Brother DCP-8085DN review: multi-function laser printer

Brother reaches a consistently high standard for its office printers. Can it keep it up with this new multi-function, duplex capable laser?

IT Pro Verdict

The DCP-8085DN is easy to use and produced high quality results in all our tests. It did well in our graphical print tests and produced stunning looking business documents, although font sizes under 8pt looked a little spidery. This MFP is fast, easy to use and produces high quality prints. Its costs aren't the lowest around, but they're typical for printers of this price range. If you're looking for a multi-functional device without fax capabilities, this MFP is a solid addition to any small office.

Brother's surprisingly compact DCP-8085DN is designed for a small office or workgroup. Its price and its 1,200dpi maximum native resolution puts it in a similar category to HP's popular LaserJet M2727 MFP series, and although it lacks the HP's fax capabilities its quoted speed of 30ppm at a recommended maximum monthly duty cycle of up to 3,500 pages are superior to the HP. It's also faster than Brother's own HL-6050D, which we reviewed last year.

The DCP-8085DN has a 250 page paper tray and a specialist media tray that can handle stock of up to 163gsm, although it put a slight crease in some of our envelopes. Its paper capacity can be supplemented by the optional 500-sheet LT5300 tray, which is available for around 70. It comes with 64MB of RAM, which can be upgraded to a maximum of 576MB. Branded Brother 512MB SO DIMMs are hard to come by, although we've seen compatible modules on sale for a reasonable 55 inc VAT.

In the box, you'll find Mac OS X and Windows XP/Vista driver discs, which include Nuance's PaperPort 11 SE document management software and Brother's MFL-Pro Suite. Custom installation options enable you to specify your installation directory and add an optional BRScript PostScript 3 emulation driver, in addition to the default PCL3 driver. The installer searched our network and successfully located the MFP on our network and helpfully set our PC as one of the printer's default "scan to" locations for scanning. You can also set a security pin code to prevent unauthorised users from scanning content on to the target PC.

The MFP's simple built-in menus are displayed on a five-line mono LCD screen. Common options like duplexing, quality, and N-up printing are bound to dedicated buttons. The DCP-8085DN also supports PIN-code secured printing. This means that your document won't be printed until you use the printer's numeric keypad to enter the PIN code you specified in your print properties. This is an excellent feature if your office handles sensitive information.

Brother's web administration interface is far from pretty but it does the job. It replicates all the options available via the printer's menus. Its front page displays the same content as the LCD panel on the device, which is handy for remote troubleshooting. The default user name, "admin", and password, "access", can be easily found both on Brother's website and in the MFP's documentation. The interface was a slightly slow to respond at times and would benefit from a few annotations, particularly for slightly more complex tasks like setting up scan profiles, but there's little to really fault about it.

K.G. Orphanides

K.G. is a journalist, technical writer, developer and software preservationist. Alongside the accumulated experience of over 20 years spent working with Linux and other free/libre/open source software, their areas of special interest include IT security, anti-malware and antivirus, VPNs, identity and password management, SaaS infrastructure and its alternatives.

You can get in touch with K.G. via email at