Pros: Prints envelopes without wrinkling. small. quiet. good tech support
Cons: Manual paper feed is flimsy. Does not duplex.
Manual paper feed is flimsy. Does not duplex.
I replaced my Brother MFC 7420 with this MFC-7840 and am very happy with the upgrade. It does everything I need and is small and quiet in my small office. It has a straight paper passthrough for envelope, which works great. Read below for a comparison to other similar models.
I’ve had a Brother MFC-7240 for 2 or 3 years when the fuser went out last week. A new fuser is $150 + $75-100 to install, so needless to say, I decided to buy a new all-in-one machine. My Konica Minolta 2430DL color laser printer also conked out at the same time and I investigated replacing both with a color laser AIO. After not having much luck finding one of those that could easily print envelopes, I decided to stick with two different machines. In retrospect, I’m glad I did – it’s good to have two printers around to back each other up just in case. (If you’ve got really light duty needs, consider the Samsung CLX-3160FN, which I came across in during this first shop. It’s dirt cheap for a color laser AOI. Very small and very quiet, but not solid enough for a small office load.)
After reading up on monochrome laser AOIs for much too long, I narrowed my choices down to about a dozen in the $200-$500 range. I refuse to buy something I can’t see and play around with first, so I went shopping at local stores to see the models I chose in action. I went to Staples, Office Depot and OfficeMax. Tried for Circuit City and Best Buy also, but believe it or not, they don’t carry ANY monochrome laser AIO machines in their stores – only on-line. A manual feed and envelope printing are a must for my use, and reviews I read were conflicting, so I took a big stack of envelopes to test the machines out myself. I also took my own originals (a purchase order and envelope – both with various sizes of text and graphics) so I could compare apples to apples.
Most machines I tested had decent quality copying. There were differences, but all were acceptable for b&w general office work. Of course, copying was the only feature I could really test at the store. They all warmed up quickly and most were quiet enough. Here’s what I found...
Brother MFC-8460 is too loud, big and imposing for my small office and took a little longer to warm up.
Canon 4270 has duplexing, which I was in the market for, but a funky half-tray for paper that was hard to load and looked like it could have problems down the road. Other than that, I liked it a lot (my second choice). Printed envelopes well and looked stylish.
Canon 4150 printed the envelope crooked and the coverage was too heavy and “grayed” the white envelope. I imagine this might be improved when changing settings from the print software to adjust for the thicker envelope paper.
HP1522NF printed the envelope uncrinkled, but it made a LOT of noise curling around the paper feed, which worried me. It also “grayed” the white envelope without being able to select a “thick paper” option.
HP M2727 did not print the envelope well at all.
Samsung SCX-4725fn has an easy manual feed, but toner on my graphics flaked off the envelope. It copied very quickly and quietly.
Brother MFC-7840w and MFC-7440n are pretty much the same except the they are different colors and the 7840 is wireless and better for networking. They both have backs that open so labels and envelopes can pass straight through and not wrinkle or curl at all.
I ended up with the Brother MFC-7840W from OfficeMax for $299.00. (It was $249 at Staples and Office Depot with a mail-in rebate – it’s a long story why I couldn’t get back to one of them and save the $50.) Not only did I like this machine best in my test, but I was happy with my old MFC-7420 and hope this updated version will treat me as well. The one thing I really wish the 7840 had that is does not, is duplex printing. If it had that, it would be the perfect machine.
I did a USB installation to Windows XP, which was simple and took about 45 minutes, but unfortunately the copier and scanner did not work. I called tech support and got through quickly. They couldn’t help me, but quickly bumped me up to the next level of tech support. This next level was actually staffed with a real engineer who had the machine in the same room with him. After a few diagnostics he had me run, he determined that the logic board was defective and volunteered to send me a new one. I opted to return it to OfficeMax, who exchanged it with no problem.
I just plugged the new machine in and didn’t reinstall the software. Now everything works perfectly and I’m very happy with this machine.