Pros Fast, relatively easy to set up, cheap, cheap to run, very good print quality
Cons Printing over the network took a little tinkering, but I succeeded
Summary I fretted over purchasing this printer based on what I read on CNET, but I'm happy to report that this baby rocks. It's fast, cheap, and delivers very good quality. I'm extremely impressed.
A couple of notes: if you plan on using a VOIP line as a dedicated fax line, be sure to enable "Overseas Mode" on this fax machine. Evidentally, it makes faxing easier over a less-than-ideal phone line.
I haven't used it as a standalone scanner, so I can't report on its quality in this regard.
I prefer using it as a networked printer, and standalone fax, and in this regard, it's superb. I also like the remote management and easy firmware upgrade over the web.
Setting this up with Mac OS X 10.3 was a snap, and XP was almost as easy. I did have a headache with my D-Link DI-634M router recognizing it and adding its IP address to the DHCP table, but the problem was solved when I updated its firmware and reconfigured it. I never learned where the problem was.
Overall, this printer is SWEET.
Pros GREAT PRICE, strong document scanning abilities, works with combined Mac/PC home network
Cons So-so print quality, changing print paper size is inconvenient
Summary My wife just got a Macintosh iBook and no amount of tweaking got it to connect successfully to the printers we had previously installed on our home network (an HP inket all-in-one and an HP LaserJet, both shared through a host computer).
So we bought this Brother multifunction to replace our other devices, and ever since downloading the updated Mac drivers from the Brother Web site, it works like a charm.
I use it primarily as a home-office machine to scan documents for archival purposes and to print. Especially when combined with PaperPort document management software (bundled with the printer), it does the scanning beautifully. It's quick, networkable, and even though the scanner itself has no duplex (double-sided) capacity, the bundled PaperPort software has a feature that makes scanning double-sided documents very easy.
The printing is fast and perfectly decent, but it doesn't look as good as the output from the old LaserJet I gave up. Don't get me wrong: The quality is perfectly fine for 95% of my business needs, but for printing grayscale versions of images, which I sometimes need to do, the HPs still do a better job.
Finally, the manual sheet feed for printing only accepts one page at a time. That makes transitioning between letter-size and legal-size paper for any multipage print job inconvenient. To make the switch, you have to open the paper tray, squeeze some levers and pull some slides, and replace the paper. It would be nice if you could simply put several sheets of a new paper size into a manual feed tray and leave the normal paper in place, but no such luck. While a bit annoying, this isn't too big a deal.
All in all, I strongly recommend this printer to any home-office user, particularly those with mixed a Mac-Windows network.
Pros Flawless auto document feeder, easy setup, easy networking, one touch fax,copy, and scan buttons, OCR with ADF allows for converting paper docs to text, quick laser output, responsive customer support
Cons Limited visibility of LCD, loose manual feeder guides occasionally makes crooked envelopes, potentially costly drum/toner unit
Summary This machine does everything. Faxing is easy from the most prevalent fax machine maker. You only need one voice telephone line. For example, when you pick up a phone and hear a fax tone, you hang up and the MFC has already recognized the fax tone and takes over. You may need another phone line if you use your phone company's voicemail, but I use an answering machine and the answering machine hangs up when it hears a fax tone, and the MFC holds on to the line and takes over. Quick output with laser, no more annoying fax rolls, and no overpriced slow ink cartridges. There is PC fax to fax from your computer but I have not used it.
Printing is crisp and quick with the laser. Startup time for the laser is pretty quick. There is a fan noise that some other people have commented as being loud but it does not bother me. We print on card paper, and after testing other units, this prints the best without much toner flaking. I have not been able to find another laser printer which does not have toner flaking on card paper other than the HP LaserJet 2100. Is there anyone out there who knows an MFC or Laser printer that can print on card paper without having toner flaking off the paper? A reader wrote that his envelope prints were crooked. I print envelopes on a daily basis. The reason for this is a loose and short pathway, plastic manual paper guide. I'm not sure if it can be tightened.
One thing I found annoying is that the LCD has limitations in its angle of view. Depending on your height and distance from the machine's LCD screen, you may not see it clearly until you step or crouch towards the LCD screen.
Copying is convenient with flatbed scanner/copier and the automatic document feeder works flawlessly in the 3 months I've used it.
The scanner allows for control of resolution from 8 choices ranging from 100x100 to 1200x1200 also with choices of 24bits, grayscale or B/W via a friendly control panel on your computer that allows you to one click scan to file, scan to OCR, scan to email (automatically opens a compose window with the scanned image already attached). You can push a button on the MFC which automatically scans to a specified folder in your computer. Scanning via a network cable has its limitations because of speed and you may need to hook up a USB cable if you scan a lot. OCR works great with the document feeder. You can scan multiple documents through the ADF to the OCR and convert your paper documents into editable Word (or any other word processor) files or emailable PDF file. One drawback with the OCR, if you have multiple documents scanned, each document outputs as individual files. I haven't figured out how to scan multiple documents into one word processor file. Scanning output is good.
Networking was very easy. Using the installation CD on 2 desktops and one wireless laptop networked on a router/hub, the computers were able to recognize the MFC on the network without any problems.
I have not yet had to change the starter toner which outputs 1500 pages. The retail toner outputs 2500 pages. The toner currently starts at $32. Hopefully the price will drop as this new machine becomes more prevalent. The drum is recommended to be replaced at 10,000 pages. The price is supposed to be similar to the toner price.
I'm very happy with the unit. Actually, my wife is even happier with the MFC-7820n since she runs a publishing business. We will be buying another unit for her office.
Pros Good price, compact, network built-in
Cons manual sheets feed crooked, draws over 400 watts
Summary I bought this multi-function to replace separate HP Laserjet 5P, ScanJet, and HP Fax. The 7820N works well receiving and sending FAXs and is equal in quality to my old 5P for printing. The scanner, however, does not produce sharp, crisp scans, but is adequate for scanning documents. Network set-up was simple. However, if you swap out an old 7820N for a new one you will have to completely repeat the set-up (you can't just unplug from the network and plug in the new printer)
The 7820N is a power hog at start-up (draws more than 400 watts). It kept tripping my computer's battery backup until I plugged it into another circuit.
The most disappointing part of this product is the manual sheet feed. The guides will not feed the paper straight. This makes it impossible to print checks or any other document that requires accurate registration.
Pros Software works better that the older machines for sure and I liked it until a big job came along. Good for small jobs. They almost did it.
Cons Not for large jobs for sure. Paper jams because opening for outlet of paper is too small and not for legal paper and big jobs. Not a good choice for a small office.
Summary This is the 3rd brother I tried in the last few days. Office Depot took it back and I was lucky they did. The legal paper kept falling off the end of the printer and I had to print the job 5 times to get what I wanted. It printed the jobs in out of order format so I wasn't sure everything printed out. Some jobs will not print through the network unless you convert them to a PDF file. PC-Fax receive does not work on the network. If the outlet for the paper was like the MFC 8440 and it printed everthing I wanted it too I would have kept it but I really need a printer I can count on.