Tech News on G4

Brotherís Latest Wireless/Cordless MFC Makes Sense

June 16, 2009

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gaziní - G4 Canada

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For the longest time, I thought the most useless item on a fax machine or a multi-function printer (MFC) was the actual phone. It was either a corded handset or just a keypad with no receiver to dial out. Now considering the fax machine is soon to be going the way of the dodo bird – sorry Fred, as a phone into today’s cordless world, mostly of them are now more or less useless.


Enter the Brother MFC-990CW. An ink-jet based 7 in 1 MFC. Yes, It’s a printer, an 8.5”x11” flatbed scanner fax and a copier, but what makes this unit stand out is that it ships standard with a 5.8GHz cordless handset! Finally, something useful - especially if you are tight for real estate. At 46.8 X 37.5 X 18.0 cm, it’s ideal for the small office, dorm room or even the kitchen.

Brother MFC-990CWAt $269 retail, it’s certainly not he cheapest MFC on the market, but it’s certainly packed with a number of gems. In addition to those features mentioned, it uses a 4-colour cartridge system so you need only replace the colours you need; it also has a built-in answering machine, a 15-sheet automatic document feeder; a 4”x6” paper tray and media card slots and a USB 2.0 interface to print pictures without a computer. The MFC-990CW also supports Pictbridge allowing you to print directly from a supported camera.

And did I mention it’s also wireless, supporting 802.11b/g so you can print from anywhere without the nasty cables.

LARGE 4.2” LCD TouchScreen

The unit itself weighs 8.5KG. It’s black and has a nice sleek look to it. It also has a respectably sized 4.2” LCD touch screen display which allows you to easily navigate menus and edit photographs right on the unit.

In practical use, the unit performed without real issue. The specs claim the unit will do 33 pages per minute in black and 27 in colour. I printed some and extrapolated out. I’m not convinced I was able to get the full 33PPM speed, but in reality if I wanted to print that much, I’d probably be better off going to Staples.  What I did print came out nice and sharp but the scanning was not as crisp as what I’ve seen on previous models. I also question whether in 2009 one really needs an answering machine given that dare I say voicemail is still somewhat in vogue.

The ability to edit your photos and save the pain of uploading your pics to your computer is a great feature and the large LCD really does the trick.

It will run both on a PC (Windows 2000, XP & Vista) and a Mac (10.2.4 or higher) and ships with PaperPort 11 for Windows and PageManager for Mac.

Lifetime Support

And should you need help with your Brother, they do offer e-mail and  1-877-Brother technical support for the lifetime of the machine directly from their HQ in Montreal, QC. It’s not 24/7 support– c’est la vie - but they do have extended hours.

Overall, while a handset is certainly not something one would necessarily look at first in selecting an MFC, sometimes a small innovation can make it all worthwhile. And if space, practicality and sleekness are also on your list of things to look for along with wireless and easy photo printing, then you may have found your little black diamond.

It can also make a great Father’s Day gift!


Greg Gazin can be reached at  gadgetguy “at” telus “dot” net Or

About G4 in Canada
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