capsule review

Brother MFC-665CW

At a Glance
  • Brother MFC-665CW

    PCWorld Rating

Carrying a price tag of $200 (as of 10/25/2006), the Brother MFC-665CW is packed full of features for a small or home office. It offers a color fax, an answering machine, media slots, and wireless networking. The fax sends and receives at only 14.4 kilobits per second (compared to most rivals' 33.6 kbps), but the Brother can store up to 480 pages of received faxes. A telephone handset attaches to the left side of the unit, and also operates as a speakerphone. You get 80 speed-dial locations for storing fax and phone numbers. The integrated answering machine can store up to 29 minutes of messages in the 32MB of memory it shares with the fax.

The integrated 802.11b/g networking should be popular with road warriors who move about with their notebook PCs. You can also connect through the wired ethernet and USB ports, but you're better off transferring images from the two media slots on the front of the unit to your PC because the USB port runs at only USB 1.1 speed. You can print proof sheets of the images, though the sheets lack the scanner markings that rival MFPs use to let you select which images to print. The front-mounted direct-print port lets you print directly from your PictBridge-compatible digital camera; it doesn't accept USB flash drives or a Bluetooth adapter as some of its rivals do, however.

The control panel sports a 2.5-inch color LCD surrounded by sensibly arranged buttons that have a pleasant rubberized feel. The on-screen menus are easy to operate, and you get a few functions for adjusting images printed from the media slots. You can scan documents as big as letter-size from the glass platen, and up to ten sheets of legal paper through the automatic document feeder. An OCR program comes in the box. Brother supplies very little other software, though you can pick up free image management and printing packages online.

The tray in the base of the printer holds up to 100 sheets of plain paper. You can also feed 20 sheets of 4-by-6-inch photo paper from a slot in the top of the output tray, though pushing this feeder into place can be fiddly. A fold-down door on the front of the MFC-665CW makes it easy to replace the four individual ink cartridges.

Our judges were impressed with the results of our challenging line-art test, which approached laser printer standards. The Brother laid down sharp, straight lines, which remained distinct even when tightly packed. Unfortunately, text came out looking less appealing. Though solid areas were nice and dark, many characters had jagged edges, italics printed too lightly, and we noticed some banding. Photos on plain paper appeared speckled, with dull, unnatural colors. On photo paper colors seemed paler and less vibrant than with the other MFPs we were judging, but we did see some natural-looking skin tones, smooth gradations, good contrast, and sharp details. In our set of scan-quality tests, the unit mustered a score of Good. The quality of the photocopies was no better than its text-print quality.

In our speed tests, the MFC-665CW was the slowest inkjet MFP we tested. Its speed of 3.8 pages per minute for text pales in comparison to the Canon Pixma MP600's 11.9 ppm. Plain-paper graphics printed well below average at 2 ppm. Our 5-by-7-inch glossy photo printed in 2 minutes, 14 seconds, compared to the 45-second average of the eight MFPs we tested this month. The MFC-665CW was also the slowest scanner of the bunch. For example, it scanned our 4-by-5-inch test image at 100 dots per inch in a lingering 14 seconds, compared to the average of 8.9 seconds. Copies emerged at 2.1 ppm, versus the average of 2.8 ppm.

If you're hunting for a space-saving unit that can serve multiple purposes in your home office or small business, the Brother MFC-665CW is worth a closer look. Despite its slow performance, it offers many functions at an affordable price.

Paul Jasper

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The MFC-665cw includes Wi-Fi, fax, and an answering machine at a price that should appeal to small offices.

    Pros

    • Built-in Wi-Fi; ADF
    • Fax and answering machine

    Cons

    • Very slow printing
    • Slow fax speed of 14.4 kbps
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