Brother MFC-7840W review

Brother’s MFC-7840W is a multifunction device with a monochrome laser printer, copier, scanner, fax machine, and wired and wireless networking. Budget-conscious users will especially appreciate the MFC-7840W’s inexpensive cost per print (1.7p per page). Capable of printing very good quality text and graphics at reasonably fast rates, the MFC-7840W is a fine choice for offices that work in a black-and-white world.

There are three connection options: Ethernet, USB 2.0, or 802.11b/g wireless. The USB connection is plug and play, and when we connected the printer via Ethernet, the MFC-7840W automatically appeared on our Mac as a Bonjour printer. The trickiest connection was the wireless, which required setting up IP printing. After some time flipping through the user manual, we figured it out and wireless printing worked smoothly.

The device’s control panel is well designed and clearly labelled. Three large buttons allow you to choose between the fax, scan, and copy functions and a bright, backlit LCD displays the settings you can choose from.

Disappointingly, the included scanner software doesn’t offer flexible scanning options. Though simple to use, the software doesn’t allow you to perform a full preview scan. The scanner performs a preview scan on specific parts of the glass based on the document size you select, requiring you to be very precise about where you place your documents on the glass.

The MFC-7840W output had good results overall. Text quality in a Word document looked clean and professional, as did a document containing mixed elements. The scanner’s output was too heavy on the blues compared to our control image, however. The copier was reasonable, but in a test copy of a Macworld magazine cover some detail was lost.

Print speeds were reasonably fast. It took just under 38 seconds to print a 10-page Word document, and 17 seconds to print a one-page Word document. Colour scanning was a bit on the slower side: it took 1 minute and 57 seconds to scan an 8 x 10in photo at 600dpi.

Since the MFC-7840W is a monochrome multifunction device, you only have to worry about replacing one toner cartridge. For £26, the standard toner cartridge produces an estimated 1,500 pages – that’s about 1.7p per print. Keep in mind that eventually you have to replace the drum unit, which costs £53 and has an estimated yield of 12,000 pages.

OUR VERDICT

At £291, the MFC-7840W is a bargain. If you don’t mind a bare-bones scanner driver and you mostly print text and business charts and graphs, you’ll enjoy this versatile device that won’t bite into your budget.

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