Brother MFC-9450CDN colour laser MFP

Brother produces another good quality colour laser multifunction printer.

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Brother International (Aust) MFC-9450CDN
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Fast, low purchase price, autoduplexing included

Cons

  • Pale color prints, Lack of detail in color scans

Bottom Line

Brother's MFC-9450CDN offers speed, features, and economy along with tolerable shortcomings. It's well worth considering for a small office that doesn't need high-quality colour graphics.

Would you buy this?

Brother's MFC-9450CDN colour laser multifunction printer juggles speed, features, output quality, and design well enough to be a worthy choice for most small offices or small workgroups. The only people it is likely to disappoint are those who need sophisticated colour imaging.

The MFC-9450CDN performed capably in our speed tests. Brother claims that the unit can print both black-and-white text and colour images as fast as 21 pages per minute — and it came close to that mark for text (20.4 ppm), with perfect-looking output. But its colour graphics performance was much slower 4.9 ppm, and print quality was underwhelming: On plain paper, our test photos looked washed-out and blurry; and on special paper with optimised settings, the colours still had a yellow cast and exhibited moiré patterns. Scans and copies were sometimes a bit too dark but overall they looked good.

The level of colour quality will be adequate for many office users; but if you're more exacting, you should consider the Xerox Phaser 6128MFP, which handled photos better and costs slightly less than brother's colour laser MFP. The MFC-9450CDN has a lot to offer, though we also noticed a few quirks. Among its pluses are an automatic duplexer and a USB/PictBridge port. Augmenting the unit's 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) for scan and copy input, you get a 250-sheet main input tray and a 50-sheet multipurpose tray. An optional 500-sheet paper tray lists for $250. On the control panel, buttons for fax, scan, and copy functions are not grouped — but everything is clearly labelled, so the arrangement is more annoying than confusing.

At this writing, the MFC-9450CDN's toner cartridges are tolerably priced. The high yield cartridges for MFC-9450CDN consist of a 5,000-page black toner cartridge for $171.95 (3.4 cents per page), and three 4000-page colour cartridges for $250.95 each (6.2 cents per colour per page), which works out to a somewhat high four-colour page cost of 22 cents. Standard yield toners can also be bought for a lower cost, but are not as cost effective.

Replacing the toner, though, is no ice cream sundae in the shade: Even with clear instructions, I had to manhandle the cartridge tray release lever to open it. Also, since the bays are not keyed, you might insert the wrong cartridge in the wrong bay — and print bizarrely coloured images. We can't believe that Brother hasn't idiot-proofed this area, though the company says that it has had no complaints and assures us that switching colours won't damage the printer.

Brother's MFC-9450CDN offers speed, features, and economy along with tolerable shortcomings. It's well worth considering for a small office that doesn't need high-quality colour graphics.

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