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Brother MFC-9130CW Review

Fully featured all-in-one, but is slow and lacks duplex printing
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Price:   $350 List
Pros:  Excellent text quality, well designed interface
Cons:  Relatively slow, expensive
Manufacturer:   Brother
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Oct 25, 2016
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 16
  • Text Quality - 25% 9
  • Operating Cost - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7
  • Graphics and Photos - 15% 5
  • Printing Speed - 15% 5

Our Verdict

The Brother MFC-9130CW is an all-in-one color laser printer that can fax, scan, and copy. It provides first-class text quality, reasonable operating costs, produces decent graphics, and has a great touchscreen interface. In many ways it is a more economical, slightly poorer performing version of our Editors' Choice Award winner, the HP Color LaserJet Pro. However, its slow printing speeds and inability to print double-sided pages may dissuade many potential buyers.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Brother MFC-9130CW
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $350 List$400 List
$349.99 at Amazon
$430 List
$349.00 at Amazon
$300 List
Check Price at Amazon
$270 List
$268.90 at Amazon
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Pros Excellent text quality, well designed interfaceExcellent text quality, fast, great interface, easy setupGreat text and graphics quality, great interfaceGreat text and graphics quality, great interfaceExcellent text quality and speed, simple
Cons Relatively slow, expensiveVery large, expensiveCan be expensive, relatively slow for a laserRelatively slow for a laserPoor graphics
Bottom Line Fully featured all-in-one, but is slow and lacks duplex printingA great choice for small offices that print a lot, but overkill for most at home usersGreat balance of functionality and quality for any home officeA great model if you want high end performance and don't need a built-in scannerPerfect if you print a lot of text and don't need wireless connectivity
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Rating Categories Brother MFC-9130CW Brother HL-L8360CDW Color LaserJet Pro... HP Color LaserJet... HP LaserJet Pro...
Text Quality (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Operating Cost (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
6
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
5
Graphics And Photos (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
2
Printing Speed (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
Specs Brother MFC-9130CW Brother HL-L8360CDW Color LaserJet Pro... HP Color LaserJet... HP LaserJet Pro...
Type All-in-one color laser Single function color laser All-in-one color laser Single function color laser Single function monochrome laser
Capabilities Print, Scan, Fax, Copy Print Print, Scan, Fax, Copy Print Print
Resolution (Black) 2400 x 600 2400 x 600 600 x 600 600 x 600 1200 x 1200
Resolution (Color) 2400 x 600 2400 x 600 600 x 600 600 x 600 N/A
Supported Paper Sizes Letter, Legal, Executive, A4, A5, B5 Letter, Envelope, Custom Sizes (3.0-8.5" (w), 5.0-14" (l)), Legal, Executive, A4, A5, A6 A4, A5(L), A5(P), A6, B5, B6, 16k, 10 x 15 cm, Post Cards (JIS); Envelopes (DL, C5, B5) A4, A5(L), A5(P), A6, B5, B6, 16k, 10 x 15 cm, Post Cards (JIS); Envelopes (DL, C5, B5) A4, A5, A6, B5 (JIS), Custom Size, A5-R, B6 (JIS),
Dimensions (excludes extensions) 16.1" x 19.0" x 16.1" 17.4" x 19.1" x 12.3" 16.5" x 16.4" x 12.7" 15.4" x 16.4" x 9.3" 15" x 14.1" x 8.5"
Weight (lbs) 49.6 lb 48.1 lb 35.9 lb 27 lb 18.92 lb
Paper Handling Input (sheets) 250 sheets 300 sheets 150 sheets 150 sheets 250 sheets
Monthly Duty Cycle 30000 sheets 60,000 Sheets 30000 sheets 30000 sheets 80000 sheets
2-Sided Printing No Yes Yes Yes No
Warranty 1 Year Limited 1 Year Limited 1 Year Limited 1 Year Limited 1 Year Limited
Ink Cost per Ream: B/W $10.80 $8.89 $14.46 $14.46 $15.48
Ink Cost per Ream: Color $51.43 $47.63 $56.09 $56.09 N/A
Estimated Lifetime Cost of Ownership $634 $550 $768 $642 $532
Claimed Pages Per Minute 19 33 22 22 40
Measured Pages per Minute: Single-Sided B/W 11 16 14 15 25
Connectivity WiFi, USB 2.0 WiFi, Ethernet, USB 2.0, NFC WiFi, USB 2.0, 10/100/1000 Base-TX Ethernet, Front Host USB WiFi, USB 2.0, 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet, Walkup host USB USB 2.0; 1 Host USB; 1 Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000T network
Operating System Compatability Windows/Mac OS Windows/Mac OS Windows/Mac OS Windows/Mac OS Windows/Mac OS
Google Cloud Print Yes Yes No No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

We found the Brother MFC-9130CW to be a high-performance printer with some room for improvement. Our main complaint was its lack of duplex printing, which is available in its sister model, the Brother MFC-9330CDW.

