Brother DCP-L3550CDW review: Robust but redundant
Decent printing and some strong features – but Brother has shot its DCP-L3550CDW in the foot
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, while the range-topping MFC-L3770CDW can.
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.
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. 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.
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.
This A4 colour laser offers decent printing and even better scans, with a range of helpful features, but it’s undermined by the fact that Brother’s far superior top-of-the-line MFP is only fractionally more expensive - making this model somewhat redundant.
Colour laser MFP
Maximum print resolution
2,400 x 600dpi
Maximum optical scan resolution (output bit depth)
1,200 x 2,400dpi
410 x 475 x 414mm
Maximum paper size
Navigating the new normal: A fast guide to remote working
A smooth transition will support operations for years to comeDownload now
Leading the data race
The trends driving the future of data scienceDownload now
How to create 1:1 customer experiences at scale
Meet the technology capable of delivering the personalisation your customers craveDownload now
How to achieve daily SAP releases
Accelerate the pace of SAP change to support your digital strategyDownload now