Brother MFC-6890CDW - MFP printer review

Brother is looking to make A3 printing accessible and affordable for businesses, but has it had to cut corners as a consequence?

A3 costs are less easily calculated and less representative there's no international standard for A3 page yield but an A3 colour page with 20 per cent ink coverage, an organisational chart perhaps, would cost around 20p in ink, while we estimate the cost of a full poster-sized A3 photo print at around 2, including the cost of Brother's Innobella glossy A3 photo paper. Using a similar calculation, a 6 x 4in photo print costs around 47p.

Print quality was usable but a little unimpressive. Mono text at Normal quality was fuzzy around the edges, while fast draft text was extremely pale and only suitable for proofing a document before printing it properly. Photo quality was rather better, with sharp definition and solid colours, although pale shades had a visible magenta tint.

Unfortunately, the MFC-6890CDW's print speeds are poor. Even pale draft prints only emerged at 7.3ppm, while standard-quality mono text documents printed at 4.4ppm. Colour was also slugging at 2.1ppm, while a borderless A3 poster on photographic paper took a massive 40 minutes and 35 seconds.

We like the range of features on offer but the speeds from this machine speeds were not impressive and we feel most businesses would be better served by an inexpensive mono laser for day-to-day printing.

However, if you want a device that can handle a range of specialist printing and imaging tasks, from scanning magazines and copying double-sided documents to printing posters and blueprints, this versatile MFP can do it all - just not very quickly.


The MFC-6890CDW is cheap to run and relatively inexpensive to buy, with generally good print quality. It has a decent range of features, including both duplex printing and scanning, but we were disappointed by its lack of a web interface and irritated by duplex printing that only works from the lower-capacity tray and duplex copying that requires you to manually flip the page you're trying to copy. Though its well featured, ultimately, the low print speeds make this MFP an unsuitable choice if you want to buy only one printer for your office.

Dpi: 1,200 x 6,000 dpi print resolution

PPM: 35ppm mono/28ppm colour quoted maximum speed

Scan resolution: 1,200 x 2,400dpi

Interfaces: USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g, PictBridge USB

Dimensions: 323 x 540 x 488mm

Warranty: Two -year RTB warranty

PSU: 3W standby, 5W idle, 16W active

K.G. Orphanides

K.G. is a journalist, technical writer, developer and software preservationist. Alongside the accumulated experience of over 20 years spent working with Linux and other free/libre/open source software, their areas of special interest include IT security, anti-malware and antivirus, VPNs, identity and password management, SaaS infrastructure and its alternatives.

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