Most helpful positive review
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Great scans, great convenience, good printing, OK color
on February 10, 2012
I've had this unit for about a month, and except for the low intensity of its printed colors, I REALLY like it. I'm getting used to the low intensity color, too.
I've owned at least three low-cost scanners with 11x17 capability, and I've returned them all because their 11x17 scans looked terrible. The scans from this one are superb. Once you figure it out, the scanning software is very good, too. (In my experience, Brother products come with very good software, but limited information about it.) You can control the scanning from the panel of the scanner or from the included Control Center software.
I found the controls on the hardware to be intuitive and easy to use for scanning and printing. (I haven't used it as a FAX machine yet, but the FAX controls appear to be of a similar nature.) Those in the software are somewhat less so, but once you figure them out, they give you a lot of flexibility.
I love the fact that I can keep 11x17 and letter sized paper in separate trays that are easy to print from. I love that the unit connects wirelessly to all the stuff in my office.
I haven't experienced the serious paper feed problems that others have talked about, but I HAVE had a misfeed or two, and there HAVE been times when the unit seems not to know what I'm asking it to do. When that happens, I just abort and start over.
The color printing is definitely unusual, in that the intensity of the colors is very much less than that of other printers I've had. The printer has two color modes: Natural and Intense. Both of them do pretty well at delivering readable color, but it's pretty washed out when compared to what I am accustomed to (mostly H-P). Once I got used to the Brother's lower color intensity, I began to appreciate the fact that it makes a lot of things easier to see and differentiate. I have several small logos with a lot of detail that normally can't be seen when printed in color. It shows up nicely on the Brother, though.
The duplexing works well and is easy to use, but it only seems to work on plain paper. I couldn't get it to duplex anything on bright white inkjet.
All in all, I'm very happy with this unit. I have two H-P laser printers and three H-P color inkjets in my home office, and the Brother is a useful addition to my capability.
UPDATE (2/19/12) I'm getting to appreciate the benefits of the 11x17 scanning bed. One of my occasional projects is to scan some booklets that are printed on 11x17 paper, then folded and saddle stitched. In the past, I only had a letter-sized scanner, so I had to work hard to get the booklets straight on the scan glass. I either folded them back on the saddle-stitched edge and hoped to get them straight, or else flipped the booklet on every other scan then unflipped the alternate scans electronically. Either way was inconvenient, and somehow neither ever worked out very well. I'm doing one of these projects today, and I just open the booklet, lay it on the scan glass, and scan it in 11x17 mode, always with the top edge of the booklet facing into the scanner. There are no alignment problems, since the 17" side fits perfectly flush with the edge of the scanner bed, and more or less "locks in" on its raised edge. This is a tremendous improvement in convenience from what I had before. And as I said up above, the 11x17 scans are VERY clean and nice, MUCH better than anything I've had before.
UPDATE (3/16/13) A year later, and this is still an outstanding printer/copier/scanner. I've been using the Automatic Document Feeder, which works very well, and the Scan to Email, which is perfect and amazing. I cut crossword puzzles out of my local newspaper and send them to a friend who doesn't get a paper; we work on them together while video Skyping. Sweet. I use this unit to copy the puzzles at 130% enlargement, then I scan them as PDFs and send them via email. The copying works very well, but due to variations in the quality of the print in the newspaper, I sometimes have to adjust the density control on the copier. Once I have a good copy (usually pretty easy to get), I feed the copied sheet(s) through the ADF, turning them into a 600x600 dpi Black PDF, which automatically attaches itself to a ready-to-send email. I check the attachment for quality (almost always very, very good), put an address on the email, then send it with one click to my friend. It doesn't get any better than this, and the price cannot be beat. During my year of using this printer, I've bought maybe a dozen ink cartridges. I've always used the original Brother brand, but there are no-name cartridges out there for VERY little money. After looking on auction sites and in retail stores, I've established that Amazon is the best place to buy ink for this printer. Orignal Brother cartridges are substantially less expensive here than elsewhere.
UPDATE (8/10/13): A year and a half after buying it, this is one of the best printers I've ever owned. I've learned how to use its "scan to email" feature, and that's what I'm now doing for my crossword puzzles. I cut them out of the newspaper and scan them to a PDF at 400x400 dpi, Black and White mode, with brightness set all the way down to 50%. When I click the E-mail button, the puzzle gets scanned. My email program opens up with an email ready to be filled out. The subject line is the scan number, and the scan is already attached as a PDF file. Very slick. Unless the newspaper has a lot of ink showing through from the other side, the puzzles are very easy to read when printed from the PDF. Even the tiny numbers in the squares reproduce very nicely.
UPDATE (9/10/13): I've used Brother's chat support several times lately, with mixed results. Overall, I have to say it is substandard. My problems came when I had to install a new printer driver in one of my computers. I tried to get help from the chat line. At first, they seemed competent and helpful. But it took forever to get the problem solved. They like to send you links to VERY long writeups about how to solve your problem. The writeups seem to be useful, but they are so long and detailed that they aren't very useful. When what is needed is for the chat tech to say "just do X", what you get is a long-winded writeup that talks about doing "P, Q, R (if some condition or other exists), S, T, U, and V". It's a real pain in the neck. In the end, the chat person volunteered to telephone me when her shift was over. We solved the problem in just a few minutes. I encountered the same difficulty, minus the voluntary phone call, when I changed ISPs and needed to reset the printer to respond to the new wireless network. It's really not a very hard process, but Brother's help documents make it into something daunting. I don't think I'll be using their chat service again. Maybe emailing will be better. Or telephoning, if that is an option.