Review Price £353.23
Colour laser printers and multifunctions still have advantages over their inkjet cousins. They are generally quicker and, being a completely dry printing process, have much less trouble with fuzziness due to ink spreading into the paper. Against this, for colour work they still don't have as broad a colour range as inkjets can produce, meaning they're not as good for printing photos.
Brother's MFC-9320CW is a small-office or workgroup multifunction machine, including fax and walk-up printing at a good price and with one key interesting feature; it's an LED printer rather than a true laser.
Until now, the only mainstream printer maker not to use laser technology for its ‘laser' printers and multifunctions has been OKI. This company pioneered the use of strips of high intensity LEDs to illuminate the photoconductor drums in their machines, rather than lasers. The advantage of using LEDs is that the mechanisms necessary to create images on their drums are a lot simple and cheaper, and involve far fewer moving parts.
Now Brother has decided to market LED-based printers, it's possible it will start a trend, if only because of the cost advantages. Well, actually not only the cost advantages, since LED printers can produce very good quality prints.
Although the MFC-9320CW has a generally conventional layout, there is a steep rake to its front, as the print section of the machine is quite a bit deeper than the scanner and control panel, combined. The scanner, which has a 30-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), is well integrated into the top of the multifunction and the control panel, while crowded with buttons and display, is still logically laid out in functional groups.
So there are eight quick-dial buttons at the extreme left and specialist attribute keys for fax, copy and print. A 2-line by 16 character, backlit LCD display in the centre has large, illuminated mode buttons and a four-way square of navigation keys, a number pad for fax dialling and entry of passcodes and buttons to start and stop scan and copy jobs.
Below the control panel is a single USB socket, which unusually supports PictBridge as well as USB drives, and below that is a 250-sheet paper tray with a single-sheet feed directly above. At the back are sockets for USB and Ethernet connections, but the machine is also equipped for a wireless link.
A wireless setup wizard is provided, but is a bit long-winded, as you have to enter the WEP passcode using the machine's number pad. Drivers are supplied for Windows, OS X and Linux, via CUPS. The Windows drivers are host-based, so don't explicitly support PCL or PostScript.
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