Brother MFC-7840W

The MFC-7840W is a multi-function printer at the higher end of Brother's range, but does it offer enough for a busy workgroup environment?

Brother rates the MFC-7840W at 22ppm and we were impressed to get nearly 14ppm out of it, in normal print mode. While this may not sound anything to get excited about, it's quite usual for printers to give less than half their draft-mode rated speeds under our tests. To get five-page test prints out in 22 seconds is good for this class of machine. Single page copies completed in 11 seconds, with no appreciable scanner warm up. A 15 x 10cm photo print took 15 seconds.

The photo print is surprisingly good for a mono laser, with reasonable detail and smoothly varying tints. There's little sign of banding, though the dot pattern is obvious, a bit surprising given Brother's claim of a '1,200dpi-like', high-res print mode.

Text print quality, the more important attribute for a mono laser, is high-contrast and clean-cut, looking more like dry print than pixel-based output. Business graphics also look sharp and greyscales are well differentiated.

The scanner is a colour device and will cope with scanning of brochures and photos, though there were some moire patterns noticeable in our test scans of greyscale graphics printed on the same machine. Its maximum resolution of 600dpi is more than enough for OCR, using the full copy of Nuance's Paperport supplied by Brother.

The only consumables in this multifunction are the drum and toner cartridges. The drum unit slides into the printer - not particularly smoothly - from the front, with the toner cartridge clipped onto the top of it, in piggy-back fashion. The drum is good for 12,000 ISO pages and toner comes in either 1,500 or 2,600 page capacities.

Taking the higher-capacity, 2,600-page cartridge at discount, internet prices gives a cost per page of 2.8p, which is similar to an equivalent HP machine, but lower than some of its other rivals.

The MFC-7840W would be ideal in a small office, such as an independent estate agent, accountant or solicitor, but might be a bit over-stretched in a busy office, shared by several people. Its duty cycle of 10,000 pages per month is a maximum, not a target.

Verdict

If you don't need colour output from your multifunction printer, but do want fax, you should seriously consider this Brother machine. Print quality is good, it's fast and running costs are reasonable. It's also compact, quick to start and scans in colour.

DPI: 600dpi, 22ppm A4 multifunction printer Paper handling: 250-sheet paper tray plus single sheet multi-purpose ADF: 50-sheet ADF for colour scans and mono copies Duty Cycle: 10,000 page monthly duty cycle Ports USB 2.0, Ethernet and 802.11g WiFi Software: Nuance Paperport 11 plus drivers

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