Saturday, April 25, 2015

Printer review: Brother MFC-240C All-In-One Printer

The Brother MFC-240C is an all-in-one printer, capable of being used as a printer, scanner, copier, or fax machine. It comes with an automatic document feeder, which allows you to scan, copy, or fax a stack of up to 10 pages at one time. The MFC-240C connects to your computer via an included USB cable. It prints at standard low-volume speeds of up to 25 pages per minute in black and white, and up to 20 pages per minute in color.

The ink cartridges (an individual one for each color) are easy to replace, and are comparable to ink cartridges of other models in price. Because it uses individual cartridges, you can save money by not having to replace an entire color ink cartridge when only one color is out. The machine will let you know when ink for a particular color is running low, so you'll have some warning before it's completely used up. When you replace any of the ink cartridges, the printer will automatically detect the new cartridge. There is also a self-cleaning feature which you can use if your copies or prints start to look smeared or dirty. One downside to the MFC-240C, that many other printers share, is that when one ink cartridge is out of ink, the printer won't print at all, even if the ink cartridge that's empty is a color cartridge and you only want to print in black and white, so it's a good idea to keep an extra set of cartridges on hand.

The machine doesn't jam very often, and when it does it's often user error. It doesn't handle very thick paper well -- because it has to bend it so much to feed it through the paper path -- but it prints envelopes and labels reliably (as long as the envelope flap isn't sticking up).  The document feeder can hold a small stack of papers, but if the pages are of different consistencies, or they tend to stick together, the feeder may not feed all the pages reliably.  You can also scan and copy off the glass, anything 8.5" x 11" or smaller.

When there is a paper jam, it can be a pain to clear it. Depending on where the paper got stuck, you can either remove the paper tray to get to the jammed paper, or pull it out through the exit area. If it's stuck right in the middle of the feed path, you can remove the rear cover (which pops right off) to get to it. Getting the paper out usually isn't hard, but the machine doesn't always recognize when the jam has been cleared, and quite often you have to turn the printer off and back on (resetting your print job) to clear the jam.

The MFC-240C has one paper tray, which holds up to 50 sheets of regular 20-pound 8.5" x 14" or smaller paper. The feed system is comprised of one feed roller and a friction pad, and both the roller and pad will last a very long time (years, with moderate use) before needing to be cleaned or replaced.

The MFC-240C comes with its own drivers and Brother's comprehensive software suite, called the Control Center, which allows you to set different options (such as what type of file you want scanned images to be saved as) and also control various functions from your PC. Along with the Control Center, the setup CD also comes with several fonts you can install on your computer. The scanning function is versatile, and allows you to scan to a file, an image, or an email (with proper setup).  You can scan in either black and white or color.  Scanning can be configured with different options depending on which type of scanning you are doing, and you can initiate scanning either from the PC or from the printer.

This printer does not have the capability to do double-sided (duplex) copying or printing. It also lacks an Ethernet port for TCP/IP connectivity, so you can only connect it to one computer at a time using USB, though you can share it out to other computers (as long as the computer it's connected to remains powered on.) The operation panel is very small, and can only show a little bit of text at a time, but it provides good description for whatever function you are using, as well as when anything is wrong (such as an empty ink cartridge, paper jam, or lack of paper).

The MFC-240C is a robust, full-featured multifunction printer that ranks above average compared to other similar models on the market. The user interface is easy to learn, and the machine's multiple functions work well and integrate seamlessly with your computer.

(Originally posted on, August 2009)

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