Pros Value, ease of use, features, network setup
Cons minor noise, build quality, etc.
Summary We have several $500-$1500 HP and Canon printers, scanners, and fax machines. The Canon machines are excellent, but the initial cost and supplies are sky high. The HP machines are reasonably priced, however over the last 5 years the quality has gone down and usability is now fair to poor. Out of frustration we bought a 7820N - despite reservations about being mfg by a "sewing machine" company. Frankly, for the $270 we paid after rebates the machine is amazing, one of the best I have used in 20+ years.
The setup was simple, the network installation was the easiest I have ever seen (we set up 5 ethernet workstations in 30 mins). Everything works well, with no frustrating error messages.
Print - works well as a USB 2, parallel, or network printer - includes postscript emulation
Fax - 33.6K bps super G3 fax with up to 600 page memory (32M) and 200 stored numbers.
Copy - Sharp, high quality text - avg. graphics for a business printer, paper curls a bit.
Scan - Other reviews have criticized the scan function - we use PDF files and the included software creates excellent PDF docs - better than our HP 6250c. Color is 24 bit, so this is not a photo scanner.
There are some minor irritations, a hum in the fan, the build quality is lightweight, options are limited, per page costs are avg for lasers - about 3 cents (but way less than inkjets), etc. On the other hand, the MFC 7820 is 50% to 25% the price of the competition, and 100% easier to use. We highly recommend it for home office / small business / even as a departmental backup.
"This baby rocks!"on by atxchillin
Pros Wireless Network Compatible, Speed, Price, Sleek Design, Backlit Screen, I could go on and on...Did I mention it works like a charm on my wireless network?
Cons Haven't found any yet.
Summary This printer is very new. It's only been on the market for about 6 weeks I believe. I first saw it at Office Depot a couple weeks ago and thought it would be a perfect fit for my small office. I especially liked the fact that it's network ready right out of the box with it's own Ethernet connection.
I decided to wait for a few reviews to come in before I took the plunge. After two weeks, no one had left a review so I went ahead and bought it today and figured I'd take it back if it didn't work right.
My only regret is that I waited 2 weeks before buying this baby. This machine is awesome!
It was a breeze to setup. I was printing within 45 minutes of opening the box. It's very fast. Plenty fast for my small office. Print quality is great and so is the copy quality. The self feeder works great as well. It sent a 10 page fax at lightening speed AND continued to print while sending the fax. You don't have to use any software to send a fax.
And the best part is, it found my wireless network with no trouble at all. I'm printing from my wireless laptop in my back office (100 feet away from the printer) without a problem. The only thing I haven't done yet is use the scanner. But I don't scan much anyway.
I paid $349 at Office Depot and got a $50 mail in rebate and a $40 gift card which makes the price $259. You can't find anything remotely close to this machine for that price. I looked for 3 weeks and this is absolutely the best deal on the market right now.
I like it so much, I'm going to buy a second one for my home office.
Pros Fast. Great text and half-tone quality
Cons Can't print envelopes, noisy, horrid MacOS software
Summary Great print engine, poorly implemented. This device has superb output, but the package needs work. The sheet feeder performed well for basic copying and fax needs. The fax function seemed to perform properly. But, I returned the machine before I could determine long-term longevity and reliability. I was disappointed that the scanner offered only basic controls. Serious work should be left to a stand-alone scanner.
But, the deal breaker for me was paper transport for envelopes. I called Brother to ask a pre-sales question about straight thru paper transport and was told the machine could handle heavy stock and envelopes and had a straight thru manual sheet feeder. But when the equipment arrived, no straight through feed. Sheets fed manually exit via the sasme a cross over as the auto feeder. Opening the back prompts an error message on the control panel. Big disappointment as I occasionally print on card stock and use self-adhesive labels that print better with a straight thru path.
I printed envelopes for bills and pay checks, but the MFC-7820n output every one either crocked or crinkled. Come on, Brother, this is a business machine. Offices print envelopes. Hello? Was this tested?
Also, MacOS network setup documentation had conflicting instructions. PC set up better. I was able to completely configure the machine with a web browser rather than with the control panel. Kudos to Brother for this, but does USB connection offer this same convenience?
Brother includes a suite of file management utilities. But, I didn't have the device long enough to see if it has usefulness. I am reluctant to invest time in yet another poorly implimented software scheme that may prove inadequate to help my workflow.
Pros ADF, does everything well, networkable (most functions)
Cons No wireless networking. Cannot receive faxes to network.
Summary This is perfect for home use. But its networking capabilities are still handicapped, making it not yet ready for SOHO use.
Why? It can only connect to a network by cable. It will not connect wirelessly, and the Brother wireless print server is almost as expensive as the printer itself (and even then it is not clear whether it would handle network scanning and faxing).
Also, "PC-FAX receive" only works if directly connected to a computer. It does not work over the network. So, if you are using the machine to receive faxes onto a server, for example, the MFC must be connected directly to that server by a USB or parallel cable, not by Ethernet.
That is inconvenient, to say the least. Most offices don't keep the server next to the fax/copier/scanner/printer.
If you don't get a lot of incoming faxes, or if you are willing to receive paper faxes and then scan them in by hand to your networked computer, though, this MFC would work for you.
