Performance

February 18, 2013 by Sarah Meyer Reads (7,782)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service & Support
    • 6
    • Print Quality
    • 9
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 7
    • Performance / Print Speed
    • 8
    • Features
    • 7
    • Operational Costs
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 7.50
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance

Setting up the MFC-8710dw
The Brother MFC-8710dw comes with a Quick Setup Guide that walks users through the installation process. You’ll be instructed to unpack the printer, prepare the toner cartridge, load paper, connect the fax line and power cord and turn the printer on. Once the printer is on, you can setup the wireless connection, select language, set date and time.

The MFC-8710dw can be set up via a USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. I chose to set up the MFC-8710dw over a wireless connection. Brother allows users to setup a wireless connection by using the included CD and a temporary USB cable or through the control panel on the printer as mentioned previously.

At this point, you can pop in the provided installation CD to download the drivers and software. Select language and hit “install printer driver”. The wizard will automatically begin, but users will need to confirm the connection type and select the printer on the network. Once the installation is complete, users can use the CD to search for software updates and use the network correction repair tool.

For advanced users, you can install additional drivers and utilities using the provided installation CD; I just went with the basic installation package for the purposes of this review.  After the installation, you will have to restart your computer.

Ease of Use
Like the previous generations before it, the MFC-8710dw comes with the MFL Pro Suite with features the Control Center 4 (CC4) and access to the Brother Creative Center.

The CC4 users can choose between a basic “home” version and the more “advanced” version. Brother says the advanced version offers all the features of the home version plus the ability to configure settings and store them.  But I actually liked using the Home version better when scanning because like being able to get a preview of my scan in the software.

Both modes of CC4 offer basic scan, photo, PC copy and PC fax software as well as device settings, troubleshooting and support.

The scan software lacks some high end features – such as auto image scan – but it gets the job done. The default setting for the MFC-8710dw opens the image in Windows Photo Viewer if scanning from the printer or using CC4 Advanced (CC4 Home will bring up a preview, then you save it or open it), but users can change the scan settings so that the images are automatically scanned into their preferred secondary software (PaperPort, Photoshop, etc.). The default setting varies if you scan-to OCR, email or file, but the target application can be changed just the same.


Advanced Control Center 4

The MFC-8710dw will use the default CC4 settings if you chose to scan directly from the printer.  You can select where you want the scan sent (to PC, Email, OCR), but to change scan settings, you’ll have to open CC4.


Home Control Center 4

I had no problem receiving or sending faxes with the MFC-8710dw.  While it’s easy to fax directly from the printer thanks to the 10 presets, PC fax is an interesting secondary option. Users can send images saved on their PC or scan an image to their PC to be edited and then send it as a fax to a client or customer using the PC fax option in the CC4.

Brother includes a front side USB port on the MFC-8710dw and users can print or scan PDF and JPEGs but you still won’t have access to word documents.

Since I connected the MFC-8710dw via a network, I can manage the device via an embedded web server. The home page can be seen by anyone and includes real time status updates and data information.  

But for administrators, the embedded web server adds additional functionality including access to all the devices, network set up and security. One of the new things Brother has added (at least since our last Brother MFP review) is the Secure Function Lock.  Administrators can assign ID number or names to individual employees and give them a Pin to access certain features such as print, USB print, copy, fax and scan. Employees can also be given a page limit to make sure they aren’t abusing their privileges.

You can also restrict users PC print access with the PC Print Restriction. Only users with login names will be allowed to print to the MFC-8710dw.

Users can also access the MFC-8710dw by selecting the device in the Devices and Printers menu or through their browsers by selecting print properties/preferences menu.

Individual employees can use the Secure Print feature to print confidential or sensitive documents/materials by opening the print properties/preference menu, selecting the advanced tab and clicking Secure Print. It will ask for you to set a password and the data is sent (but not printed) to the device under the default computer name. However, you can also select a username and document name if you needed.

When you have time to get to the MFC-8710dw, press the Secure Print quick key and select the computer name or username you chose and the job you want to print. Enter your password, select print and then choose how many copies of your document you’d like and the MFC-8710dw gets to work.

Print Speed and Quality Tests
The Brother MFC-8710dw lists print speeds up to 40 ppm in the spec sheet and I found that to be spot on during our print testing.

The MFC-8710dw printed an 80-page black and white text document in two minutes with an average print speed of 40 ppm and a first page out in about 8 seconds.

Print speeds were identical in toner saver mode but they slowed down when printing double-sided documents. The MFC-8710dw printed a double-sided page in about 12 seconds with print speeds of 11 ppm (22 pages double sided).


MFC-8710dw normal print sample, left, MFC-8710dw draft print sample, right

Quality-wise, the MFC-8710dw did a good job in the general printing mode. The text was dark and easy to read with no noticeable breaks or waves. The toner saver mode wasn’t much different from the general print mode (see below) so you probably won’t conserve a ton of toner, but on the plus side, you can print almost any document in toner saver mode and still feel good about them.

No paper jams to report which was nice because that has been an issue on previous models.


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