This is the smallest of Brother’s larger scale, inkjet all-in-ones. It has the same basic design as machines going all the way up to the company’s twin-tray, A3-capable devices and looks surprisingly squat, given its single tray. It's aimed at the SOHO market, so we'd expect a reasonable turn of speed for home or small office duties.
The MFC-5490CN is a chunky printer, though it has a low profile when not in use. This is slightly increased when you flip open the 30-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF). Printing paper feeds from a 150-sheet cassette, which slots in at the front, though there's no separate photo feed and you'll need to remove the plain paper to load photo blanks.
The full-width control panel includes a backlit, 2-line by 16-character LCD display, with four illuminated mode buttons in front, selecting fax, scan, copy and photo capture. To the right of these buttons is a cross of navigation controls and four other subsidiary buttons, while to the left is a number pad for fax dialling.
There are six, single-click dials to the left of the number pad and other buttons to set fax and copy parameters. At the extreme right end are mono and colour start buttons, and one to stop a current job.
This all-in-one has USB and Ethernet connections as standard, with both set inconveniently inside the machine so you have to feed cables through from the rear. Fax line and phone sockets are positioned next to the mains connection on the left side.
Brother provides drivers for Windows and OS X on the accompanying CD and a Linux driver is available for download. As usual with its all-in-ones, the company provides OCR software, and as well as its own scanning support application.