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Hardware Review Brother MFC-L8900CDW Business Color Laser All-in-One Printer Review

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ronald Epstein, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    This is not a paid review. My Epson printer died (do not buy an Epson) and I had to make a quick replacement purchase this past week.



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    Brother MFC-L8900CDW Business Color Laser All-in-One Printer






    Truth is, it's been only 4 hours since I unpacked this printer and had the chance to play around with it. However trust me, it's been a very busy amount of time and I think I put the Brother MFC-L8900 through its paces to the point that I can give an honest initial review.


    In addition to writing this review, I have put together a video that should give you an idea of what to expect if and when you finally decide to buy this printer.


    Let me start with giving you a few good reasons to trust my opinion and highly consider this all-in-one above all others. There will be at least one negative along the way -- particularly for Mac users. Don't get antsy -- this printer works beautifully with a Mac and that is the device I tested this printer with. Windows users shouldn't have any problems either as printers generally bond with PCs better than Macs.


    I have been buying heavy-duty printers for my home business for several years now. I know how to install them and I know what to expect. I also spend HOURS researching anything like this before purchasing. Please trust that I looked at all the top all-in-one consumer models from HP, SAMSUNG, CANON, etc.


    Whatever you do, don't consider an EPSON. I have had nothing but problems with their printers.


    Now, with every printer, you end up researching on Amazon you are going to find negative reviews. I found quite a few negative reviews for this Brother model that kind of scared me. There were problems with print issues, the scanner cover not staying down, the wireless connection being dropped.....and on and on. Yes, the chances are always there you are going to get a dud model.


    However, I know Brother. I know their quality. In my opinion, they make the best and most cost-efficient printers in the marketplace. The last Brother printer I bought several years ago is still going strong. It's the cruddy Epson all-in-one that has given me nothing but trouble that I needed a replacement for.


    Make no mistake about it, the L8900CDW is one of Brother's current top consumer models. When originally released a year ago it cost twice as much as it does now. So, you are getting a $1k printer at less than $500 at the time of this review.


    This Brother pretty much looks, feels and prints like a $1k printer. It is a workhorse designed for a small home business. It has all the top functions you would expect from a printer at this cost including duplex printing, faxing and scanning. It also boasts a really nice 5" touchscreen that makes this an intuitive printer to use. I really did not have to resort to instructions in setting this up other than having to configure my email account on my IP webpage. More on that to come...


    SETUP


    Yes, this comes in quite a large box. Yes, it is quite heavy. Yes, it's better to have two people set this up but I was able to move the box up a flight upstairs, lift unpack and set it up all by myself. So those of you who want to know whether you can set this up alone, the answer is, you can!


    Unpacking took under 20 minutes. There are a few pieces of tape to remove. You need to open the front door, slide out the printer tray, and remove a bunch of plastic holder pieces. Easy peasy!


    Having a Mac, there is no CD drive. I simply went to Brother's support page on the Internet and downloaded their installation software applicable to this model. The software guides you through connecting the printer wirelessly (or wired) to your network. Additionally, you can do it through the touchscreen. I have to really commend the ease of use that this touchscreen and its accompanying keyboard provides.


    One thing you might want to do is set up your scan to email through your computer web browser. You will need to do a printout from your printer's network settings to get your IP address. When you plug that address into your browser search bar, it comes up with your printer's utility page.


    Now here's something Brother doesn't tell you...


    You need a login password. I had to search the Internet for it. The default password is: initpass


    This page at the Brother Support Site will actually walk you through configuring your email account


    https://support.brother.com/g/b/faqend.aspx?c=us&lang=en&prod=mfc8510dn_us&faqid=faq00003062_004


    I had a GMAIL account and I simply did a search for the incoming and SMTP settings, entered all that information and did a test connection from the browser. It worked perfectly and transmitted that information over to the printer.


