Review of the Brother MFC-J6930DW AIO printer at PCMag

  • PROS

    Prints, scans, copies, and faxes tabloid-size pages. Competitively fast. Low running costs. Single-pass auto-duplexing ADF. Three paper input sources. Good print quality overall.

  • CONS

    Subpar graphics.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    This business-centric color inkjet all-in-one printer is relatively fast, with good print quality, competitively low running costs, and flexible paper handling.

Not long ago, A3 (tabloid, or 11-by-17-inch) all-in-one (AIO) printers, such as the Editors’ Choice HP OfficeJet Pro 7740, were somewhat rare, and expensive. But not anymore. One reason is that a few years ago Brother made them a staple in its Business Smart Pro line, which includes the MFC-J6930DW ($299.99) reviewed here. Like the HP model, the MFC-J6930DW comes with two big paper input trays, a single-pass auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF), and a slew of mobile connectivity features. This Brother AIO prints well overall, with competitively low running costs, and it’s relatively fast, but its graphics output could be better. Despite costing a little more upfront, but with lower running costs overall, the MFC-J6930DW is a viable alternative to the OfficeJet 7740 for low-to-moderate volume printing in a small or micro office or workgroup.
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Brother MFC-L8610CDWWhat We Liked…
  • Respectable print speeds
  • Good print quality overall
  • Strong cloud, mobile-device support
  • Sturdy build
  • Competitive cost per page
  • Highly expandable
What We Didn’t…
  • Running costs a bit high versus some competing AIOs, with graphics and photo quality a slight step down
  • ADF cannot auto-duplex
  • Much more robust sibling costs little more

Brother MFC-L8610CDW Review

By William Harrel, reviewed July 11, 2017

Here in 2017, we’ve looked at a healthy bunch of midrange color laser all-in-one (AIO) printers that are quite capable. Here’s another, and we can summarize it in a sentence: It’s a solid effort, but this model’s a questionable step down if you look at its step-up sibling.

Brother’s $529.99-list MFC-L8610CDW is a less-expensive iteration (by about $50) of the MFC-L8900CDW reviewed some time ago at our sister site, PCMag.com. While both machines print reasonably well and at a good clip, with the MFC-L8610CDW you give up a lot for that $50. Depending on what and how you print, that may matter a little, or a whole bunch.

But first, let’s look at what these two Brother AIOs have in common. Both are loaded with features, including identical networking options and several ways to print from and scan to your mobile devices, as well as more than a handful of cloud-service access choices. They both come with state-of-the-art document-management software, and each delivers competitive running costs for its class. Nowadays, though, running costs for entry-level and midrange laser printers are high compared to most other competing product types. That includes higher-end, higher-volume color laser AIOs, such as the Dell Color Smart Multifunction Printer S3845cdn, or business inkjets made to compete with color lasers, such as the HP PageWide Pro 477dw. (We’ll look at how these AIOs’ cost-per-page figures compare to those of today’s Brother model later on.)

Brother MFC-L8610CDW (Front View)

In a lot of ways—print speed, connectivity features, software bundle, and security—the MFC-L8610CDW and the MFC-L8900CDW are alike. The primary difference between them is that the higher-end model’s ADF is larger and it supports auto-duplexing (automatic feeding of two-sided documents for scanning and copying), but the MFC-L8610CDW’s ADF does not. This may not seem like much, but if you copy, scan, or fax stacks of two-sided documents often, the feature is well worth the additional $50. Add to that a higher paper-input capacity, access to larger toner cartridges, and the lower running costs you gain with the MFC-L8900CDW, and it seems to us that spending the additional $50 is a no-brainer.

Normally, we’d add here that if you don’t think you’ll be using the auto-duplexer, then by all means, take the $50 savings. However, given the price and capacity of this AIO, we’re not sure, in this case, that this is good advice. If you’ve ever scanned, copied, or faxed a bunch of two-sided documents, you know how tedious and time-consuming it can be. Hence, while this is a highly capable midrange color laser AIO, we must include the caveat that, unless you’re absolutely sure that you don’t (and won’t) need auto-duplexing, you should be looking at the higher-end model.