Performance Comparison



Text Quality


The MFC-9130CW was of the best scorers in our text quality testing, sharing the top score of 9 with two other printers. This was orders of magnitude better than the worst scorer, which received a 3. The MFC-9130CW's text was near perfect with great clarity and clean, smooth edges. It was the sort of high quality text we would expect from a laser printer. It was unable to snag a rare perfect score because it sometimes made small fonts look just a bit light, which was particularly noticeable under our microscope. This is such a minor detail that we feel confident no one will be disappointed with the MFC-9130CW's text quality.

The MFC-9130CW produced top quality text during our testing.
The MFC-9130CW produced top quality text during our testing.

Operating Cost


The MFC-9130CW scored a 6 in our cost testing, putting it towards the front of the pack in a metric that had scores falling between 2 and 7. It prints black at white at the very low rate of about $0.02 per page, or $10.80 per ream of paper. Color printing costs were on the higher side: about $0.10 per page or $51.43 per ream. The MFC-9130CW has an estimated lifetime cost of $535, which isn't particularly expensive for an all-in-one, but certainly isn't cheap either. Though the MFC-9130CW can't match the Editors' Choice Award Winning HP Color LaserJet Pro M281fdw in quality, it does have an estimated lifetime cost that is $110 cheaper.

Ease of Use


The MFC-9130CW scored a 7 in our ease of use testing, putting it towards the top of the scoring in a metric that saw scores ranging from 4 to 9. The large touchscreen control made setup and navigating through functions easy, and a separate number pad facilitated typing in fax numbers. It includes both an automatic document feeder and a bypass tray, so it can handle large scanning jobs and irregular paper stock with ease. Our testers were slightly dismayed by its lack of a flash drive USB port, but the main reason it fell behind the top ease of use scorers was its lack of double-sided printing. It seemed ridiculous to us that a printer of this caliber couldn't print double sided. Brother offers the MFC-9130CDW, which is essentially the same model with automatic duplex printing, but it costs almost $100 more. This lack of double sided printing was a deal breaker for a number of our testers, and may be for many of our readers.

The MFC-9130CW's controls combine a number pad and touchscreen.
The MFC-9130CW's controls combine a number pad and touchscreen.

Graphics/Photos


The MFC-9130CW produced average quality graphics and photos in our testing. It scored a 5 in this test, which had scores between 2 and 7. It had some noticeable pixelation in simple graphics, but not to a distracting degree. In general, lines and bars in graphs had clean edges and bold, solid colors. Photos were also noticeably pixelated, but of a good enough quality and color composition to not be jarring when mixed into a text document. If you're biggest concern is graphics quality then the MFC-9130CW isn't for you, but most users will be satisfied on this front.

The MFC-9130CW was an average performer  in printing text and graphics.
The MFC-9130CW was an average performer in printing text and graphics.

Printing Speed


Besides the lack of duplex printing, speed is the main weak point of the MFC-9130CW. It scored a 5 in this test, putting it close to the bottom in a metric that had scores ranging from 2 to 9. In the cornerstone single sided text page test it clocked a speed of 11 pages per minute, which was well behind the top speed of 25 pages per minute. Printing an 8" x 10" photograph took roughly 2 minutes. As mentioned above, it does not print double sided, so we can't measure its speed in that capacity. This is definitely not the model for you if you value quickness.

Value


The MFC-9130CW has a retail price of $350, and at the time of this writing could be found online for close to $100 less. This is only moderately less expensive than the HP Color LaserJet Pro M281fdw, which offers much better performance. However, the MFC-9130CW has a lower lifetime cost than the HP, so it represents a fairly good value in the long run.

Conclusion


If you can get over the MFC-9130CW's lack of duplex printing and fairly slow print speeds, it is a decent choice for those looking for a fully featured all-in-one at reasonable price.



Max Mutter and Steven Tata