Setting up the MFC-9325cw
The setup for the MFC-9325cw is fairly straight forward with the usual steps: unpack, load toner cartridges, plug in and turn on, set date and time info, set fax info (if you are using the fax machine), load paper and choose your connection.
The MFC-9325cw can be set up over a wireless, wired or USB connection. If you choose wireless – which I did – again you’ll have multiple options. You can set up your wireless connection via a USB cable and the provided CD or you can manually set up the wireless connection using the control panel. I chose the manual option since Brother does not provide a USB cable.
Make sure you know what type of wireless connection you have and then run the setup wizard. The MFC-9325cw will automatically list all available networks; then select your network, connection type, encryption type and punch in your password. Once the MFC-9325cw is connected, the one line LCD will light up as Connected.
From here, pop in the CD to install the MFL Pro Suite. You will have options to select all the software or pieces based on your needs. At the end of the installation, you will need to restart your computer.
Ease of Use
The control panel for the MFC-9325cw is the same as the one we saw on the MFC-9320cw so I wasn’t too worried about difficult navigation since I knew Brother includes a hard copy of their user’s guide in the initial packaging with a fully functional index.
The first thing I did was turn off the beeper, which the machine has set to ‘loud’ by default. It was set the exact same way before and I still thought it was too loud. If you like having a beeping noise every time you touch a key, I suggest at least turning it to a lower volume.
I did like that Brother kept the guided number series. All you do is hit menu, then a series of numbers to bring up your desired functionality. For instance, to turn off the beeper you would hit menu, then 1, 3, 2 on the numerical key pad. Then use the arrow keys to choose high, med or off. If users prefer, they can still navigate the menus solely through the arrow keys but I found the number approach to be a great time saver with a one line display. It would be very resourceful to leave a list of popular numerical codes for employees to save everyone time.
The primary functions on the standalone side are fax, scan or copy and each has its own quick keys. There are eight speed dial keys for saving fax numbers most often used and several quick keys for each device bypassing the navigation system. My favorite is the secure print key making it easy for users to print confidential items without worrying that someone without clearance will see the document. Direct print with a USB flash drive is another good one.
The MFC-9325cw comes with the Control Center 3 for scanning, copying, faxing, printing photos, or controlling device settings from the control center. If you’ve use a Brother product in the past, you’ve most likely used this software. Whether you prefer the modern skin display or the classic display, you’ll find the same options.
The scan option includes multiple scan-to capabilities. Choose to scan your job as an image or text and then save it to a file, send it to a preset program to be edited or attach it to an e-mail. Users can save their four favorite customized jobs in Control Center 3.
Scan times were good; scanned images are opened in a separate editing program (you can change the default). Scan-to e-mail is fairly easy to use if you have Microsoft Outlook as your default e-mail. I didn’t try using it via another e-mail provider.
The PC-Fax option allows users to send faxes, view received faxes through PaperPort (which is included in the software package) saves commonly used addresses, and control fax settings directly from your computer through Control Center 3.
I sent and received faxes using the fax-only mode so that the printer automatically picks up and uses the manual mode where I had to pick up each call/fax. Users using a telephone line as both a fax line and a phone line will have no problems using the MFC-9325cw thanks to a bevy of fax options including: fax forwarding, fax storage, and auto dialing.
For users not interested in the CC3 software, you can still access the MFC-9325cw via a PC or Mac if you set up the device over a network via the embedded web service. The web server setup is nearly identical to what we’ve seen on previous models and includes both basic pages that can be seen by anyone and pages that can be locked for administration purposes, etc.
The basic pages include a home page with real time status updates and data information. There is also a Maintenance Information page and Lists/Reports.
On the MFC-9325cw, there are seven other pages that can be locked. Printer Settings, General Setup, Fax Settings, USB Direct I/F and Copy Settings fall under the Green Key while Administrator Settings and Network Configuration fall under the Red Key. With the key pages, admins can determine who gets rights to which areas. The default passwords are found by selecting either key until they are changed by the admin.
Users can also access print settings through the print properties or preferences menu located under your word document or browser’s print menu. Get status updates with the MFC-9325cw Status Monitor.
Print Speed and Quality Tests
Speed wise, the MFC-9325cw performed as advertised with print speeds as fast as 19 ppm in both black and color and a first page out in as fast as 15 seconds. I found no recognizable difference in speed when printing in toner saver mode; the device was very consistent when printing in any mode. The MFC-9325cw does not offer automatic duplexing so there weren’t any speed comparisons there.
I thought the overall quality of the MFC-9325cw was good. The text output was excellent with sharp, dark text and it did a great job with graphics, charts, clip art, etc. where the image was not an actual photo taken with a camera. Obviously, if you are looking for photographic images from a printer, you might want to consider an inkjet or dye sub printer.
The MFC-9325cw offers a toner saver mode with more of a dark gray text then a solid black. Still reasonably easy on the eyes, it would be good for less important documents, reports, faxes, etc. You can set up the toner saving mode via the Ecology menu on the control panel or through the advanced menu in printer properties.
As you can see from all the samples above, the scanner adds some noise to the images in color and in black and white. I was a bit disappointed in the quality of the scans.