, such as Xerox’s WorkCentre 6605DN, but we couldn’t fault the DCP-9020CDW’s reproduction of our colour business documents. Illustrations looked fantastic, with accurate colour and excellent shading. Text was fairly sharp and clear, but we noticed some jagged edges on our challenging 8pt serif lettering. Photo prints, meanwhile, looked surprisingly natural and had excellent contrast.

We particularly liked the professional appearance of our colour duplex prints, but these emerge painfully slowly. Ten pages across five sheets took 3m 30s, which is just under 3ppm. Opt for single-sided printing and speeds become a bit more reasonable, with a mono print speed of 15.2ppm and colour print speed of 7.9ppm. That’s still very slow by laser or LED printer standards, though. Most of the delay was caused by a long processing period before the MFP started printing.

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Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution2,400x600dpi
Max optical resolution1,200×2,400dpi
Output bit depth24-bit

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A418ppm
Quoted speed, colour A418ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.01m 1s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.01m 8s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB Hi-Speed, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11n wireless
Optional printer interfacesnone
Noise (in normal use)53dB(A)
Duty cycle30,000 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4
Maximum paper weight163gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity250
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity250
Duplex (code, cost if option)Yes


Printer technologysingle-pass colour LED
Language(s)PCL6, BR-Script 3
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7/8, Mac OS X 10.6.8+, Linux
Maximum printer memory192MB
Other laser features and options£15

Buying Information

Price per colour A4 page11.1p
Price of 2nd paper cassetteN/A
Warrantyone year RTB

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview13s
A4 document at 150dpi14s
A4 document at 300dpi18s
6x4in photo at 600dpi19s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi57s
Single 35mm negative at 2400dpiN/A

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.017s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.017s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.048s

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99
Copier zoom range25-400%
Max mono copy resolution600x600dpi
Max colour copy resolution600x600dpi

Fax Features

Fax modem speedN/A
Max mono fax resolutionN/A
Fax memory (maximum mono pages)N/A