The machine has a pair of memory card slots, which between them can take CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD/MMC and xD cards in most of their variants. There's also a USB drive slot, so overall the Brother provides a flexible photo capture system. To the right of the display is a set of illuminated mode-selection keys, a set for menu navigation, and job start and stop buttons.
Dead easy access to the ink cartridges
The four ink cartridges slot in behind a cover which folds down from the right front of the machine and are therefore very easy to install and replace. USB and Ethernet cables have to be threaded round inside the machine, as is common with Brother devices, to internal sockets, just behind the control panel, but phone and fax connections, as well as mains power, plug in at the left-hand side, which is less tidy than having them at the back.
Brother makes the usual over-enthusiastic claims for the MFC-5890CN’s print speed, claiming 35ppm for mono and 28ppm for colour. These are for A4 printing, but must have been achieved under very special conditions. It's a bit like claiming the top speed of a new milk float is 160mph - by dropping said 'leccy vehicle from a C-17 transport at 20,000ft.
Our five-page black text document completed in 1m 14s, giving a print speed of 4ppm. Increasing the print run to 20 pages, which reduces the proportion of time spent processing and rasterising pages, still only increased it to 4.5ppm. A five-page text and colour graphics document gave 2.6ppm, less than a tenth of the rated speed.
If you take the page size up to A3, speeds are a bit better, proportionately. A five-page text document took 1m 52s, and the text and graphic equivalent took 2m 57s. However, a full A3 photo took 14.5 minutes - and a lot of ink, too. A single-page photocopy took just over 40 seconds and a five-page copy, from the ADF, took 1m 14s.
Pull out the tray only when you need A3
Brother can claim its speeds are for draft print mode, but how often do typical customers print in draft mode? We believe many don't realise there's more than one standard of print and most don't like the dotty look of draft print. An ISO standard for measuring print speeds is well overdue. The one now adopted by all the major printer makers for page yields has made a big difference to like-for-like comparisons.
I recently purchased the mfc-6490cw. The only difference between the mfc-6490cw and the reviewed model is the mfc-6490cw has 2 paper trays (150 sheet and 250 sheet).
For a small office or home network, this is not a bad printer. I love it for having an large format ADF scanner. I couldn't find a stand alone large format scanner that was anywhere near this price point.
To answer the 9 questions above (based on the mfc-6490cw):
1 - yes
2 - yes
3 - have not tried
4 - ink level
5 - about 35 MB on my last install
7 - nope
8 - Don't know. I'm not the one who buys ink
9 - I forget.... not near the device now
The thing I love about this is that it works very well with Ubuntu. Brother provides nice easy to use drivers.
already a mactard.. and my epson rx640 still wanted to install a load of useless programming rubbish. I don't use it, and don't run it.
oh yes and out of the box the driver only supported maximum ink mode, can download a better one but out of the box useless.
N0 7. was aimed at Olivetti, where I have installed one of thier lumps of junk fro a relative, set up as a shared printer under windows.
peep 'a' prints on the laptop, to the printer on a desktop being used by peep 'b', peep 'b' can't work due to the full screen popup, still not worked that one out, surely its a background service?
frankly if a printer review doesn't include info on the refillability of the cartridges its a pointless review, since the running costs are a key statistic.
and for 'networkable' still trying to get round a wifi printer, where connecting to that means you loose the net. umm yeah cus thats useful.
Agreed, these are all very valid questions. Safe for No.7 — get a Macintosh ;)
@limitations / Clair Rand
You forgot the comment regarding the printer being "networkable" but not actually working on a network or, at the very least not working on an office network.
Surely an all-in-one would need a separate A4 feed tray?