This was my dad's printer for quite some time, and I had a Samsung (perhaps I'll review that too if I can) printer, but when he needed a small enough printer for a relative mine was better suited, so he gave me this to use instead.
This printer is not just big, but also one of those rather awkwardly shaped devices and so it takes up a lot of space for the functions it offers. My previous printer did not have a scanning function, so perhaps I'm being harsh, but I did prefer its almost box-like shape, which meant that I could easily estimate the space it would take up and it did not have bits sticking out on the sides. I could also put stuff on top of it, although I guess you're probably not supposed to. With this Brother, it is tricky to balance, not that pleasing on the eye and with flaps sticking out it could be easily damaged. I've taken the terrible chance of putting it on a wobbly table, and I'm nervously awaiting the moment it gets knocked and comes crashing down. So obviously I would say this printer is best suited for a room/office with large, ample desk space to accommodate it. The output try extends out from the front as well, and this means that the depth of the desk must be even larger, otherwise this part sticks right out and the one time you forget to fold it back away it could easily get damaged, cracked or even broken. Again, I'm having to be extra careful.
In a warm greyish colour, this printer just wants to fit in with all the other office equipment, and so frankly it is nothing special. I notice that the pictures online show those extending flaps for placing paper as being a lovely clear blue colour, but mine are much duller and more grey too. There are some curved edges and colours on the buttons/interface that soften its appearance, but this is frankly not an appealing product for looks.
It is heavy but not too hard for a small person like me to lift, which was good for carrying it upstairs and getting it set up. The flaps are a little more solid than I had expected but the paper output tray feels very flimsy and the joints where all the flaps connect make me nervous and I think they could break easily.
The display is very small and not that easy to read, even when lit up. The buttons are hard plastic but well spaced so it is not too easy to accidentally press the wrong button. Some are coloured in the way you might expect so you know what button to look for, but the colours again are very subtle and a little dull. The menu is a little tricky to follow at first but then I didn't bother with the manual and most things I can now easily work out for myself. The printer beeps when you press buttons so you know it is working.
You do get a power cable to connect up this printer, but I don't think our USB cable to connect to computers did come with it. You can also use the old style large cables with the big 12-or-something-pin connections. You also have three ports for your phone line connections, one to actually use a phone, an extension and the normal line. Of course, I just use the USB to connect to my computer and so I don't have too many wires floating about.
I have a small glossy booklet, just smaller than A5. Again the cover is a bit dull, with a similar blue to the logo on the printer, and inside it is black and white.But for writing this review, I probably would not have bothered to look at the manual at all as the things I need to do are all things I am familiar with anyway from experience using printers generally. I have to admit it does not look like an impossible read at least for reference and with the help of some diagrams the information is communicated fairly clearly, but even for a quick start you are referred to other pages and I think it could be simplified. There is a separate guide to set up but as this is such a small book I think it would have made sense to just put that information at the start.
This printer certainly used to be better, but taking ownership a while after it was out of guarantee I have found it to be riddled with problems. Being laser, the speed of printing is not bad (for its time - I remember reading somewhere that the speed is about 10 pages per minute but this sounds really poor!), but it often grabs too many sheets of paper from the feed and as it heats up quite a bit these papers should not really be fed back through. This also means it jams occasionally, although not that much more often than I have found with cheap printers.
I don't really understand laser technology, but when I found that my work was printing with black smudge lines all over it and rapidly getting worse, my dad said the toner cartridge needed changing. We did this but unfortunately the problem was not solved. I have found that if just printing one or two sheets, the quality will be ok, but when printing several sheets at once, when I guess the printer warms up quite a bit, the pages come out almost grey and the text very smudged. I can no longer risk using this printer for my coursework and even just printing off lecture notes I found they were just too hard to read when printing high volumes. I now just use it occasionally and have bought myself a replacement.
Scanning and Copying
There is a document platen and an automatic feed for copying. I generally use the platen for scanning and the occasional photocopy. Mostly because of the problems with printing mentioned I would just scan in what I needed and print elsewhere. I did find that the scanner was reasonably speedy when doing black and white but you can also scan coloured documents onto your computer and this just takes a little longer. I do find that anything in pencil does not get picked up, which is not helpful for my design courses where I want to scan in my sketches, as I then have to go over everything with a biro and sometimes that's not even enough so a thick black pen is required.
I do not use the faxing function of this printer, just as well given the printing problems, although it was previously used. Printing was relatively fast so this would have been helpful for receiving urgent faxes, and the noise it made when a fax was coming in meant that you would hear it pretty well. That said, there was some confusion with our phone line so it caused us a lot of problems, but this probably has nothing to do with the actual printer.
This printer is just far too outdated to be worth buying now, probably even second hand. I would not pay more than £50 second hand and even at that for the cost of paper losses and the problems I've had with printing you would probably lose out. I also think there are better solutions that look nicer and take up less space, which can become an issue in small spaces. The speed is probably poor for today's standards and the quality not great anyway. Not recommended.
(Battery life not applicable)