Multi-function Workgroup Printers

The MFC-8860DN is the kind of machine that will please network administrators and company accountants as much as anyone, which is not to decry its able print, scan and fax capabilities.

Bean counters will welcome its low running costs. There are two volumes of toner cartridge available. The unit ships with a 3,500-page cartridge that costs 37.44 to replace, which equates to a cost per page (CPP) of 0.01 pence, but for 45.61 you can buy a 7,000-page cartridge, giving a CPP of 0.006 pence. The drum unit costs 79.63, and at around five per cent ink coverage, Brother claims it has a lifespan of 25,000 pages (a CPP of 0.003 pence). However, if your output routinely includes images as well as text, then expect this figure to be far lower.

Brother's stated first-print figure is 8.5 seconds held true for text-based output, but it took 28 seconds to process our killer print test. Likewise, the stated print speed of 28ppm held up for text output but dropped to 22ppm on our killer test. On the high quality setting (2,400x600dpi) expect these figures to almost double. It has a warm-up time of 15.5 seconds, and its first-copy performance was 10 seconds, after which it can output 29 copies per minute.

Print quality is acceptable, but the Canon i-Sensys MF4150 wins the battle of the monos on this front, but the 8860DN does offer automatic print, scan and copy duplexing.

Network options include 10/100 BASE-TX Ethernet, and it supports wireless LAN (11b/g). It also interfaces via parallel and USB ports.

One 8860DN long suit is its admin offering - it ships with Brother's BRAdmin Professional software, which can be used to monitor and manage consumables status, network parameters, serial number information, and printer settings. It is also able to mass-configure the settings of networked printers - a great time saver if investing in multiple units.

BRAdmin can also display printers in departmental groups, and can be used for mass upgrading.

BRAdmin Professional is PC only but Mac networks can make use of BRAdmin Light, a Java application that supports some of the features of Professional, including network settings and firmware updating.

Warranty options on the MFC-8860DN

include one-year on-site as standard, but this is upgradable to two years for 89. It includes free repairs at your premises, access to a UK technical helpline and next-day response on all faults reported before 12pm. Brother technicians undertake repairs.


Mono, but best on test when quality, affordability and network-readiness are taken together.