It does scan well to networked PCs (and those PCs can be connected to the network wired or wirelessly, of course). You can scan from any network-connected PC from the PC itself, or, alternatively, you can push a button on the MFC itself and select a networked PC to which you want the scan to go. Using TWAIN drivers provided (for most operating systems), or the WIA driver for Windows XP, you can scan directly into your favourite program. If you choose, you can also use the Brother software control center as an intermediary to choose which program you want the scan to be sent. Every method I tried worked great.
In fact, the network scanning functions are superb. You can even select different programs on different PCs to which you want the scans sent (e.g. an imaging program, or an OCR program, or a word processor program). This option is available from the Brother software control center or from a button on the MFC console itself. Brother really paid attention to this capability.
Scanning is in colour, or any level you want. You can scan from the flatbed, or the ADF. The machine recognizes automatically where you have loaded your document. I personally don't notice any quality difference between the 7820N and my Canon dedicated flatbed scanner, but I don't scan photos from the Brother 7820N. For most uses you'll never notice any difference.
Network printing and network PC-Fax sending functions are easily accessed from any PC, but this is technology that has been around for two decades and is built into Windows, for the most part. In fact, if you really wanted to use this MFC wirelessly, you could use a third-party wireless print server (e.g. Linksys) and still access these two functions. Only network scanning and PC-Fax receiving would not be available with an external print server.
The MFC is bundled with ScanSoft PaperPort 9.0 SE, last year's entry level version of this program. It is kind of a hybrid of Windows Explorer and a basic imaging program like IrfanView. You can scan into the program and file the documents into windows folders, or send the scans to other programs, or maybe do an automatic optical character reading en route. (ScanSoft now owns OmniPage). Note: OCR is still only 80% accurate and depends on the quality of the scan. However, built into PaperPort is a straightening tool (for crooked scans) that is about the only reason I use the program.
Otherwise, I still prefer IrfanView for managing my scans, and the default Windows XP system for managing everything else. PaperPort just adds another middleman program with the usual "extras" that just make life harder. Also, IrfanView manages batch scans better than PaperPort (at least in the SE version. I understand the Pro version accomodates batch scanning better).
The ADF (automatic document feeder) works nicely, and no MFC should be without one. However, this means you can't lift the cover off for true flatbed scanning (books, large documents, or other oversized scans). For these tasks, you'll still need a true flatbed scanner with removable cover.
This is a space saving design -- the paper trays have no frills. There is no envelope guide. The individual sheet/envelope feeder is slightly tricky to load and you can't load multiple envelopes.
Others have commented on paper curl -- I have not noticed this. I use a heavier paper stock, though. The Brother has options to select paper grade (thin, thick, thicker). Properly selected, perhaps paper curl may not be an issue.
Obviously, the printing is laser monochrome. In September 2005, refill cartridges at Office Depot were $68 (online $42). This is some of the least expensive cartridge replacements, and certainly less expensive than colour laser cartdiges. That's why you're looking at a monochrome laser system, right?
For my home, this MFC is perfect. For my office, I have to make some accomodations until the next generation model is available.
Pros DOES EVERYTHING AS PROMISED!
Cons The documentation is written by computer geeks.
Summary All you have to do is read the other opinions left to get the idea that people love this machine. If the machine was priced at $1000, it would still be worth it. While I can't tell you I tried all the other stand alone printers, faxes and copiers or for that matter multifunction machines, over the years I've had more than my share of them in running my small business. I've even leased a $45,000 Canon CLC1150-that's the one copy businesses have.
For just over $200, this should take over the market. In my opnion the ONLY reason to consider another product is for high-duty cycle requirements. So if you need 50pages per minute or 50K per month, obviously you're not going to get that with a $250 unit.
What you do get is to clear your office of a fax, bw laser printer and a laser copier. Sorry I can't give an opinion of the scanning capablities-I don't have a need to use it.
With the exception of the color capability, this operates a lot like the $45K Canon I had. Simplly amazing to me.
By the way, in my opnion, color lasers are a different ball game. I wouldn't suggest getting one unless you really look at the cost of ownership and it still makes sense.Updated
I admit my first review was rather glowing. And I agree it does need the correct context.Updated
Well, I admit my review was rather glowing. (and I do qualify my rating in the review) After using this, I still stand by my review. I've also noticed that the price has gone up slightly--it's now $300 I believe. Few jams. Changing the toner is easy. No other maintenance has been needed. I love NEVER having to clean a print head--even when it hasn't been used for two weeks. It just spits out prints quickly. Paper feeder works well and faxes are managed well. It seems to be getting the stated 4000 prints out of the $50 toner --but I haven't tracked it religiously.
Now, I'd agree with others who criticize how it works with Macs. My Windows machines are much quicker with this printer. It does work with Macs--it just takes more time. Plus, again if you have more than one computer, using a NETWORK printer makes life easier. I have five computers all printing to this printer and they all work great.
Bottom line is that I do not regret buying this printer.
P.S. If you are looking to run thick stock--laser printers do poorly-including this one. Try a straight paper-path wax printer--their price has come down. Unfortunately, I don't think they make any all-in-one wax printers, just printers.