Review: Brother MFC-7860DW

Our score: 2/5
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April 25, 2012 9:00 AM
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Published: April 25, 2012 8:00 AM
By Marine Goy
Translated by: Hugh Ehreth
The MFC-7860DW is an all-in-one monochrome laser printer for businesses that produce volumes of 250 to 2,000 pages per month and are looking for a product with additional features (copier, scanner, fax). With Ethernet, Wi-Fi and double-sided printing, Brother is promising compactness, speed and high printing quality. But does it live up to the company's promises?

Hardware

The dimensions and weight (40.5 x 39.8 x 31.6 cm, 11.6 kg) effectively put this printer in the category of compact all-in-ones. That makes it convenient for companies trying to save on space. It can easily fit on a small office desk. The 32 MB of RAM and Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections allow for easy sharing within a group of 20 employees. Particularly appreciated are the double-sided printing feature, compatibility with all systems (Mac, Windows, Linux) and clearly organised buttons. Located on the front of the machine, the toner is as accessible as they come.

MFC 7860DW cartouche
Front panel & toner slot


We prefer a touchscreen, however, because it can make a device less cluttered and just as intuitive, if not more so. As a comparison, take a look at the Lexmark X464DE (keeping in mind that it's twice the price). The screen on the MFC-7860DW is awfully small and the plastic finishing isn't particularly reassuring. It gives the machine a bit of a "cheap" feel.

Speeds


Brother is advertising speeds of 26 pages per minute (ppm). We measured 27 ppm. That’s faster than the Lexmark X464DE and the HP LaserJet Pro M1212nf, which spit out a paltry 16 ppm. However, with double-sided printing the speed on the MFC-7860DW drops to 10 ppm.

PPM
Pages per minute

Quality

This printer clearly does not live up to its creator's promises when it comes to printing quality. It will do for simple text, but with graphs and illustrations it lacks detail, clarity and sharpness. The images it prints barely make the grade for a laser printer.

4%2823%29
The blacks and greys are, frankly, not very accurate. Blacks lack depth and the nuances of grey simply aren't worthy of a quality printer.
 

Average delta E 94 (colour difference): 11.2.
The higher the delta E 94, the less accurate.
For reference, quality screens are less than 3.

Laser printers aren't made for photos. But by scanning photos printed on one we can get an idea of the machine's rendering capabilities and give further evidence of the MFC-7860DW's poor printing quality.
 

Theocoul


 

Scanner & Copier

The scanner function gives you the ability to use Wi-Fi or Ethernet to send your scans to an e-mail address or FTP server.

The copier function includes settings for quality, brightness, contrast, layout and double-sided copying. But the image quality still isn't convincing, whether using the default settings or your own. The images below will give you an idea of the level of precision we're talking about.

Scancopy MFC 7860DW
Sample copies scanned in 300 dpi
 

It takes only 13 seconds to produce a B&W copy. (That's fast.)



Average delta E 94 (colour difference): 11.2


As is often the case with copiers, the quality isn't all that. It works better with text.


Energy Consumption & Noise Levels


The MFC-7860DW consumes 1 watt in sleep mode. That's one of the lowest you'll find, especially for a laser printer. On the other hand, laser printers consume more when they're on and running than inkjet printers, which average around 20 W. The MFC-7860DW consumes 600 W during use, which is actually low for a laser printer. It produces 55 dB(A) of noise, which is rather loud. Also annoying, the machine emits a sustained droning sound that's impossible to ignore when you're sitting next to it. Once it goes into sleep mode the noise goes away. The good news is you can change the settings for how long the printer waits before slipping into sleep mode.
 

Cost Per Page: 1.4 pence

The toner that comes with the printer is standard size and will last for the first 1,200 pages. When it's time to replace it we recommend opting for a high-capacity cartridge, which will have a bigger price tag but save you more than a penny per page on printing. The cost per page with the standard toner is 2.6 pence, whereas the cost per page with an XL cartridge is 1.4 pence. That's just about average for the laser printers we've reviewed. The best CPPs on the market are under 2.5 pence.


ISO Lifespan: Standard
Cartridge Price (starting at) ISO Lifespan Cost per page
TN-2210 (black) £32 1200 2.6 pence

ISO Lifespan: High Capacity
Cartridge Price (starting at) ISO Lifespan Cost per page
TN-2220 (black) £36 2600 1.4 pence

2/5 Brother MFC-7860DW DigitalVersus 2012-04-25 09:00:00

Pros

  • Cost per page
  • Wi-Fi
  • Double-sided printing
  • Responsive
  • Fast
  • Low energy consumption (1 W in sleep mode)
  • Compatible with Mac, Windows & Linux

Cons

  • Noisy
  • Low image quality for printing and copying

Conclusion

This multifunction printer keeps its promises when it comes to speed and size. It will do for anyone looking for an affordable all-in-one device with low printing costs, but the poor printing quality doesn't make it useful for much more than basic text.

OUR SCORE 2/5
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