Brother MFC-9970CDW review

Kat Orphanides examines a multifunction printer that does everything but make the tea.

The Brother MFC-9970CDW multifunction printer

Brother's MFC-9970CDW is designed as a flexible and highly functional office workhorse, with integrated duplex printing and scanning, a fax machine, touchscreen and network printing management interface. Measuring a surprisingly compact 530x490x526mm, the MFC-9970CDW has a 250-sheet paper tray, along with a 50-sheet multipurpose tray capable of handling envelope and paper weights of up to 163gsm.

It can connect your network wirelessly or to a single PC via USB, but most offices will be using a standard wired Ethernet connection. The second USB port on the front allows you to quickly scan and print directly to and from a thumb drive. You'll want to position this MFP a fair distance away from anyone's desk, though, because it makes a tremendous racket when printing, loud even against the constant background hum of our testing lab. We were immediately impressed by the touchscreen menu system, which is clearly designed and large enough to use easily without accidentally hitting the wrong icon. Thanks to the touchscreen, you can immediately connect the printer to your wireless network. A WLAN Setup Wizard in its Network menu automatically scans for local network SSIDs and lets you choose from those it finds. The display is a bit narrow for a full on-screen keyboard, so you're instead given a mobile-phone style keypad that lets you cycle through groups of letters.

There's plenty of flexibility when it comes to which features you install on the PCs connected to it, too. The supplied driver CD allows you to install a full driver and utility package, including the PaperPort SE document management suite, all the drivers and software except PaperPort, or just the printer driver - handy if members of your office network don't require any network scanning ability and just want to get printing with a bare minimum of fuss and installation time. You can also use Brother's Network Deployment Wizard to roll out drivers to your entire network, saving the effort of individually setting up each PC.

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