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’s $529.99-list MFC-L8610CDW ($439.00 at Amazon) is a less-expensive iteration (by about $50) of the MFC-L8900CDW ($506.00 at Amazon) 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 ($638.02 at Amazon), or business inkjets made to compete with color lasers, such as the HP PageWide Pro 477dw ($455.95 at Amazon). (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.