So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Brother International (Aust) MFC-7340
A cost-efficient laser multifunction for small businesses
- Good quality printing, small footprint, good price
- No duplex, 14.4Kbps fax, inadequate paper output tray, no Ethernet
The MFC-7340 has a number of flaws and missing features that make it problematic for office use. No duplex, no Ethernet and an inadequate paper output tray are its key failures, but it delivers good quality printing and it is cost efficient.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
The MFC-7340 is the cheapest product in Brother's refreshed line-up of mono laser multifunctions. It offers simplicity and cost efficiency in a no-nonsense package. For small businesses that need a multifunction that's cheap to run, the MFC-7340 might be suitable.
With a two-tone beige and grey colour scheme, the MFC-7340 isn't the prettiest unit we've seen. However, for a medium-quantity laser multifunction it's fairly compact. The unit has a 250-page capacity paper tray, as well as a manual single page feeder. However, the MFC-7340's paper output tray is shockingly inadequate. A small slot that fits between the toner holder and the multifunction's control panel acts as the paper output, and it struggles to hold more than 150 pages. The unit's control panel and scanner can be lifted up to accommodate more, but this is an inelegant solution.
Toner replacement is also an issue. When replacing the toner, the entire drum unit has to be lifted out as well, an unnecessarily convoluted process. Nevertheless, an average consumable cost of 4.8c per page is sure to put smiles on the faces of the cost-conscious. This low cost helps Brother remain one of the cheapest mono laser manufacturers on the market at the moment.
The MFC-7340's relatively low price tag comes at the cost of some office productivity features. Connectivity is limited to a single USB 2.0 port — Ethernet will cost an extra $100 for the MFC-7440N, while Wi-Fi can only be found in the flagship MFC-7840W, which costs an extra $200. There is also no duplex functionality, and fax speed is limited to a paltry 14.4Kbps — a speed generally only found in cheap standalone faxes.
We weren't amazed by the multifunction's printing speed, but its ability to perform consistently across quality settings did impress. The MFC-7340 offers three different quality settings, ranging from 300dpi to 1200dpi. Regardless of the quality setting chosen, pages will print at an average 21 pages per minute. Although this is not the fastest speed we've seen, it is commendable when printing at 1200dpi.
The MFC-7340 is perfectly capable of producing clean and tidy text of impeccable quality, with only slight brightness differences between quality levels. A side-by-side comparison with the same test document printed by Fuji-Xerox's Phaser 8560MFP showed similar quality, although the waxy look of the Phaser 8560 gave a nicer photographic quality to document. Nevertheless, for pure document printing, the MFC-7340 is excellent.
Image and document scanning is also fairly fast, but quality isn't fantastic. Images scanned with the MFC-7340 are darker than their originals, sacrificing detail in darker images. This was also the case with graphics and text scanning, causing text to become slightly muddy and colours to deviate in accuracy from originals.
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If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
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