The Brother MFC-490CW inkjet multifunction offers both wired and wireless networking for a reasonable price.
- Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity, good colour accuracy
- No automatic duplex, poor print speeds, photo paper tray isn't motorised
The Brother MFC-490CW offers good colour accuracy, but it delivers poor print speeds and has issues with text clarity.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
There are better options on the market than Brother's MFC-490CW multifunction printer, despite it offering accurate colour printing and good network connectivity.
The Brother MFC-490CW's strongest suit is its comprehensive connectivity, with Ethernet and USB ports tucked neatly away under the scanner cover. Wireless connectivity is also available and can be initiated directly from the device. However you cannot use both network interfaces simultaneously.
The Brother MFC-490CW doesn’t offer automatic duplexing or CD/DVD printing, but it does provide an automatic document feeder and media card slots supporting SD, CompactFlash, MemoryStick and xD cards, as well as a PictBridge-capable USB port.
Paper capacity is limited but sufficient for home use, with a front-facing, 100-sheet paper input cassette and a separate 20-sheet photo paper tray. We like the separate trays, as this keeps different sized media separate. The photo tray isn't motorised like the one on the HP Photosmart D5460 and must be moved into position before use.
The Brother MFC-490CW looks fairly similar to any other Brother printer released in the last few years. A tilting 3.3in display sits front and centre on the printer, with fax controls on the left, and copy and menu navigation controls on the right. Users can use quick access buttons to fax, copy, capture photos or scan using various presets. An ink management button takes users straight to cleaning and ink status menus.
Brother quotes speeds of up to 33 pages per minute for mono pages at 450x150 dots per inch and up to 27ppm at 600x150dpi for colour printing. During our tests the Brother MFC-490CW only achieved 16.1 pages per minute while printing mono pages using fastest (draft) setting. Text at this setting was dim and barely readable.
Using the "fast normal" quality setting — which makes the text more readable — this speed dropped to 5.8ppm. Normal quality documents printed at an abysmally slow 3.2ppm. Colour printing isn't any better: draft colour documents printed at 15.5ppm (with the first page out in an average 13.6 seconds). "Fast normal" and normal quality colour documents printed at the same speed as mono documents. These print speeds are very similar to those we saw with the Brother MFC-990CW.
The speed of photo printing was better. Using the normal quality setting, a standard 4x6in photo printed in an average of 17.5 seconds, and an A4 photo printed in 42.3 seconds. These speeds are fairly fast, but the end results aren't as good as some other inkjet printers.
At its best the Brother MFC-490CW produces acceptable quality documents and photos. Standard text documents are readable when using a standard font size, though the printer struggles to print smaller characters without noticeable grain. Printing at larger font sizes also results in a loss of clarity, and character edges tend to become frayed. Colour documents are of decent quality; the Brother MFC-490CW combines text and colour highlights well without sacrificing character clarity. Reds are slightly too saturated and have a "wet ink" look on standard paper.
The colour palette in photos is surprisingly vivid, with accurate yellows and reds. The major flaw was with blacks and colour gradients — we noticed a slight banding issue, along with some pixelation that results from the comparatively low hardware resolution used to print A4 photos. Though the Brother MFC-490CW does an acceptable job, it certainly isn't the best in its field.
Scan quality is somewhat better, and scanning is relatively fast. Images scanned at 600dpi are detailed and largely true to the source image, if slightly light. The scanner is best suited to documents rather than photos, though the results of photo scans are still acceptable.
Genuine Brother consumables for the MFC-490CW are on the cheaper side, and the printer will retain an average running cost of 20.5c per page.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 5 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- Israeli soldiers hit in cyberespionage campaign using Android malware
- Hacker hijacks thousands of publicly exposed printers to warn owners
- Malicious online ads expose millions to possible hack
- San Francisco’s Muni transit system reportedly hit by ransomware
- How to make home IoT more secure: Assume the worst
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- CCNetwork Engineer (cisco)NSW
- TPNodeJS DeveloperNSW
- TPUI/UX ConsultantWA
- TPTechnical ConsultantNSW
- CCLevel 2 IT Service DeskQLD
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)QLD
- FTDatabase DeveloperACT
- CCTest Analysts - MainframeACT
- FTSenior Business AnalystSA
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXQLD
- TPSolution Architect - Real-Time Tracking SystemVIC
- TPSenior IT Business AnalystNSW
- FTFront End DeveloperQLD
- CCSecurity Analyst - multiple rolesACT
- FTSenior Learning Specialist - Global OrganisationQLD
- CCData Engineer (Java/ Data/ Big Data Developer)VIC
- TPTechnical Support Resource-Skype for BusinessVIC
- TPSenior Java Developer - ContractQLD
- FTDevelopment Manager - SaaSQLD
- FTSecurity Solutions Architect - Consultancy - Permanent - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer -NetApp & TSMNSW
- CCProgram ManagerVIC
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperQLD
- FTDigital Sales Account Manager - Global BrandNSW