Brother MFC-9970CDW multifunction laser printer
Brother MFC-9970CDW review: A 5-inch color touchscreen enhances this small-office or workgroup machine
- Wireless networking
- Cheap toner
- Dark scan quality
Fast output, economical toner, and Wi-Fi are the highlights of this small-office and workgroup model. Photo quality is acceptable.
Price$ 1,599.00 (AUD)
The Brother MFC-9970CDW color laser multifunction printer tackles the full laundry list of small-office and workgroup print/copy/scan/fax needs, outdoing every competitor in its price range (US$700 as of July 18, 2011) and offering cheap toner to boot. The only thing wrong with this picture is, well, the picture: Its photo quality is middling, and its color scans can be overly dark.
Detailed paper-installation instructions make setup easy; the included CD walks you through the process with sufficient hand-holding. You can find the documentation in PDF form on the CD, although Brother encourages you to look at the latest version online. In addition to USB and ethernet connections, the MFC-9970CDW has Wi-Fi, still a rarity among color laser MFPs.
The legal-size scanner is a high-end touch on a machine that's already well equipped.
Paper handling includes both a 250-sheet main input tray and a 50-sheet multipurpose tray. An optional 500-sheet input tray costs $250 from Brother, but I found lower prices online. The MFC-9970CDW prints and scans in duplex (two-sided), the latter via the 35-sheet automatic document feeder. The 150-sheet output tray is adequately sized, but it skulks, cavelike, underneath the control panel, making output a bit hard to reach -- or maybe I'm just paranoid about putting my hand into small, dark openings.
The slanted front control panel sports clearly labeled and organized buttons, with a 5-inch color LCD that makes navigating menus very intuitive. The MFP also has a front USB port.
The MFC-9970CDW gets the job done quickly, if not always perfectly. In our speed tests, printing mostly plain text with a few simple grayscale graphics, the machine posted an impressive rate of 15.7 pages per minute on the PC and a slightly better result on the Mac (15.8 ppm). Snapshot-size photos printed from the PC at above-average rates (3.2 ppm overall). One of our hardest tests, a high-resolution, full-size color photo printed on the Mac, exited at a swift rate of 1.3 ppm. PDF prints, as well as copies and scans, were also fast. The Oki MC561 is even faster, but the MFC-9970CDW bests it in other respects.
The output quality is more pedestrian, but still satisfactory for most mainstream-office use. Text and monochrome copies looked good. Color images showed yellowish and sometimes grainy or blotchy qualities. Color scans disappointed us the most, looking very dark.
Standard-size supplies ship with the MFC-9970CDW. Replacement costs are refreshingly affordable -- especially when you see that the like-priced Xerox WorkCentre 6505/DN is charging significantly more than average. The MFC-9970CDW's standard-size black cartridge costs $63 and lasts 2500 pages, or 2.5 cents per page. Each 1500-page color costs $70, or 4.7 cents per page. A four-color page would cost 16.7 cents. The high-yield supplies are even better, working out to 1.9 cents per page for black (the $117 cartridge lasts 6000 pages) and 3.6 cents per color, per page (each $125 cartridge lasts 3500 pages). A four-color page would cost a low 12.7 cents.
Brother's MFC-9970CDW stands out from other models in its price range because it hits certain sweet spots -- speed, features, and cost per page. Although it could stand to improve in photo quality and especially scan quality, it might offer enough bells and whistles for many small offices to overlook the shortcomings.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Miofive 4K Dash Cam review: This friendly road watcher is ‘here for you!’
- 2 Dell U3223QE review: A winning debut for an IPS Black monitor
- 3 Netgear Nighthawk M5 mobile router review: Probably too expensive, but nice
- 4 Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: This 4K monitor plays nice with consoles
- 5 Firewalla Gold review: Powerful home network security in a tiny box
Latest News Articles
- Canon ink is freaking out after shipping without crucial chips. Here’s how to fix it
- Epson RapidReceipt RR-600W scanner released for home offices
- Epson announces heat-free EcoTank printers
- Canon’s Pixma Endurance has a new name
- Brother pitch themselves at SMBs with new 'Inkvestment' options
PCW Evaluation Team
Set up is effortless.
The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.
Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
- 100 Great PC Games You Should Play Before You Die
- Best Click Frenzy mobile and Internet plan deals
- Microsoft’s iconic browser Internet Explorer is being killed off in June
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies