Independent research confirms that Brother's latest colour all-in-one machines produce more natural-looking images than specialist photographic printers - and are significantly cheaper to run.
Almost 50% of consumers questioned for the research said Brother's DCP-330C machine (combining a colour inkjet printer, copier and scanner) printed the most natural-looking image when compared to prints from specialist, six-colour photographic printers.
And 42% said the Brother prints were the 'most pleasing' in the tests.
Because the Brother machine uses a four-ink system, the cost savings for consumers are significant - with the potential to save between 30 and 60 per cent on home photo printing.
The research was conducted by leading IT industry analysts IDC in conjunction with CharisCo Printer Labs.
Peter Maude, Director of CharisCo Printer Labs, said: "Thanks to the small droplet size (1.5pl) and accurate colour handling, users consider that the DCP-330C is capable of producing more accurate colour images that the 6-ink models, with the most life-like look and feel."
"The 4-ink system proved to be better at printing subtle colour gradations more smoothly than any of the 6-ink models. Of course, with only four inks to replace, contained in individual ink tanks, photographs also cost up to 60% less to print."
Brother's latest all-in-one inkjet range features significantly improved photo printing technology, including a new print head that can deliver one of the smallest ink droplet sizes on the market - 1.5 picalitres.
A smaller droplet size produces finer detail and sharper print quality - as well as using less ink.
Other new developments include the introduction of PictBridge on all models - enabling users to print directly from their camera without a PC - and a dedicated photo paper tray and colour LCD screen on selected machines.
Lesley Howe, Customer Marcoms Manager at Brother, said: "This research confirms the success of our significant investment in improved photo printing technology.
"It challenges the conventional wisdom that the best results are gained from more expensive, specialist six-ink machines and demonstrates the excellent value offered by our four-colour, single ink cartridge system.
"We are now well positioned to build the credibility of the Brother brand as an affordable, high quality home printing solution."
The IDC report also confirmed that consumers plan to stay loyal to home photo printing - despite the increasing number of printing options available (for example, retail and internet services). Around 24% of people who owned a home photo printer in 2006 strongly disagreed with the proposition that they were going to print more photos outside the home in two years' time - up from 4% in 2004.
All research conclusions are taken from the IDC White Paper, 'Photo Printing in the Home'. The paper was commissioned by Brother to provide an overview of the home photo printing market and to compare Brother's new, 4-colour inkjet printing technology (Brother DCP-330C) with three competitor models - all offering six-ink systems.
Independent testing of the four printers was undertaken by CharisCo Printer Labs for IDC. CharisCo demonstrated that the 4-ink Brother DCP-330C was 31% cheaper than the nearest 6-ink model at printing a typical 10cm x 15 cm (4in x 6in) photo - and 59% cheaper than the most expensive 6-ink machine. This is due to the fact that the Brother machine uses only four inks and that less ink is used because of the machine's ability to print at a tiny 1.5 picalitre droplet size.
CharisCo also conducted psychometric tests asking a panel of 33 respondents to judge the quality of the prints produced by the four machines.
48.5% of respondents said the Brother DCP-330C produced the most natural-looking image. Comments included: "Very natural colours. Feel you can 'step into' the photos."; "Sharp edges. Better detail."; "Woodland scene sparkles."
42.4% of respondents said the Brother machine produced the 'most pleasing' set of images.
Brother's latest range of inkjet all-in-ones was specially designed for home use. Prices for the range start at 79.99 (suggested street price including VAT) for the base model, the DCP-130C.