Once we got it running, all was sweetness and light and the good level of support software, particular the full copy of Nuance's PaperPort (even if it is version 11), handles the machine's functions well.
Brother's spec sheet says 22ppm for print speed, so we were expecting around 10ppm, allowing for normal, rather than draft print modes and taking into account rasterising and warm-up times. Imagine our surprise, then, when our five-page text document printed in 22 seconds. That's 13.6ppm.
There was more surprise, when the text and graphics document took exactly the same time and a 15 by 10cm photo print took just 15 seconds, so 4ppm. These are all impressive speeds for an MFP in this price range. Copying is equally speedy, with single-page copies from both the ADF and the scanner glass taking just 11 seconds.
Copy quality isn't quite so good, with some odd moiré patterns appearing on tinted areas of the copies. Text and solid colours at the device's default 600dpi are fine, exceeded only by original prints, which are crisp with almost-die-cut detail. Even photo reproduction, normally not a mono laser engine's forte, is cleaner than most. The enhanced, pseudo-1200dpi high resolution print mode still looks a bit dotty, though, compared with some others.
Even though the printer is mono-only, scanning is in full colour and is detailed. It's a bit restricted with a top optical resolution of 600dpi especially if you need high-res scans of photos, but for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that's plenty.
The MFC-7840W uses a single, slide-in cartridge, but this is made up of two separate components. There's a photoconductor drum, good for 12,000 ISO pages and a clip-in toner cartridge, available in capacities of 1,500 and 2,600 pages. Using the high-capacity toner cartridge, which is more economic, gives a cost per page of 2.84p. This is nearly the same as HP's LaserJet M1120 MFP and matches Samsung's SCX-4500.
Brother's MFC-7840W is a compact, quick and inexpensive to run multifunction mono laser printer, with full wireless compatibility and fax functionality. The price quoted is from Brother itself, as at the point of review this machine has only just launched. Once it's been around for a month or so, you can expect to see it available at £50 to £100 less than this, judging by previous printer launches (and looking at its sub-$300 US price). Our recommendation is based on a lower price of this order.