    COPY AND SCAN TO ANYWHERE


    What is really neat about this printer is that you can send scans and copies to just about anywhere. Of course, there is email -- anyone's email that you wish. And there is a handful of supported Cloud Services like BOX, EVERNOTE, DROPBOX, ONE DRIVE, etc. So, I simply scan my documents and they are automatically deposited in those accounts. Each of those cloud services gives you free storage so I would recommend you take advantage of signing up with as many as you can.


    What's even cooler is that you can create shortcuts on the touchscreen with which a single press will automatically fax, copy, email or deposit your document into a cloud service. You will certainly have a lot of fun setting these documents up.


    PRINT QUALITY


    This is where I read so many negative reviews. Well, not so many, but at least the complaints from the vocal minority do tend to stand out when reading Amazon reviews for this product.


    I found the print quality to be excellent. Even more so, I found color accuracy to be just about spot on.


    Text quality was as perfect as you would expect. Now, one of the downsides that I read about this computer is that it uses the color inks to do black and white printing, potentially shortening the lifespan of those cartridges. There is a way to go into settings and tell it to use the black cartridge only. The problem is, you have to keep switching it back-and-forth every time you want to print color or black and white. I am just going to take my chances and leave everything where it is.


    I printed a few web pages and scanned a few magazine covers. The colors looked very similar. I didn't see anything that was way off. This printer really doesn't do photos very well -- most all color laser printers don't. Most anyone will tell you that you need a separate printer designed for photos if you want to use it for that purpose.


    It doesn't bother me that the paper capacity is only limited to 250 sheets. Have you seen 250 sheets? That is a lot of paper. Most homes won't use that much paper in a month. For the high-capacity business use you can buy add-on paper trays for about $150.


    The print speed is excellent. The most wait time you will have is from wake-up to first print. That can take about 20 seconds. Otherwise, this is a very speedy printer.


    I used the top feeder to scan my phone bill which was several pages long. The top scanner did a great job of feeding each page through its feeder and properly scanned both sides of each sheet. There is an option for single or double page scanning.


    Fax worked fine. I was able to send a fax to a friend and it arrived without any issues. I am always sending faxes to my Doctor, so it was really neat that I was able to set up a shortcut on the touchscreen. With a single press it dials my physician's fax machine and sends my document. No more having to remember his phone number or go through the manual dialing process.


    THE ONE NEGATIVE


    There is another Amazon review that touches upon this subject to which I was able to relate to...


    The Brother Control Center Software that you install on the Mac (and Window PCs as well) looks like something from the 1990s. It's quite obvious this is the one product that Brother has turned its back on. It's not only archaic, but it kept freezing and then crashing on Mac Mojave. I will bet that since one Mac user has already reported this issue, all Mac users are going to have this issue. Hopefully, Brother is aware of this problem and will fix it.


    Their portable app for IOS and ANDROID is also pretty bad. It has a lot of 1-star ratings. It works -- I was able to print from my phone --- but the software is just really nasty to look at and work with. Brother needs to update their software to new millennium standards.


    Did it hinder my enjoyment of using the Brother L8900CDW? No. There are ways to get around using the desktop app. The mobile app works, though I would probably opt to download some other AirPrint capable app to use with this printer.


    CONCLUSION


    Personally, I don't think any other of the major brands can top this all-in-one at this price point. Though the software side of this printer for the desktop and mobile devices is severely lacking, the hardware itself is top-notch. For the few hours I have been putting this printer through its paces, I haven't seen any negatives to complain about outside of what I have already pointed out. Wireless connectivity is fine. Print quality is excellent. Double-sided scanning and faxing worked as expected. The speed of printing is on par with office workhorse machines.


    In all, this is an excellent choice for your home or small business.



     
  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I never install any printer drivers and generally use the built in OS tools. Wonder how well that would work with this guy?
     
  3. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Rocket Science Department
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    I agree that brother makes excellent laser printers. All of the performance-report printers we use on our equipment are rebranded Brother laser printers and they are rock solid performers.
     

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