Ok, I’m about to go on and on about how much I love the Brother MFC-9840CDW Color Laser Multifunction Center with Wireless Interface and Duplex, but before this turns into a giant love fest, let’s start with the bad news. Software installation is a bit of a nightmare.
I installed the printer to work on three different Windows machines and one MacBook laptop. The MacBook installation went best, but not without issues. However, the Windows installations were all three a nightmare.
On two laptops the installation completed successfully and during the setup I was able to see the printer and select it. The problem is, even though the software can easily and routinely find the printer… it could never connect to it using the printer name. I had to go in and manually configure the printer port to use the printer’s IP address. This was the case regardless of if I used the wired Ethernet or WiFi to connect the printer to the network.
On the desktop Windows machine, the install failed mid-way through and gave a cryptic error message that was less than helpful. I had to fully uninstall the software, and then I had to use an almost unnoticeable setting in the install CD to “repair” the installation. It at least allowed me to get the software installed, though I still had to make the manual modifications to the settings.
By the time I had wasted about 3 hours on the machine I was able to use all of the printer and scanner functionality except one thing. The machine has a “Scan to…” function which allows you to walk up to it, put in a document, and from the menu on the printer choose to scan the document and send it to one of your configured computers. I was able to get this to work on the Mac with no problem, but could not make it work on any of the Windows machines no matter what I tried.
If I compare this software installation process to the Canon multi-function printer’s software, I’d give this one a “D-“. It works… kind of. And only if you are a power user who is really good at solving networking problems.
Ok. Things start getting better here. With the exception of the fact that this printer is about 80 pounds, physically setting it up is actually pretty easy. You unbox it, put it where you want, and plug it in for power, and optionally ethernet or USB. Personally, I recommend the Ethernet route over the wireless, because wireless configuration can be a tad finicky at times.
Adding the toner cartridges is as simple, or more, than other color lasers. Open the front door, slide the tray out and insert the various color. You’re done! The only bad news is, the cartridges that come with it don’t seem to last very long. Either that, or I was doing a lot more printing than I thought I was doing!
You know, they claim that this printer can do 21ppm in either color or black and white. Guess what. They aren’t lying! I kid you not, this sucker is so fast you can print hundreds of pages in minutes! I LOVE it! Now, if you try and print them two sided, it will really slow things down because of the changing mechanism.
But then again, if you had to print a lot of two sided printouts of the same thing you could always feed the paper through on side one first, then on side two for a second pass.
The black and white text is fantastic. And in general, color printing is quite good. However, this laser doesn’t seem up to the task of printing realistic photo quality prints. I’m not complaining because I’ve never seen a color laser printer print a photo I like. Inkjets are far better at this task, or if you really want to do it right, get a dye sublimation printer like a Xerox Phaser. Solid wax printing is truly amazing!
One thing that I really love about this machine is that it makes a great scanner. Everyone in the household can share it because it works right through the wired or wireless network. It has an auto page feeder, and will scan stacks of documents that are either one sided or two sided. It’s quite fast, and the scan quality is excellent!
Yes. It makes copies. Black and white, color, whatever! It will do them one sided or two. And it will enlarge or reduce things if you want it to as well.
Faxing? Um. This is 2009. I don’t do faxes. But I’m sure it works. You can probably use it for that right after you answer your pager.
Yes, you should buy this machine! If you can in any way afford it, it will spoil you rotten and you won’t want another machine for years! That is all. Buy it. Now.
What are you waiting for?…