At a Glance
Standing 21.8 inches tall and weighing about 40 pounds, the MFC-8840DN is smaller and lighter than most other laser MFPs we tested for our July 2005 roundup. Its simple, well-conceived front panel holds one-touch buttons for faxing, scanning, and copying. A phone pad lets you dial fax numbers, a speed-dial pad accommodates up to 40 fax numbers, and a large LCD reports on the unit's status and helps you navigate through myriad options.
The MFC-8840DN printed text at 15.5 pages per minute--the second-best mark posted by a member of the current crop of laser MFPs. The unit also printed graphics speedily, at 7 ppm. Its scan speeds, however, were unremarkable: The MFC-8840DN took 24.3 seconds to scan a 4-by-5-inch photograph at 100 dots per inch.
Like almost every other laser MFP in our tests, the MFC-8840DN printed dark, razor-sharp text. And it is the only MFP in the group to earn a Very Good score for its printed grayscale graphics, which showed smooth transitions, good contrast, and fine detail. Color scans were impressive, too, garnering a rating of Very Good. Copies of a text document looked close in quality to the original.
Using the unit's scan button and LCD menu, you can scan to e-mail or to the bundled PaperPort application, or save a scan as an image file.
Setting up the 8840DN over a network was similar to setting it up via USB. I installed the driver directly onto a client PC; from there, the setup app automatically installed the printer, scanner, and fax drivers along with the same software you get with a local connection. By typing the IP address you've assigned to the MFP in a standard browser, you can access the 8840DN's Web server, where you can handle an array of tasks. For example, you can view usage reports on fax transmission and activity, auto dialing, fax verification, fax forwarding, and notification.
From this same page you can obtain maintenance information about the toner and drum, pages printed and scanned, paper jams, and device status. As an administrator, you can also set and change passwords, and configure ports and network addresses (such as TCP/IP, Netware, DLC, AppleTalk, NetBIOS, POP3/SMTP) via the Web interface.
The MFC-8840DN comes with 32MB of memory, expandable to 160MB. It can hold 300 sheets of letter- or legal-size paper; and for $140 more, you can add a 250-sheet paper tray.
Lots of office-oriented features, quick performance, and high-quality printing make the MFC-8840DN a great workhorse for busy offices.