There's nothing exceptional or excessive about the Brother DCP-7045N. It's simply a very down to earth but effective multifunction device.

Once upon a time almost every computer peripheral seemed to consciously eschew any aspiration towards style or flair. With their bulbous casing and mishmash of light greys and dark greys, the printers of old made a point of not blending in with their far more attractive surroundings. And judging from the somewhat industrial look of the Brother DCP-7045N, Brother appears not to have moved on from these times.

In many respects though, this determined attempt not to look stylish externally is very much in keeping with the internal workings of the Brother DCP-7045N. For there's nothing exceptional or excessive about the Brother DCP-7045N. It's simply a very down to earth but effective multifunction device. Indeed, it doesn't even offer colour printing.

The latter fact isn't particularly surprising in light of the Brother DCP-7045N's office angle. The inclusion of an ethernet network connection is a useful clue here, and the relatively modest price tag doesn't prevent Brother from providing some very decent management software so that network administrators can keep an eye on what the printer's up to.

The Brother DCP-7045N supports PCL6, and its memory complement is a solid 32MB. The Brother supports a paper input of up to 250 sheets, but we're not too impressed with the skimpy output tray – tucked away in the middle of the printer, it's hard to keep an eye on print jobs without actually taking the finished prints out of the machine, and the paper guard seems a little flimsy.

The Brother DCP-7045N is a solid printer, if far from the fastest performer we've seen. Its realworld speed (17.1ppm) isn't on a par with the 22ppm of the Epson AcuLaser M2000D (admittedly a dedicated laser rather than an MFD), let alone the far more expensive Canon LBP3370. But the text quality is actually cleaner and sharper then that of the Epson.