Setting up the MFC-6890cdw
Like most manufacturers, Brother includes a Quick Setup guide (located by the large START HERE text). The guide shows the basic setup steps: unpack printer, check components, load paper in top drawer, connect power and fax line, install ink, check print alignment, set date and time and set station ID for fax transmissions.
Once you get through these steps, the guide will help with the connection setup. The MFC-6890cdw offers three connection types: USB, wired network (Ethernet) or wireless network. I chose the wireless setup for Windows since thats what I have, but there are also instructions for Mac users.
To set up the MFC-6890cdw, users will need their SSID (network name), the authentication method (Open, WEP, WPA, etc.) and the network key (password). The network setup wizard, under the main menu, network, will take care of the rest. Overall, it’s a fairly basic wireless setup.
Once the MFC-6890cdw is connected, its time to install the drivers and software provided on the CD. Windows 7 users take heart; Brother includes a separate installation CD so setup is easy for you too! Since my computer is still using Windows Vista, I inserted the original driver CD.
The CD takes users through a basic installation wizard (initial installation) where you can choose to install the full driver and software package of MFL-Pro Suite or various pieces. I chose the full package for network setup and only selected a connection type the MFC-6890cdw was set up on. The entire process took about 20 minutes. Beware: users will need to restart their computers before installation of the driver and software will be complete.
Ease of use
Touchscreens have become increasingly popular on printer control panels and the Brother MFC-6890cdw is no exception. The MFC-6890cdw features a 4-inch color touchscreen surrounded by device quick keys, a numerical key pad, and start and stop keys. It’s fairly easy to navigate thanks to intuitive labeling on both the touchscreen and quick keys, and the MFC-6890cdw offers users access to all four devices – photo printing, scanning, copying and faxing – along with settings, status, network connections.
Users can also access the devices through a PC or Mac with Brother’s MFL Pro Suite (Good news Windows 7 users, Brother includes Windows 7 compatiable software with their devices). The MFL Pro Suite includes standard drivers etc. but also consists of the Control Center 3 (CC3), a home page for all the devices available on the MFC-6890cdw. Users can scan, print photos and copy to and from a computer as well as access the PC-Fax tools. Device settings, custom scan settings, and remote setup are also available through the CC3.
I had some trouble using the remote setup because it’s password protected and I couldn’t find the default password. After talking a Brother’s customer system tech, I realized that the password for the remote setup could be found in the network setup guide, not the general setup guide I had been scouring. I typically try to avoid talking to customer service at all costs, but as it turns out, it was more helpful than hurtful.
The MFC-6890cdw lacks built-in scan software. Whether you scan from the printer or use CC3. the printer scans the image directly into a file or email as either an image, text document or PDF. Users can set up the scan-to feature with PaperPort, an included middle man software on the Brother CD, but it still doesn’t have features I’ve seen with other office scan products, like automatic scan separation, which would be nice since the MFC-6890cdw comes with a large 11 x 17 flatbed scanner and can easily scan three 4 x 6 prints at once. But users will have to go and crop photos using other editing software.
I like the 50-sheet ADF for copying, scanning and faxing large documents. Simply slide documents into the ADF and the MFC-6890cdw recgonizes it will be scanning or copying in bulk as opposed to a single sheet on the flatbed. Also, the manual duplex copying feature is a nice touch without adding a duplex scanner. Customers can still copy double sided documents quickly thanks to the quick key.
I had no problem setting up the fax machine or using it. I sent and received faxes from our office and the MFC-6890cdw offers the option of PC-Fax (as mentioned previously), which allows received faxes to be viewed on a computer or outgoing faxes to be scanned to a computer before being sent out. For offices with plenty of outgoing faxes, the MFC-6890cdw offers six speed dial quick keys and a phone book accessed through the touchscreen’s main menu.
All users can access general print settings through the print properties or preferences menu found under their browser or word processer’s print menu.