A multifunction printer can be all that's needed in a small office to handle the key automation features. Brother's MFC-8880DN offers print, copy, scan, fax and file uploads and downloads from a USB drive. It's also quick and uses both sides of the paper efficiently.
This printer is functional, more than elegant. Coloured in light and dark grey and with a substantial Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), it doesn't look that up-to-the-minute. The scanner, with its full A4 blast flatbed, is a good deal wider than the mono laser printer engine on which it sits.
In front of the scanner is a fairly busy control panel, with a number of ancillary buttons, as well as the three big, illuminated mode buttons for Fax, Scan and Copy. To the left there are 21 buttons, giving an almost excessive 40 fax quick dials, while to the right is a navigation diamond, a numeric pad and job Start and Stop.
In the centre of the control panel is a backlit, bitmapped LCD display, which shows menus and status information in business-like layouts. In front of the buttons and display is a row of extra functions for Print, Fax and Copy, including quick selections for duplex print, number of pages per sheet and a choice of feed tray.
As standard, there's a 250-sheet tray at the bottom of the Brother MFC-8880DN and above this the main front panel folds down to reveal a 50-sheet multi-purpose tray, for special media. Set higher up on the front panel is a USB socket, so you can upload files for printing, or download scans for storage on a USB drive.
At the back are sockets for USB and 10/100 Ethernet connections as well as, unusually, a legacy parallel port. There's no wireless provision as standard on this printer.
The two-piece consumable cartridge comprises a 25,000-sheet drum and toner cartridge, available in two capacities of 3,000 and 8,000 pages. Software includes a copy of Nuance PaperPort, as well as Brother’s own MFL-Pro suite drivers for both PostScript and PCL in emulation. Installation on both PC and Mac is painless.