 

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Review of the Brother HL-L8360CDW at PCMagThe Brother HL-L8360CDW ($399.99), a color laser printer, is essentially the recent Editors’ Choice Brother HL-L8260CDW on steroids. The HL-L8360CDW gives you greater expandability, twice the memory, a higher duty cycle, access to higher-yield toner cartridges, lower running costs, greater security, and a few additional functions, such as near-field communication (NFC) and a color touch screen. Like the HL-L8260CDW, it prints well and at a fast clip. All of this for just $70 more makes the HL-L8360CDW a better value, and therefore our latest top choice for a moderate-to-heavy volume color laser printer for a micro or small office or workgroup.

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Review of the Brother MFC-L8900CDW at Computer ShopperThe Brother MFC-L8900CDW ($599.99) is a midrange color laser all-in-one printer (AIO) designed for low-to-medium use in a micro or small office or workgroup. Comparable to the Editors’ Choice Samsung Multifunction Printer ProXpress C3060FW, the MFC-L8900CDW is loaded with features, it’s expandable, and its running costs are competitive. It’s relatively fast and prints text very well, but its graphics and photos are not quite up to snuff, compared with some competitors. That’s not to say that its output isn’t good enough for most business applications, though. The MFC-L8900CDW is a decent choice for offices that require light-to-moderate print and copy volume.

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Review of the Brother MFC-J6935DW at Computer ShopperIt wasn’t all that long ago that wide-format inkjet printers (models that handle paper larger than legal-size, or 8.5×14 inches) were not only rare, but also rather expensive. Even today, most of the major printer manufacturers—HP, Epson, Canon—offer only a few wide-format machines. But Brother has changed all that, offering most of its Business Smart and Business Smart Plus all-in-one (print/copy/scan/fax) models as tabloid-size-capable (11×17-inch) machines. Nowadays, you can choose from more than a handful of wide-format inkjet models, among them the Brother MFC-J5930DW we just reviewed, as well as today’s review unit, the $349.99-list Brother MFC-J6935DW.

Direct competitors with the HP Officejet Pro 7740 All-in-One, the difference between these two Brother models is that the MFC-J6935DW (like the Officejet model) not only prints tabloid-size pages, but can also scan, copy, and fax them. The MFC-J5930DW, on the other hand, can only print wide-format documents.

It stands to reason that some small and medium-size offices that need to print tabloid-size documents will need to process them in other ways, too. If your day-to-day work calls for scanning, copying, or faxing wide-format pages, the $50 upgrade from the MFC-J5930DW to the MFC-J6935DW is a bargain.

Brother MFC-J6935DW (Right Angled)

What really makes these Brother Business Smart Plus AIOs attractive is that, compared to their Officejet competitor (as well as Epson’s WorkForce WF-7620 All-in-One, a two-paper-drawer version of the WorkForce WF-7610 we reviewed a while back), the Brother AIOs are part of that company’s INKvestment line. INKvestment printers, similar in broad concept to Epson’s EcoTank and Canon’s MegaTank (in that you pay more up front for cheaper ink later), deliver low-per page costs, although Brother’s approach is somewhat different. Where EcoTank and MegaTank printers are “bulk-ink” models that take their ink from reservoirs you fill from bottles, INKvestment printers deploy ink cartridges with high yields and modest prices (on a per-page basis, that is).

To our knowledge, aside from Brother’s INKvestment products, the only other wide-format printer designed around this pay-more-now-to-pay-less-later concept is Epson’s $999-list WorkForce ET-16500 EcoTank Wide Format All-in-One Supertank. The advantage that the WorkForce ET-16500 holds over the Brother MFC-J6935DW is that the former prints wide-format pages up to 13×19 inches, and it has significantly lower running costs. But it’s also much slower. (We’ll look more closely at the difference in running costs between these two printers in the Cost Per Page section coming up.)

