Brother – MFC-9970CDW review

Speedy multifunction wireless printer
Photo of Brother – MFC-9970CDW
£879 ex. VAT

Brother has a solid foundation with its range of home and small business printers – but now the firm has started making serious in-roads into the market for small-to-medium office multifunction printers (MFPs). The MFC-9970CDW is the showcase model in its current batch of business all-in-ones.

Sturdy but stylish
The MFC-9970CDW is a very strong and sturdy machine, clad in two-tone black and cream. Weighing in at 28.5kg, the device will definitely need two people to lift into position. And yet somehow, it still manages to retain a relatively slim and compact feel, measuring just 490x526x530mm.

Sitting on top and squarely perpendicular to the main body of the printer is a 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder with a foldaway input tray, while at the bottom is an A4-sized 250-sheet input tray. In addition, there’s a drop-down 50 sheet multi-purpose tray in the front below the output area and this is used principally for thicker paper, envelopes and photos. If volume is your main concern, then there’s an optional 500-sheet extender tray that can be slotted in under the base.

Clear controls
Once you’ve removed the considerable amount of packaging, tape, stickers and plastic surrounding this machine, you’re left with a broad, work panel that lays out extremely clearly all the options available to you. Divided into three sections, the left side is taken up with 20 fax speed-dial buttons. The centre has a 12.7cm colour touchscreen LCD that handles most control options, while on the right-hand side is a number pad and the main one-touch function buttons. The touchscreen is very responsive, and the menus are simple, straightforward and easy to follow.

The USB port at the front allows for direct printing from flash memory drives, and one of the major selling points for this MFP is its capacity for automatic double-sided printing, scanning, copying and faxing. While the scanning resolution is a conventional 1,200×2,400dpi, you do have the unusual choice of being able to scan directly to e-mail, image, OCR or send the file via Wi-Fi, USB or Ethernet connectivity.

Faster performance
The generally higher price of laser printers is often related to their faster printing speeds, and this is certainly true of the MFC-9970CDW. Although Brother claims a speed of 28ppm for both black text and colour documents, we only managed 24ppm for both – but that’s still fairly nippy.

Black quality was extremely impressive – solid, unbroken and bold. Scans were equally fast, with A4 photos whizzing through in about 7 seconds and producing brightly lit, sharp results. On the other hand, don’t plan on using this printer for printing photos as the overall results were dark, dismal and streaked.

There are four toner cartridges to be replaced (black, magenta, cyan and yellow), with the basic black toner having a yield of ,2500 pages and each of the colour toners 1,500. However, there are two further increments available, which would increase capacity to 6000 pages for all four.

Company: Brother

Contact: 08444 999444

Solidly built, with simple and clear controls, auto-duplex capability for all four functions, exceptional black text quality and fast speeds, the Brother MFC-9970CDW is well worth considering for medium-sized offices - as long as you don't want to print too many photos.