3 min read

Brother debuts a colourful laser multifunction printer

The MFC-9440CN aims to do four things for the SMB in one device, and does them reasonably well

While it may not be the first name you think of in the printing space, Brother International has built a strong niche in the SMB space, a market it is looking to continue to serve with a new line of colour laser offerings. Its latest multifunction printer (MFP) entry in this space is the MFC-9440CN.

Network-ready with both USB and LAN interfaces, the 9440 combines a faxer, copier and scanner with a colour laser printer in one device weighing-in at a hefty 33 kilos and measuring 43.2cm by 48.7 cm by 48.2 cm. So, it’s not one of the largest devices on the market but it does take up some space.

The panel boasts 16 fax number presets, as well as controls for the copy, fax and print functions. A dialing keypad is included, and one feature I really liked was two start buttons for the copier, one to copy in black and white, the other in colour. This is a useful feature for businesses looking to control their colour printing costs. One downside is the dialog screen on the panel, which is two lines and text only. This hampers some of the walk-up functionality as we’ll see later.

Brother has chosen to go with single-pass laser technology, so for a colour print the paper needs to only pass over the toner drums once. This results in faster printing than traditional laser technologies, with Brother boasting rates of up to 22 pages per minute (ppm) in black and white and 17 ppm in colour. This also means four separate toner drums, one each for black, magenta, cyan and yellow. Replacement cartridges, which I found easy to install and replace, are priced at $74.99 for black and $84.99 for each of the colours. High-yield cartridges are also available at a higher price point, and an ecology mode in the printer menu allows for further toner conservation.

I found the 300 page capacity of the print tray to be on the small side, and for the typical SMB customer purchasing the additional lower tray at $299.99 would be worth considering.

On the printing side I was very impressed with the quality and speed of the output in both black and white and colour. Toggling between the two was simple in the onscreen print dialog box. There are a variety of different quality settings to choose from, and both text and photos printed beautifully.

On the scanning side there are two options: from the machine itself or from the desktop. I did the bulk of my scanning from my desktop with the bundled scanning software. While easy to use, I found the scanning engine somewhat lacking in functionality. It’s also possible to scan directly from the machine, but this just takes a scan of the entire scanner bed and sends it to a file on your PC, leaving some editing to be done. Again, the lack of an LCD interface on the device itself is a drawback here.

During testing, the printer was in a desktop environment using a shared network. Image quality of scanned pictures was excellent. However, I found the results of the optical character recognition engine to be sub par. It recognized all the characters, but they were pretty jumbled.

Copying speed is a little slow compared to a dedicated copier, but well within the range for an MFP. Quality again was excellent.

The front of the printer contains a USB port to plug-in a memory stick or digital camera, allowing the printing of images directly from the memory card. This is a good feature, but again the lack of an LCD display hurts, as you need to know the file name to print it. To get around this, a contact sheet can also be printed with file names and image thumbnails. The USB port also supports the direct printing of PDF files. I did find printing through this port slower than via the PC.

At its price point I feel an LCD interface should have been a given. However, it is a robust and durable machine that delivers quality output at good speeds.

This review is courtesy of PCWorld.ca. For the latest reviews and comparisons on laptops, notebooks, desktops, printers, software, consumer electronics and more, visitPCWorld.ca.