The MFC-9840CDW is rated at up to 20ppm for both mono and colour print. Our five-page text print took 25 seconds, which is the same as 12ppm, so not too good, but when we printed our 20-page document, the speed went up to 17.14ppm, which is a lot closer to the claim. The five-page colour document only returned 8.82ppm, though, so overall, the claims are a little optimistic.
When it comes to duplex printing, there are fast printers, slow printers and printers where it's safe to go shopping, have lunch out and take in a film before the job finishes. The MFC-9840CDW is closest to the last. A 20-side test document took 2mins 54secs to complete, which is equivalent to 6.90ppm. There are plenty of faster colour printers and all-in-ones, including Xerox's Phaser 6180V/DN, which completed the same document in 1min 18secs - over twice as fast.
Printing our 15 x 10cm photo from a PC took 29 seconds, which, coincidentally, was the time it took to copy an A4 colour page from the flatbed and to copy a five-page text document from the ADF. Printing from the USB socket on the front panel of the printer took 1min 26secs, but there's no control over the size of the image, so this turned out to be a full A4 print.
The scanner has a resolution of 2,400 x 1,200ppi - surprisingly high for a business machine like this, but a welcome feature. Scans came through with good colour rendition and this was reflected in the quality of colour copies, too.
Print quality generally is good, with crisp, black text and smooth block colours in business graphics. Colours are a little pale and don't leap out at you like some of the machine's rivals but this is a bonus when reproducing photos, as they look a lot more natural than some of the garish images we've seen from some other colour laser machines.
There are four separate consumables on the MFC-9840CDW, which is never ideal from a maintenance point of view. As well as the toner cartridges, which are available in two capacities, there's a drum, belt and toner box to replace periodically, all with different periods. Using the high-capacity toner cartridges and including a 0.7p plain paper cost gives a total page cost of 2.81p for black print and 9.83p for colour. These are very much in line with other machines aimed at the same market.
The MFC-9840CDW is a multifunction printer intended for the office, which fulfils most of its claims. We don't see it saving much in the way of paper costs, though, as the slow duplex print speed could leave you waiting regularly by the water cooler for your print jobs to finish.