Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New All-in-One Small Office Printer

Brother Philippines is running a trade-in promo this Jan 27 to Feb 11, 2011. Since we've been looking at getting a multi-function printer for the home office, we grabbed the MFC-8380DN all-in-one scanner/printer/copier/fax unit. From an SRP of P25k, I just traded in my old/non-working Brother HL-2040 and got a 50% discount. The net price came out P12,495 and 6-months installment via credit card with zero interest! Its a steal!

The unit is huge. Definitely not your typical home printer. It comes with a huge paper tray; a multi-purpose tray for paper of odd-sizes (eg. letter envelope, thick paper), and an automatic document feeder (ADF) on top for scanning or faxing multiple pages. The front panel is pretty intuitive. There are 3 main buttons - Fax, Scan or Copy. So far, I've mainly been using it for scanning since my old Samsung monochrome laser is still functional.

The 8380DN is network-ready. It has an ethernet port at the back which I connected straight to our ethernet switch. It can work standalone without a PC attached to it. Its practically a PC by itself with its own operating system. This model has a web server that allows you to remotely manage and configure the unit through a standard browser. It has an FTP client software that lets it send the document you scan into an FTP server over the network.

The 8380DN can also work with CIFS/SMB file storage systems (and this is the part I love most). Since I recently installed a home file server, it sends all my scans directly to the storage folder in PDF or JPEG depending on the profile you choose. The scanning quality is great -- way much better than my (really) old Benq flatbed. This unit has both a flatbed for small pieces of documents. You can also use the ADF for scanning multiple pages. The ADF can accommodate up to 20 pages.

The following are some of the nifty features that I really like about the unit:
  1. Duplex Printing - you can print back-and-front on the same piece of paper without having to flip it. Gone are the days when you had to print all the odd pages first; flip the stack of paper; print all the even pages at the back. By setting printing to duplex mode, the printer takes care of flipping the paper and printing back and front.
  2. Duplex Scanning - this allows you to scan documents with front-and-back print without having to manually flip them one-by-one. The ADF takes care of flipping the pages and scanning them both sides!
  3. Scan-to-Network - scanning is supported from 100 dpi to 600 dpi with output format in JPEG, TIFF or PDF format.
  4. Direct Print - if you have a PDF or JPEG file in a USB flash drive that you want to print, there is no more need to connect the drive onto a PC and print from the PC. You just stick the drive directly to the USB slot in front of the printer. You can then navigate the small LCD screen to print the document that you want from the drive.
  5. Scan-to-USB - similar to Direct Print, you can also scan directly to a USB flash drive. Just stick in your drive and do a scan. Output is sent directly to the flash drive without having to go through a PC.
  6. PC Fax - any of our PC can now send a fax by just using the PC Fax printer driver. The software takes care of routing it to the 8380DN and faxing it from there.

The unit is remarkably quiet. It just sits there quietly at our den with hardly any hum. The blue light is always on though. I don't know how to turn it off even if it goes to sleep.

After reading the docs, it looks like the higher model 88xx is even more interesting. It has SMTP support which allows you to do things like forward your fax to email (or scan to email?). But at P12.5k, I'm pretty happy with this one already.

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