Unusually for such devices, the Brother MFC-425CN offers faxing functions alongside colour inkjet printing, copying and scanning. It also has a built-in network card, making it suitable for a small workgroup.
Given that this printer is designed for use in an office, the time taken to print text is important and, sadly, it doesn't really deliver at just 3.7 pages per minute (ppm) in normal mode. Print quality in this mode is reasonable, though certainly not outstanding, particularly considering that this is meant as a business product. Character edges are a bit jagged in places and there is slight evidence of ink running on the page.
We also found the print driver software to be rather flakey. Occasionally, when you click on an option in the print settings dialog box, it appears to fail to deselect the alternative option, leaving you with what looks like multiple quality or colour settings, so you aren't sure which ones you are using.
Like many colour inkjet printers it has card reader slots built in, although this seems rather incongruous on a product like this. We aren't sure how many people will want to use a networked office printer to output their digital images and as it doesn't have a colour LCD screen, printing from a card is awkward. An A4 colour photo took a lengthy 7 minutes 41 seconds and the print quality was average. The ink droplets are much too visible and the output looks dark and underexposed.
Scan quality is good, with impressive colour accuracy and consistent clarity across the whole image. However, the scanning software is clumsy and unintuitive; it's confusing for novices and in no way adequate for more advanced users. Scanning takes 40 seconds for an A4 photo. The advantage of the high-quality scanning is that the device makes a useful photocopier and fax machine, especially thanks to the built-in 10-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF).
The MFC-425CN is a disappointing device with slow print times and unimpressive print quality. The good scanner goes some way to redeem it, but this alone cannot justify the price.