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Brother MFC-9560CDW Review: Speed, Wireless, and Affordable Toner

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Oki MC561 Color MFP

    PCWorld Rating

Brother MFC-9560CDW color laser multifunction printer
The Brother MFC-9560CDW color laser multifunction printer is a well-rounded print/scan/copy/fax model for small workgroups. Costing just $650 (as of July 18, 2011), it offers many features and capabilities that similarly priced models don't, including good speed, standard Wi-Fi, and, best of all, inexpensive toner. For mainstream users, those attributes may outweigh the MFP's shortcomings in print and scan quality.

Brother provides detailed paper-installation instructions, and the included CD walks you through the process clearly. Further documentation is available online or in PDF form on the CD. In addition to the expected USB and ethernet, the MFC-9560CDW has Wi-Fi connectivity, which is still pretty rare among color laser MFPs.

The machine includes a 250-sheet main input tray and a 50-sheet multipurpose tray. An optional 500-sheet input tray costs $250 from Brother, but I found lower prices online. The MFC-9560CDW prints and scans in duplex (two-sided), the latter through the 35-sheet automatic document feeder. The 150-sheet output tray is adequately sized, but an unfortunate characteristic of many of these MFPs is that the tray has to huddle underneath the control panel and the letter/A4 scanner platen, making output a bit hard to reach--or maybe I'm just paranoid about putting my hand into small, dark openings.

The slanted front control panel sports clearly labeled and organized buttons, with a five-line, monochrome, backlit LCD for showing menu options. A default setting that causes the MFP to beep loudly every time you press a button can be adjusted or disabled. You'll also find a front USB port.

In our speed tests, the MFC-9560CDW distinguished itself with above-average or better times. Printing mostly plain text with a few simple grayscale graphics, it posted an impressive rate of 15 pages per minute on the PC and basically the same result on the Mac (14.9 ppm). Snapshot-size photos printed from the PC at above-average rates (3 ppm overall). One of our hardest tests, a high-resolution, full-size color photo printed on the Mac, exited at an outstanding rate of 1.5 ppm. PDF prints, as well as copies and scans, were also fast.

The output quality doesn't quite measure up to the speed, but it is adequate for everyday use. Text and monochrome copies looked good. Color images had a yellowish and sometimes grainy or blotchy quality, but for mainstream use such output would be adequate. Color scans disappointed us the most, looking very dark.

The MFC-9560CDW ships with standard-size supplies. Replacement costs are pleasingly affordable. The standard-size black costs $63 and lasts 2500 pages, or 2.5 cents per page. Each 1500-page color costs $70, or 4.7 cents per page. A four-color page would cost 16.7 cents. The high-yield supplies are even better, totaling 1.9 cents per page for black (the $117 cartridge last 6000 pages) and 3.6 cents per color, per page (each $125 cartridge lasts 3500 pages). A four-color page would cost a low 12.7 cents.

The Brother MFC-9560CDW offers a good balance of speed and features, plus tolerable output quality, for a good midrange price. The like-priced Samsung CLX-6220FX is neither as fast nor as well equipped, and its toner is costlier. If you want just a few more bells and whistles, consider the $700 Brother MFC-9970CDW, which adds a legal-size scanner and a color touchscreen LCD to the mix.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Fast output, economical toner, and Wi-Fi are the highlights of this small-office and workgroup model. Photo quality is acceptable.

    Pros

    • Wireless networking
    • Cheap toner

    Cons

    • Dark scan quality
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