While it may not be the first name you think of for printing, Brother International has built a strong niche in the small business space. Its latest colour laser multifunction printer (MFP) printer is the Brother MFC-9440CN.
Network-ready with both USB and LAN interfaces, the Brother MFC-9440CN combines a faxer, copier and scanner with a colour laser printer in one device weighing-in at a hefty 33kg and measuring 43x49x48mm. So, it's not one of the largest MFPs on the market, but it does take up some space.
The Brother MFC-9440CN's panel boasts 16 fax number presets, as well as controls for copy, fax and print functions. A dialing keypad is included, and one feature we really liked were the 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 down side is the dialog screen on the panel, which is two lines and text only. This hampers some of the Brother MFC-9440CN's 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 pass over the toner drums only once. This results in faster printing than traditional laser technologies, with Brother claiming the Brother MFC-9440CN can achieve rates of up to 22 pages per minute (ppm) in black and white and 17ppm in colour.
This also means four separate toner drums, one each for black, magenta, cyan and yellow. Replacement cartridges for the Brother MFC-9440CN are easy to install and replace. High-yield cartridges are also available at a higher price point, and an ecology mode in the printer menu allows for further toner conservation.
We found the Brother MFC-9440CN's 300-page capacity of the print tray to be on the small side, and for the typical SMB (small to medium business) customer purchasing the additional lower tray would be worth considering.
On the printing side we were very impressed with the quality and speed of the Brother MFC-9440CN's 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 the Brother MFC-9440CN offers two options: from the machine itself or from the desktop. We did the bulk of scanning from the desktop with the bundled scanning software. While easy to use, we found the scanning engine somewhat lacking in functionality.
It's also possible to scan directly from the Brother MFC-9440CN, 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 Brother MFC-9440CN itself is a drawback here.
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