With fast print speeds and high-quality output, the Brother MFC-8370DN is a good choice for small workgroups.
Fast; excellent print quality; low running costs; duplex unit.
Low-capacity auto-document feeder; noisy; poor colour-to-mono copying.
The Brother MFC-8370DN is a multi-function mono laser aimed at small workgroups, offering print, scan, copy and fax features.
Its two-toned grey and black chassis isn't the most aesthetically pleasing we've seen, but it does feel fairly sturdy. The front control panel is home to no fewer than 42 buttons along with a small, two-line LCD screen. The display is backlit and therefore easy to read, but it's also very small, which makes the menu system fiddly to navigate.
A 250-sheet input tray sits at the bottom of the printer. Open the front panel, and an additional 50-sheet multi-purpose tray is revealed. Print jobs emerge from the slot located just underneath the control panel, while an auto-document feeder sits at the very top.
Businesses keen to keep costs down will be pleased to hear that the MFC-8370DN also features an automatic duplex unit, which allows for two-sided printing.
Our installation experience was soured slightly by having to download the Windows 7 drivers from the Brother web site, but the set-up process was otherwise straightforward.
The printer can be attached to a single PC via USB, or made available to a network using the 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, but there's no built-in wireless. A second front-access USB port is also provided, allowing for quick document printing direct from a USB key.
On our first few test prints we were concerned to see small patches of smeared toner on the pages. However, these disappeared after the printer had churned through 10 or so sheets, and from then on the MFC-8370DN managed to produce constituently crisp text with sharp, defined edges. One minor complaint is that, after being passed through the imaging unit, pages tend to suffer from excessive curling at the edges.
When supplied with a standard page of text, the copy function results in perfectly acceptable results. However, it struggles to maintain detail levels when producing mono copies from colour documents, and darker shades simply come out looking jet black.
As far as scan quality goes, the MFC-8370DN performs adequately, although in our tests colours looked a little washed out. Scans can also be sent to recipients via email or to an FTP site.
Replacement toner is available in standard cartridges offering 3,000 pages for £71, and high-capacity cartridges offering 8,000 pages for £114, resulting in running costs of 2.4p and 1.4p per page respectively. The only other consumable is the drum unit, which needs to be replaced every 25,000 pages and will set you back £142.
Thankfully, Brother has resisted the temptation to supply the MFC-8370DN with a low-capacity starter cartridge, and ships it with the standard 3,000 page version.
As far as print speeds go, the MFC-8370DN is no slouch. Once the first page is out of the way, which takes eight seconds from standby or 25 seconds from cold, we measured subsequent pages at 28ppm. Switch on the automatic duplex feature and speeds obviously drop, but at 14ppm it's still pretty quick.
The auto-document feeder is also fast, and our five-page test document took just 21 seconds to copy. However, the feeder can only cope with 20 pages at a time, which limits its appeal.
The Brother MFC-8370DN is a little noisier than we'd like, especially when the auto-document feeder is in action, and doesn't do a great job of creating mono copies of colour documents, but overall it impresses.
Print and copy speeds are good, text quality is excellent and, if you opt for the high-capacity cartridge, running costs are extremely low. At £380, it's a decent multi-purpose printer for small workgroups.