I purchased this printer last year as I needed one for using at university. I did my research and felt that an A3 multifunction printer would be most advantageous to me. The main reason being that university printing costs are far more expensive than using your own resources. The reason why I chose an A3 multifunction was because diagrams and whatnot can be easily displayed and produced in A3. The frustration of having to selotape 2 pieces of A4 paper together after completion or the pain of having to compose half a page at a time within document publishing software were no more.
This brother printer uses high yield ink, so printing costs can be low considering the amount you can print with the aspect of the amount of ink you can put in the printer. a bundle pack of 4 inks (1 black and 3 colour) can be purchased for £25 which is very reasonable considering competitor prices and this is for the official brother ink and not a compatible one. i have been using this printer for a year now and am still on my first batch of cartridges (that came with the printer) this shows how much ink is available at your disposal.
Scanning is very easy to do... there are 2 choices to which the user can scan a document. You can either use the document feeder or the flatbed scanner to scan in your documents. Both are compatible with A3 paper as well as many other sizes below A3. Copying is performed in the same manor and produces very good results. The maximum resolution for scanning / copying is 1200 dpi which constitutes to a high quality scan and also a somewhat large file size (a note to consider if using high resolution scanning).
Printing is very good indeed. Colours come out naturally and text is clean and legible. Printing speeds are good indeed when it comes to text documents (black and white) but coloured printing with text and documents can be somewhat slow... but does produce a very good result. There are a multitude of connectivity features available within this printer. Wifi, ethernet, usb and memory card slots are all present in this printer. Faxing capabilities are pretent within this multifunctional machine and is very useful if you were to send to businesses or other buildings that also have fax present. The bundled software is both broad and intuitive whilst also being easy to install... guidance of how to set up your printer whilst also having all the applications and tools necessary to fully use the multifunctional capabilities of this machine is included in the software disk.
it can be used as a stand alone machine or a networked printer... the networking capabilities are very useful indeed and i have easily printed things from different rooms within my home. There are 2 paper trays within this printer which can be used in order to store paper to print... the top bay is the only one that can be expandable to print A3 sized paper in. Both bays can detract and expand in paper adjustment in order to fit the paper correctly and keep it aligned.
I would definitely recommend this multifunctional A3 printer but would advice that this machine can take up a lot of desk space.
I am not a particularly technically minded individual, so rather than go through all the technical gubbins about this machine (which are available here anyway: http://members.dooyoo.co.uk/fax-machine/brother-mfc-6490cw/details/), I will try to chat about my own experiences with using it and what I make of it!
Setting up new peripherals is always something which scares me a little bit as it starts to wander into the realms of things I know very little about and care about even less! Having said that, after watching my other half set this machine up on his computer, I was able to do it on my own computer without any assistance. I simply plugged it in, windows found it straight away, and all that was necessary for me to do was click next on a few boxes and it was done! It really is "plug and play", with very little for even a total novice computer user to become concerned with. Drivers etc are downloaded automatically so long as your PC/laptop is connected to the internet, and it really is a very simple and basic affair.
This may, at first glance, seem a pricey and peculiar choice for a home printer/scanner etc, but it is the one we chose when our old printer (also an all-in-one) juddered to a halt about a year or so ago. Printing is just as easy as with any other printer really, there is a simple slot in the front of the machine to load in the paper (even my 8 yr old can do this), and just above this is a slot where the paper comes out. Our main reason for choosing an A3 capable printer was that my other half fancies himself as something of a digital artist, and hopes to get into selling posters, cards and the like, so we wanted a printer that would not only meet all our "home" needs but would give us printing results of a quality good enough to sell to other people. On the printing results front I cannot fault this printer; I have had posters bought online which have more visible "dots" on them than the images delivered by this machine, even when A3 images have been printed out. We have used it to produce several pieces for our home which visitors have commented favourably on and even asked where we purchased from! It also handles multiple copies well without paper jamming or anything of that nature, so is great for invitations and that sort of thing.
