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Hands-on Gear Review

Brother MFC-L2740DW Review

Price:   $300 List | $199.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive for an all-in-one, low operating costs
Cons:  Relatively poor printing quality
Bottom line:  Fairly economical choice if you need an all-in-one and print in high volumes
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Brother

Our Verdict

The Brother MFC-L2470DW is an all-in-one monochrome laser that combines printing, scanning, copying, and faxing capabilities. It renders high quality text, has fairly low operating costs, and a list price that is reasonable considering its multi-functionality. This is a good option for someone who needs the versatility of an all-in-one, does not want to shell out the extra money for our Editors' Choice Award winner, and doesn't mind making some small sacrifices in printing speed and graphics quality.


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Score Product Price Our Take
71
$430
Editors' Choice Award
Great balance of functionality and quality for any home office
70
$300
Top Pick Award
A great model if you want high end performance and don't need a built-in scanner
67
$350
Fully featured all-in-one, but is slow and lacks duplex printing
64
$270
Top Pick Award
Perfect if you print a lot of text and don't need wireless connectivity
62
$400
Great long term investment if you see high printing volumes in your future
57
$300
Fairly economical choice if you need an all-in-one and print in high volumes
57
$300
Great value if you frequently print in color and need an all-in-one
55
$120
Best Buy Award
Good performance, inexpensive operating costs, and a low list price
49
$180
Inexpensive, but high ink costs quickly make it uneconomical
48
$150
Best Buy Award
A great choice for someone who prints occasionally but wants a versatile machine for when the need arises
46
$170
Very fast considering its price, but few other advantages
45
$100
Tempting low list price, but high ink prices/inefficient ink use negate any savings

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter


Last Updated:
Tuesday
October 25, 2016

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Criteria for Evaluation


This chart displays the Brother MFC-L2740DW's overall performance in our testing to that of the other printers we bought and tested.


Below we discuss the MFC-L2470DW's performance in each one of our tests.

Text Quality


The MFC-L2470DW scored a 5 on our text quality test. This made it decidedly mediocre, as scores in this metric fell between 3 and 8. Characters produced by the MFC-L2470DW looked somewhat inconsistent. Most areas looked dark and bold, but they were interspersed with tiny white blotches that reduced the overall clarity, This text was still much crisper than the lower scoring models, but lacked some of the precision of text from the top scorers.

Text produced by the MFC-L2740DW lacked some of the precision we would have expected from a monochrome laser.
Text produced by the MFC-L2740DW lacked some of the precision we would have expected from a monochrome laser.

Operating Cost


The MFC-L2470DW garnered a 7 in our cost testing. This put it on the top step of the podium, along with two other printers, and well distanced from the low score of 2. This was mostly due to its economical use of ink, producing black and white documents at about $0.03 per page or $12.92 per ream of paper. The MFC-L2470DW also has a fairly low retail price, which gave it a reasonable estimated lifetime cost of $425. This was one of the most inexpensive lifetime costs we calculated, and was far and away the lowest for an all-in-one printer.

Ease of Use


The MFC-L2470DW picked up a 5 in our ease of use testing. This put it towards the bottom of a metric that had scores ranging from 4 to 9. It was easy to set up USB printing, but our testers had some issues with initial setup of the wireless connectivity. After much troubleshooting we ended up resetting our wifi networks a couple of times and finally it connected. This was a last ditch effort, as resetting the wifi network was not suggested in the user manual or in our numerous calls to the customer service line. This is where the MFC-L2470 lost most of its ease of use points. Otherwise, the MFC-L2470DW's interface was fairly well designed. The large touchscreen makes for easy navigation of all the printing and scanning capabilities, and Brother's web connected apps. There is even a nifty setting that allows you to easily scan both sides of a licence or other ID card and print both on the same sheet of paper. It also includes a bypass tray for printing odd stock, and an up to 35 page automatic document feeder. Surprisingly, it lacks a dedicated USB port for printing directly from a flash drive. We found this absence on on a model as featured as the MFC-L2470DW. Like most of the all-in-ones we tested, we found the MFC-L2470DW to be well designed and pleasant to use if you don't mind connecting via a USB cable, but it was particularly ornery if connecting via wifi.

The MFC-L2740DW's touchscreen is well designed.
The MFC-L2740DW's touchscreen is well designed.

Graphics/Photos


Being a black and white laser printer, you can't expect much from the MFC-L2470DW in terms of graphics and photo quality. Unsurprisingly it scored a 4 in our testing, putting it towards the bottom of a metric that had scores ranging from 2 to 7. It performed better than the other monochromes lasers, but that is about all that can be said for it. Simple graphics had a decent quality, but still looked quite pixelated and blurry around the edges when compared to color models. Photos had poor resolution with many noticeable print lines breaking up the image. Overall the MFC-L2470DW would be acceptable for occasional graphics, but its lack of quality would be distracting if you often print documents with multiple photos.

Printing Speed


The MFC-L2470DW scored a 7 in our printing speed testing. This represented an average score in a metric that saw scores falling between 2 and 9. It printed at a rate of 18 pages per minute in the all important single sided text document test. This fell between the low and high speeds of 6 and 25 pages per minute. Its speed was cut in half to 9 pages per minute when printing double sided. Unless printing speed is your main concern, you won't be disappointed by the pace of the MFC-L2470DW.

The MFC-L2740DW's monochrome laser printing technology is not optimized for graphics and text.
The MFC-L2740DW's monochrome laser printing technology is not optimized for graphics and text.

Value


The MFC-L2470DW lists for $300 and, at the time of this writing, could be found online for up to $100 less. This is relatively cheap for an all-in-one model. However, you do make sacrifices in comparison to other all-in-ones in terms of ease of use and graphics quality. Because of these sacrifices, we feel the MFC-L2470DW is an average value.


Conclusion


The MFC-L2470DW is a reasonably priced all-in-one that is relatively economical in the long run. If you're looking for the full functionality of an all-in-one and are on a budget this is a decent choice. However, spending a little bit more can get you the much better graphics quality and color printing of the HP Color LaserJet Pro M277dw.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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