New colour printers and multifunction devices offer more speed and features for larger businesses.
Building on its strength in the small and home office market, Brother moved into what it calls the professional market (for small and mid-sized businesses) last year. It's now adding to its existing monochrome range with a new series of colour laser printers and all-in-one devices.
The six new models all use the same new print engine, which is rated at 31ppm in colour or monochrome, and 5,555 pages per month.
Many of the features of these devices offer greater convenience for users and administrators – including high paper capacity with up to six 250 or 500 sheet trays, and fax/scan feeders that take up to 80 sheets and operate at up to 50ppm with single-pass double-sided scanning. All models send low-paper alerts across the network.
Toner cartridges are said to be good for up to 9,000 pages, and the all-in-ones are able to scan or fax while a print job is in progress.
The touchscreen interface is customisable, with changes made on the device itself or from a computer. A mass deployment tool allows administrators to quickly configure multiple devices at once.
Software support for mobile devices (Android and iOS) is provided, and the all-in-ones work with and popular cloud storage services including Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.
An unusual feature for printers in this price range is NFC support that not only simplifies use with certain mobile devices but also helps with secure printing as well as simplifying scanning. Users can register an existing NFC card (not necessarily one that's company issued – a Myki or Opal travel card or a credit/debit card will work), then touch it to the printer to release their waiting print jobs. If there's nothing to be printed, another action is triggered, such as scanning to a preset destination for that user (such as their folder on a fileserver).
The high performance of the new family is achieved by a design that uses two separate processors, one for the RIP (raster image processor, the part of a printer that generates the pattern of dots that are to be transferred to the page) and one for the other tasks.
The six new models are the HL-L8260CDW ($449, no touchscreen or NFC, lower-capacity toner cartridges), HL-L8360CDW ($699, 6.8cm touchscreen, medium capacity cartridges) and HL-9310CDW (6.8cm touchscreen, high-capacity cartridges, 1GB of memory) printers; and the corresponding MFC-L8690CDW ($799, 9.3cm touchscreen), MFC-L8900CDW ($1099, 12.6cm touchscreen) and MFC-L9570CDW (17.6cm touchscreen).
Brother does not quote prices for the HL-9310CDW and MFC-L9570CDW as they are sold exclusively through its partner network.