GCN LAB REVIEW

Brother MFC-9450CDN

PROS: Excellent text-printing quality, good color accuracy.
CONS: Has a little trouble printing words on top of graphics.

Features: A
Ease of use: A
Color accuracy: A-
Text quality: A

30-page black-and-white text print time: 1:34
30-page color print time: 2:01

VALUE: A
PRICE: $649

BROTHER International’s MFC-9450CDN is a slightly tweaked version of the MFP we reviewed for last year’s roundup. It’s nice to see that the company took our concerns about that model to heart. The new 9450 turns in identical print times, but the print engine has obviously been enhanced for color accuracy.

In this report

The GCN Lab tested tests eight multifunction printers suitable for small, midsize and, in at least one case, even large workgroups.

Lead story: Colorful language
HP Color LaserJet CM3530
Oki Data C5550n MFP
HP Color LaserJet CM2320
Brother MFC-9450CDN
Lexmark X872e
Panasonic KX-MC6040
The ink option
Xerox Phaser 6180MFP/N

Last year’s model scored a C for color accuracy — one of the worst in the review. This year, the printer’s performance jumped to an A-minus. In fact, for printing graphics on plain office paper, the 9450 is among the cream of the crop. The only real flaw we found in terms of printing accuracy was the tendency to outline letters printed over graphics. However, that tiny imperfection requires serious study to detect, and it is offset somewhat by the excellent text quality.

Other than some minor deviations with fancy script, which were visible only with magnification, the 9450 prints flawless text. The MFP could be trusted to print your best text documents, even those enhanced with spot color or graphics.

In terms of features, the 9450 doesn’t skimp on the high-end options. It offers walk-up printing capabilities via a USB port, and because the MFP has a nice LCD screen, it’s easy to print from a key drive. When you insert the drive, a list of the files the Brother can print appears in the window. Select your document (which can be JPEG or PDF) and push the print button. It’s that easy. There is also a wireless connection available if you don’t want to physically connect the printer to your network or want to make it accessible for mobile employees so they can print from their laptop PCs or personal digital assistants.

As configured for our testing, the MFC- 9450CDN costs $649 and comes with a 250-sheet paper tray. That’s a bit small for a shared unit, but because the unit’s price is low, you could upgrade to the optional 500-sheet tray and still save thousands of dollars compared to other MFPs in this roundup.

Now that Brother has fixed a few flaws in this model line, the 9450 is a perfect entry-level MFP with many features typically found on much more expensive units. It earns a Reviewer’s Choice designation for our review.

Brother International, 908-704-1700, www.brother.com

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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