Brother MFC-9970CDW review

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

That looks very reasonable, but it doesn't include the cost of other consumables. The MFC-9970CDW has a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of just its purchase price - 823 - for three years' light use (67 mono and 33 colour pages a month - far below the kind of printing requirements that necessitate devices like this). If you're printing 500 mono and 250 colour pages a month, you'll spend 1,752 over three years. Finally, if you put this printer to the kind of heavy use it was designed for - 2,000 mono and 1,000 colour pages every month for three years - you can expect to spend 2,914, which is fairly average by the standards of high-yield colour laser printers.

So what's our verdict?


We were impressed with both the quality and performance of the MFC-9970CDW. The only qualitative point on which we were less than perfectly happy was a slight red tint on our photo prints. However, photo printing isn’t a priority for most office lasers, and neither is this issue uncommon to other, similarly priced, colour laser printers. When all else is equal, the buying decision always comes down to price, both at the point of purchase and in the long term. It’s here that Brother’s printers can be more complicated that those of rivals such as HP, which often use toner cartridges with integrated drums, reducing the number of consumables that have to be replaced throughout the printer’s life span. Fortunately, this extra level of complication doesn’t mean that you’ll be paying over the odds for consumables. It could be a little faster, but if you need one - surprisingly compact - machine to do everything from sending faxes to scanning that important document on to a thumb drive as you leave the office, the MFC-9970CDW is definitely a worthwhile choice.

Maximum print resolution 600x600dpi Maximum optical scan resolution (output bit depth) 1,200x2,400dpi (48-bit) QUOTED SPEEDS Quoted speed, mono A4 28ppm Quoted speed, colour A4 28ppm TESTED PRINT SPEEDS First mono page from sleep 38s First colour page from sleep 38s Letter - time to first page 14s 25-page mono document - total time 1m 5s (23.1ppm) 24-page mixed colour document - total time 2m 21s (10.2ppm) Two 10x8" photos - total time 1m 10s Six 6x4" photos - total time 1m 26s TESTED SCAN SPEEDS Full scan area preview 10s A4 document at 150dpi/300dpi 13s/19s 6x4" print at 600dpi/1,200dpi 22s/1m 6s Single 35mm negative at 2,400dpi N/A TESTED COPY SPEEDS Single A4 page, mono, default quality 12s Single A4 page, colour, default quality 13s 10 A4 pages (many to many), mono, default quality 34s PHYSICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL Standard interfaces USB, 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet, 802.11b/g wireless, USB Host Optional interfaces None Dimensions (HxWxD) 530x490x526mm Weight 29.0kg Noise 69dB(A) Maximum duty cycle (pages per month) 60,000 pages Power consumption standby 2W Power consumption idle 8W Power consumption active 900W PAPER HANDLING Maximum paper size Up to A4+ Maximum paper weight 163gsm Standard paper inputs (capacity) 1 (250) Output tray capacity 150 sheets Duplex Yes Automatic Document Feeder capacity 50 COPY FEATURES Maximum number of copies 99 Copier zoom range 25-400% FAX FEATURES Fax modem 33.6Kbit/s Maximum mono fax resolution Not disclosed Maximum memory capacity (mono pages) 500 GENERAL Technology Single-pass colour laser Language(s) PCL6, BR-Script3 Supported operating systems Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4.11+ Memory 256MB Upgrades: 500-sheet paper tray, memory BUYING INFORMATION Price inc VAT £823 Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page (black part) 0.9p Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page (colour part) 5.7p Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page 6.6p Capacity of supplied black toner (pages) 2,500 pages Capacity of supplied colour toners (pages) 1,500 pages Capacity of supplied drum/s (pages) 25,000 colour or mono pages Estimated total ownership cost - three years' light use (2,400 mono & 1,200 colour pages) £823 Estimated total ownership cost - three years' medium use (18,000 mono & 9,000 colour pages) £1752 Estimated total ownership cost - three years' heavy use (72,000 mono & 36,000 colour pages) £2914 Warranty duration and terms One year onsite

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