We wanted a photocopier partly because I am a bit of a musician, and whilst I do purchase genuine copies of manuscripts etc., I like to add my own performance marks, breath marks and the like to my own photocopied copy, so that the original remains free of scrawled random messages which would probably mean little to anyone other than me, as I tend to do them in my own odd form of invented abbreviations! Photocopying could npot be simpler using this machine. The bed where you place the item to be copied (on the top of the machine, the same place you place any item to be scanned) has clear markings in paper sizes (A4 etc) along both the horizontal and vertical axes, so it is simply a matter of lining up your original item with the marks on the flatbed, closing the top of the machine, then pressing the "copy" button. A menu pops up on the LCD screen which is easy to understand and go through by means of the arrow buttons, enabling you to select the number of copies, size, quality etc. The print quality again is very good, both in colour and monochrome, even on the lowest level option (which is the one I most commonly use).
I have used the scanner a number of times, mainly for scanning in old photos or drawings done by the kids, and again the quality is very good. The images produced are very true to the original and because it is flatbed, you don't have any of those jarring lines which were so common on the old handheld scanners! In some cases you could argue the quality of scanning is a little bit too good, as even creases in the paper will sometimes show up, but these can easily be corrected in a software program such as photoshop after scanning. Again it is a simple matter to operate the scanner, you just press the scan button then navigate the easy to understand menu which allows you to scan the image as a number of different things and to different destinations, such as into an email application or image software, or just as a simple file to your PC/laptop.
We have only used the fax machine once, to send some documents for my dad (lol), but again this was easy to do even though I had never sent a fax before as the menus etc are clear and simple to understand.
A nice feature of this machine is its "power save" option, which allows it to "sleep" when not in use but still be available on demand. Nice to know we are chipping a little bit off our carbon footprint!
The machine is also fairly quiet when printing, which is something I know a lot of people want to know about this type of thing! So much so that if I have been engrossed in something on my PC (such as reading particularly fantastic Dooyoo reviews!) I have not even noticed it has started printing until someone comes along to collect what they have just printed out! I definitely don't think it is an obtrusive noise at all, although it isn't 100% silent it is about as quiet as you could expect an inkjet printer to be.
One minor moan I do have about this printer is that it uses rollers rather than a flat entry to get the paper in, meaning it is somewhat restricted on the types of card/paper it will allow to go through. We tried to put some 260GSM paper through it and it simply got stuck. This was particularly annoying as the paper pack had the Brother logo plastered all over it! We have ordered a sample pack of different thicknesses of paper to experiment with, so I will come back and update when we have a clearer idea of what will/won't go through it!
Another aspect I am less than happy with if I am honest is the overall design of the printer...I know its a terribly "girly" thing to say about a piece of technical machinery, but it really isn't very pretty to look at, very angular in shades of grey and bulky at that (although I suppose that is to be expected of an A3 capable machine!) Having said that, at least the matt finish doesn't collect fingerprints and dust like some of the glossy black machines we looked at in the shops, and the buttons are all clearly marked and large enough to be easy to use, so I suppose it is a case of practicality triumphing over aesthetics!
This is definitely an item you should shop around for if you are considering purchasing it; we got ours on offer in Staples and it was considerably cheaper than other advertised prices I have seen since. I have also seen it on sale or offer at other locations both on and offline, with savings of as much as £100, so it would definitely be worth investing a bit of time to check out different retailers offers.
I am not going to try to convince anyone that this is a bargain priced printer, but it is worth the money. It is packed full of features (see the technical info link), and has top notch performance and ease of use. The one thing I would complain about on the cost front is the cost of the replacement ink cartridges which are definitely not as cheap as other brands available, but having said that we bypassed this by buying one of those self-refill kits with a little syringe and topping up old cartridges rather than buying new ones every time. This does not work forever though as eventually the cartridges start to become worn and are no longer recognised by the printer so need replacing. Having said that, the quality of copies provided is second to none for an inkjet printer, and so I believe it is worth paying that little extra for both the machine itself and the inks required for it.