In any case, like the MFC-J5930DW, the MFC-J6935DW is an excellent multifunction business machine. It’s reasonably fast, loaded with features, prints well, and costs much less to use than its most direct competitors. As you read on, assuming you need the big inputs and outputs, you’ll see that there’s just not much to quibble about in this wide-format winner.

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Review of the Brother MFC-J5930DW at Computer ShopperBrother’s inkjet multifunction printers just keep getting better and better, as demonstrated by today’s review unit, the $299.99-list MFC-J5930DW, and the Brother MFC-J6935DW we reviewed alongside it. As one of the company’s INKvestment models, the MFC-J5930DW is one of the least expensive business-oriented all-in-ones (AIOs) on ink costs—especially for the price. It is loaded with features, has a high paper-input capacity from three separate sources, and is capable of printing tabloid-size (11×17-inch) documents, posters, and flyers.

Over the years, a common quibble across our reviews of Brother’s Business Smart and Business Smart Plus series machines has been with their photo quality. While they print great-looking text and graphics, their photo output has typically been, compared to their HP and Epson competitors, just so-so—more than passable, but slightly lesser than the others. For example, the HP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide-Format All-in-One, as well as the wide-format Epson WorkForce WF-7620, cost more to use than Brother’s Business Smart Plus models, but their print quality was somewhat better. We’re pleased to report (as we’ll get into in more detail near the end of this review), that that was not our experience with the MFC-J5930DW.

Brother MFC-J5930DW (Front)

A primary difference between the Officejet model and the MFC-J5930DW is that in addition to printing tabloid-size documents, the HP model can also scan and copy documents of that size. To get those features from a Brother INKvestment model, you’ll have to step up to the $350-list MFC-J6935DW. This is a key distinction. Not all small businesses and home offices need to scan and copy tabloid-size documents, but it is best to know what you are getting (or not) when weighing closely related models like these.

The MFC-J5930DW is an update of the Brother MFC-J5920DW we reviewed a while back. Aside from a new body style and a color change (from black to off-white, to conform with Brother’s latest design motif), and the improved print quality we mentioned earlier, this new model isn’t all that different, feature-wise, from its predecessor. That said, given the MFC-J5930DW’s strong feature set, ink-cost efficiencies, and excellent print quality, it’s our new first choice for tabloid-size multifunction inkjet printers, as its MFC-J5920DW predecessor was.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

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Review of the Brother PDS-6000 High-Speed Color Desktop Scanner at PCMagEssentially a faster version of the Brother PDS-5000 we reviewed recently, the $1,399.99 Brother PDS-6000 High-Speed Color Desktop Scanner is a fast and accurate sheet-feed document scanner for high-volume use in small and medium-size offices and workgroups. Speed-wise, it’s rated slightly higher than its less expensive sibling and that model’s comparably priced competitor, the Editors’ Choice HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow 7000. In testing, it did manage to scan faster and save to image PDF a little quicker than both the PDS-5000 and ScanJet 7000, but not enough to warrant the PDS-6000’s $500 price difference. Besides, when saving to the more useful searchable PDF format, it fell well behind the ScanJet 7000 and other competitors. Even so, if raw imaging speed is what you’re looking for, the PDS-6000 hardware is among the fastest we’ve recently seen in this class.

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Review of theBrother PDS-5000 High-Speed Color Desktop Scanner at PCMagA high-volume sheet-fed document scanner designed for heavy workloads in medium-to-large offices and workgroups, the $899.99 Brother PDS-5000 High-Speed Color Desktop Scanner is fast and accurate. But compared with the similarly priced Editors’ Choice HP ScanJet Enterprise 7000 s3 Sheet-Feed Scanner, it comes up somewhat short in performance and features. In testing, the PDS-5000 wasn’t quite as fast at saving to searchable PDF, nor as accurate, as the ScanJet, and the Brother model’s software bundle isn’t as well-rounded. The PDS-5000 does have a higher capacity automatic document feeder (ADF), though, and it’s more than quick and accurate enough to make it a serious contender for use in medium-to-heavy scanning environments.


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Review of the Brother ImageCenter ADS-3600W at PCMagA sheet-feed, network document scanner, the Brother ImageCenter ADS-3600W ($799.99) offers excellent value, with a solid feature set and strong performance. It’s not as elegant, nor is its software as network-friendly, as the Editors’ Choice Canon imageFormula ScanFront 400. The ScanFront 400, however, sells for more than twice as much and is limited to Ethernet connectivity, while the ADS-3600W connects via USB, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and NFC in addition to Ethernet. It’s an easy pick as Editors’ Choice for midrange to heavy-duty network scanning in small and midsize offices and workgroups.

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Brother MFC-J5830DW Review and Ratings at Computer ShopperWith its Business Smart series of multifunction printers (MFPs), Brother continues its tradition of offering highly useful business machines that are competitive values, as demonstrated with the wide-format-capable Brother MFC-J6535DW we reviewed recently. (We define “wide-format” here as tabloid printing, to 11×17-inch stock.) That Brother is fast, prints well overall, and, as one of the company’s INKvestment machines, delivers reasonable running costs, especially compared to some tabloid-capable competitors, such as the HP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide-Format All-in-One. (INKvestment models feature high-yield, low-cost ink tanks.) In addition, the MFC-J6535DW not only prints tabloid-size pages, but it can also scan and copy them, as can the Officejet Pro 7740.

Today’s review unit, the $249.99-list Brother MFC-J5830DW, though, cannot do that. It prints tabloid-size pages, but it can only scan, copy, and fax pages up to legal-size, or 8.5×14 inches. Also an INKvestment model, it lists for a little less (about $30) than the larger Brother MFC-J6535DW, but a little more (about $50) than the Officejet Pro 7740. INKvestment printers, along the same rough lines as Epson’s EcoTank and Canon’s MegaTank families of printer, sell for more on the front end, when you purchase them, but keeping them fed with ink costs significantly less, both by the cartridge (in Brother’s case, anyway; the others we mentioned use refillable reservoirs) and on a per-page basis. As we’ll discuss later on, both the MFC-J6535DW and the MFC-J5830DW cost significantly less to use than HP’s Officejet Pro 7740.

On the other hand, the HP model prints better overall, which, depending on what you print, may or may not matter much. Also, if you don’t need a printer that can scan and copy wide-format pages, an advantage of the MFC-J5830DW over the MFC-J6535DW (in addition to price) is that the former is smaller and lighter. That can be important in small offices and workgroups short on space.Brother MFC-J5830DW (Front)

A key disadvantage of the MFC-J5830DW, though, is that its automatic document feeder (ADF) can’t scan or copy both sides of two-sided originals without your having to turn them over manually, nor can it print two-sided wide-format documents. The step-up MFC-J6535DW doesn’t have an auto-duplexing scanner, either, but HP’s Officejet Pro 7740 does. We’ll look a little closer at why this feature is important in the section coming up next.

Our bottom line is that the HP Officejet 7740 is more versatile, and it prints graphics and images a little better, but the MFC-J5830DW is much cheaper to use. You should choose the latter (or the MFC-J6535DW, should you need to scan and copy wide-format pages) if you need to print more than a few hundred pages each month, and if you don’t need pristine graphics and images. This is not to say that this Brother model doesn’t print well enough for business applications. It’s really a matter of what features you need and whether running costs outweigh overall print quality. Wherever you land on that spectrum, the Brother MFC-J5830DW is more than adequate for most small-business environments, but we caution you to consider your needs carefully, as the MFC-J6535DW provides better scanning and copying options.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

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