For small businesses that don't need colour printing, the Brother MFC-8880DN is a multifunction can securely print and scan documents cheaply.
The design of Brother's MFC-8800 series hasn't changed for some time, so the Brother MFC-8880DN looks nearly identical to the MFC-8860DN. Though it doesn't push the envelope in printer design, it does add in an automatic duplexer for double-sided printing and an easily accessible toner bay.
The Brother MFC-8880DN offers USB, Ethernet and parallel port connections, along with a 33.6Kbps fax with speed dial capabilities for up to 300 numbers. There's also a USB port on the front that allows you to directly scan to, and print from, USB flash drives. The MFC-8880DN can print PDFs and XPS documents this way, along with JPEG, PRN and TIFF files; the printer won't recognise Word documents and plain text files.
One aspect of concern with the Brother MFC-8880DN is the control panel, a cluttered array of buttons to change resolution, duplex and tray settings. Like with the Samsung CLX-6210FX, it would be better if these functions were accessed from an on-screen menu. Some of the buttons are confusingly labelled, too. For example, you must press an arrow key instead of "OK" to enter a function, and the "Stop/Exit" button not "Clear/Back" to exit. Additionally, you can't change between copy, scan and fax functions without returning to the root menu first.
By contrast, the web-based interface is perhaps too simple. Though it provides access to basic network settings, there is no way to secure the interface or printer itself over a network using an IP/MAC address filter or 802.1X authentication (there is an administrator password, however). Default settings for the printer, duplex, fax and copy functions are available, but you can't configure the scanner over the web interface.
Secure Print, which allows you to password-protect print jobs, is included.
The Brother MFC-8880DN lets you scan to a local or networked PC, a USB flash drive, an e-mail address or an FTP server. Depending on where you scan to, the MFC-8880DN doesn't always tell you which file type it will save a job as. It supports JPEG, XPS, PDF and secure PDF files. You can also initiate an OCR (optical character recognition) process directly from the printer to a networked computer.
The Brother MFC-8880DN laser printer offers both standard and high quality 1200dpi resolution options, the latter of which prints at half the speed. However, the difference between these two settings is immediately noticeable. When printed with HQ 1200dpi, documents are crisper and more accurate across a range of text sizes from 7pt up to 20pt. Document quality is fantastic overall, particularly for the price. Monochrome graphics are much darker and have a higher contrast than Samsung's SCX-5835FN, though it won't replace an inkjet printer for presentation graphics.
Using a high-yield 8000 page toner, the Brother MFC-8880DN monochrome laser is cheap to use for a printer at this price point. Combined with direct USB printing and the secure print functions, the Brother MFC-8880DN is a good multifunction printer for the office; its only real drawback is the control method.
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