The Bottom Line
- Can print, scan, copy, fax up to legal size paper
- Built-in wired and wireless networking
- Automatic duplex printing, scanning, faxing
- Fairly fast once it gets going
- Large touchscreen
- Large footprint, and quite heavy
- Despite the touchscreen, still a cluttered interface
- Slow to put out first pages
- Some paper curl
- Color laser printer
- Built-in duplex printing, scanning, faxing
- Fax, copier, scanner
- Up to 300-sheet input capacity plus 50-sheet ADF
- Wired / wireless networking
- 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Ethernet and Hi-Speed USB 2.0
- Built-in USB port
- Up to 30 pages per minute color and black
Guide Review - Brother MFC-9970CDW All-in-One Color Laser Printer
Ok, warnings aside, if you do need a heavy-duty color printer for a small office or workgroup, this is a very good bet. First of all, it comes with a wide array of user-friendly options that are not always found on color laser printers meant for offices, such as a USB port conveniently up front (you can scan directly to USB), a five-inch color touchscreen (which unfortunately handles some but not that many functions--there is a 20-key fax memory keyboard as well as a number keyboard and nine other buttons as well), automatic duplex printing / scanning / faxing, and wired / wireless networking.
How's it perform? Very well, with one caveat: When the printer is not warmed up, first pages out are slow--as much as 30 seconds, and half of that when the printer is warmed up. That's a bit frustrating, but that frustration melted away once the first page was out and subsequent pages were flying out at a rate of almost two seconds per page. For big jobs, you'll forget about any frustration by the time the job is finished.
In terms of quality, there were few noticeable issues. Black text of course looked excellent, as it should for a laser printer. I found that most color prints looked good, though not spectacular, and there was a bit of paper curl even when using paper made for laser printers. That's not so unusual, just a bit annoying. Laser printer paper does tend to flatten after a while, and of course the tremendous July humidity was not helping the situation much.
Other functions worked very well, with no unpleasant surprises. The scanner (as well as the printer and the fax) has an automatic duplex function, which means with a few jabs of the touchscreen you can run your document once through the automatic document feeder (ADF) and scan both sides at once, into two separate documents. That's a tremendous time-saver and I can see how small offices would really benefit from this feature. In my tests I noticed that the ADF didn't always feed my scan perfectly straight, resulting in some slightly skewed results. This was a minor issue and could easily be corrected with the scanning software.
All these wonderful features don't come cheap, and at more than US$600 this printer is going to appeal mostly to those who have a need for speed and who will pay extra for the high-yield toner cartridges that will make this an even better buy.