No-one can accuse Brother of being slow off the mark. It was only a few months ago that it brought out new ranges of mono laser printers for both corporate and SME markets. Now Brother has added a further six to that collection.

See: more printer reviews.

The Brother MFC-8520DN is the top-of-the-range model for smaller businesses and as with all of this current crop of Brother mono laser printers, it has a solid build (a weighty 16kg out the box) whilst still managing to be relatively compact, at 405 x 415 x 423mm.

It's styled in the familiar matt black fashion, and offers three paper sources - a 250-sheet standard paper tray in the base, a drop-down 50-sheet multi-purpose tray in the front, plus a 35-sheet Auto Document Feed on the top.  

You have the further option to slot a 500-sheet expansion tray underneath for an extra £90 if you feel slightly limited in capacity.

Anyone used to Brother's MFP control panels will immediately recognise the Brother MFC-8520DN's user-friendly lay-out, with One-Touch dial keys for faxing on the left, large fax, scan and copy buttons in the middle and a number pad to the right. 

Alas, there are no touchscreen controls here – instead an increasingly old-fashioned 5-line, 22-character LCD for making print decisions.

Connectivity is also a tad limited as you're reduced to USB and ethernet - no room, it seems, for Wi-Fi. However, loud applause is due for automatic duplex for all four modes (copy, scan, print and fax), which will make mighty savings in the long term.

Brother MFC-8520DN: Performance

Just as we saw with Brother's earlier lightning-fast HL-5450DN, the Brother MFC-8520DN earns its stripes through its good speed performance. Our page-rate figures for standard printing of documents worked out at around 34ppm - only two less than the claimed maximum - with duplex copies managing an admirable 18ppm.

Photos and graphics provide a reasonable degree of detail but as with the HL-5450DN, we did notice a distinctly darker shade than the original. Black quality on text documents, on the other hand, was solid and unbroken and scanned photos are vibrant and authentic.

As for printing costs, if you ignore the derisory 2000 page toner that comes in the box, you'll pay around 2.55p per page for the standard 3000-page toner and 1.52p per page for the larger 8000-page version (which officially retails for £122.39). Definitely worth considering then.

Brother MFC-8520DN: Specs

  • Mono laser printer
  • 128MB standard memory
  • 1200 x 1200 dpi max printing resolution
  • 36ppm specified speed
  • auto duplex printing
  • 250-sheet standard input capacity
  • 330-sheet maximum input capacity
  • 10/100 ethernet, USB 2.0
  • 405 x 415 x 423mm
  • 16kg
  • Mono laser printer
  • 128MB standard memory
  • 1200 x 1200 dpi max printing resolution
  • 36ppm specified speed
  • auto duplex printing
  • 250-sheet standard input capacity
  • 330-sheet maximum input capacity
  • 10/100 ethernet, USB 2.0
  • 405 x 415 x 423mm
  • 16kg

OUR VERDICT

Brother’s MFC-8520DN is fast, prints good quality text documents, is cost efficient and offers auto duplex for all four modes. Only its lack of Wi-Fi and touchscreen control keeps it from the must-have list.

Find the best price