I was shopping around for all-in-one printer, to replace an old HP DeskJet 6127 Color Printer inkjet printer and an even older HP LaserJet 6p. I wanted an all-in-one with fax, print, copy, scan and built-in duplex with networking support for scan to PC and fax from PC. For some reason, the HP inkjet AIO printers do not support faxing from the PC (their laser printers do, but not the inkjet printers). They also are pretty horribly reviewed. So, even though I generally love HP printers, they were ruled out.
After a lot of research, I selected the Epson Artisan 810 All-In-One Printer. Set it up, connected it, and started doing some test prints. The quality was pretty awful compared to my ancient HP Deskjet, using the same paper. We decided to send it back, because we just couldn't put up with that bad text and dim image quality.
After some more thinking, I decided to keep the old inkjet for my color printing needs, and get a black & white laser multifunction printer. The Brother MFC-8890DW fit the bill, at a not unreasonable price. I was able to read all of the manuals at the Brother website and be certain that it could do everything I wanted. We especially liked the ability to copy, scan and fax from double-sided originals via the automatic document feeder - a lot of duplex devices only support duplex for output, not input. Additionally, the ability to work with legal-sized media was a bonus, as I'm going to law school next fall.
When the device arrive, I noticed a very nice, thoughtful thing Brother had done. When you open the boxes of most components, there are little diagrams telling you how to unpack the device. Brother, on the other hand, included instructions on how to re-pack the device. Since we tend to keep packing materials and reuse them when we move, this was a very nice touch.
The setup instructions were very clear, with step-by-step instructions for USB, parallel, wired and wireless networking setup split out, as well as Windows and MacOS software installations split out. There are also detailed instructions on setting up your fax line, depending on what other devices you have on that phone line and other things like distinctive-ring. Setting up the device was absolutely trivial - everything worked exactly as shown in the manual. The most complicated part of the setup was keying in my WPA-PSK code, which uses a mix of upper- and lower-case letters and symbols. Input is via a form of multi-tap input, which is probably trivial for texting young folk, but I prefer alphanumeric keypads. But it worked right the first time.
Software installation on Windows XP SP3 was also straightforward. The CD that comes with the device has support up to Vista, but there are Windows 7 drivers and a complete software package on the Brother website. The Brother Status Monitor application started up and asked if I wanted to monitor for firmware updates, which I did. It immediately found an update and took me to the Brother support site to download it. Installing the update went completely smoothly. The device beeps a lot while the update is in progress, but that's the only annoyance.
Another nice thing Brother does is to support testing your fax configuration by faxing back your registration form. After you fax it to them, you will receive a fax confirmation back from them. No need to go bother a friend to test your fax. Nice touch.
The printer is blazingly fast, even with duplex printing. The quality is quite good, but not the very best I've ever seen. There's a HQ 1200dpi mode available, which shows marked improvement on printed images. I've use dedicated HP laser printers for the last couple of decades, and they have better print quality. But the Brother's output is excellent.
Every feature I've tested works perfectly - print, copy, fax, scan, fax from PC, scan to PC, etc. We're using this at home, but it has a lot of features that are useful for a small office, including various network, security and remote management features.
This is an all-around excellent device, an absolute bargain. I give it my unqualified recommendation.