Brother MFC-440cn review: Brother MFC-440cn

The Brother MFC-440CN has all the standard features you'd expect to find on an office all-in-one. When making copies, you can change print quality, enlarge/reduce, specify paper type and size, adjust brightness and contrast, make 2-on-1 and 4-on-1 prints, or even make a 3-by-3 poster print, where the image is enlarged so that one-ninth of the original will fit on each sheet of paper. The nine prints can then be pieced together to create a large poster.

When sending a fax, you have the option of using the scanner glass or the ADF. You can do a broadcast fax to up to 210 numbers or store up to 50 faxes in memory and time them to be sent within 24 hours (called a delayed fax). For incoming faxes, you can set up the MFC-440cn in a number of different configurations involving answering machines and answer protocols. The included manual walks you through the variations. You can have faxes stored in memory and print them later (for security), or you can have the fax page you at a predetermined number so that you know you have an incoming fax, which you can then retrieve remotely. These features are especially compelling if you have a multiuser environment or just really value your privacy. The fax features on this machine are impressive, especially for the price.

Oddly, scanning isn't covered in the hardcopy user guide, but you can find it on the installation CD (and on your PC after installation). When triggering a scan from the printer, you can choose to scan to e-mail, to image, to an OCR file, or you can simply save it in a folder on your PC. When you initiate the scan from the printer, it automatically opens the Brother Control Center 3 software on your PC. (Alternatively, you can open Control Center 3 manually and initiate the scan from there.) The printer is TWAIN-compliant, so you can also initiate scans from any TWAIN-compliant program, such as Adobe Photoshop. If you have a memory card inserted into the card reader, you have the additional option of scanning directly to the card

When printing from a media card, you have a few options. First, if you know you want to print all the photos on a card, you can do so, but you have to print the same number of copies for each photo. If you want, say, two copies of one but four copies of another, you'll have to manually preview all the pictures on the color LCD and indicate how many prints you want of each picture. After scrolling through all the pictures, you can press Start to initiate printing. The final option is to print a photo index: the printer numbers each picture, and from there, you can input the assigned numbers via the keypad and print only the photos you want. We prefer the way Canon handles photo index printing on its Pixma machines: the index sheet has bubbles that you fill in to indicate which images you want printed. Instead of keying in the photo number, you can simply scan the index sheet, and only the marked images will be printed.

The Brother MFC-440cn isn't a quick performer, lagging behind the Canon Pixma MP530 in all tasks except photo printing. It printed text at only 2.81 pages per minute, too slow to be a truly functional office printer. It bested the MP530 in photo printing, spitting out 4x6 prints at 0.53ppm. Black-and-white scanning was nearly 1ppm slower than the MP530 at 4.43ppm, and color scanning was even slower: 3.62ppm. Its 2.76ppm copy speeds were also slower.

CNET Labs' multifunction printer performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Copy speed  
Color scan speed  
Grayscale scan speed  
Photo speed  
Text speed  
Canon Pixma MP530*
Brother MFC-5840cn
HP OfficeJet 5610
Brother MFC-440cn*
Note: We tested the Canon Pixma MP530 and the Brother MFC-440cn's photo speed by printing a 4x6 photo. The other printers were tested using an 8x10 photo.

We wish we could say that the MFC-440cn made up for its lack of speed in quality, but, alas, we can't. The text print was decent, though we could see jagged edges and other imperfections with the naked eye. The text in the color graphics prints showed the same problems. Even worse was the color handling in the graphics prints: colors were faded and washed-out--they looked the way prints do when the printer is running low on ink. Color blocks showed visible graininess, and we saw some banding in the color gradients. The photo elements also showed graininess and washed-out colors. The same thing can be said for the 4x6 photo prints: we saw graininess; flat, washed-out colors; and a certain lack of sharpness. The color scan fared a bit better. It showed good, sharp detail, but the colors were off. The grayscale scan revealed severe compression in both extremes of the grayscale, resulting in loss of detail in both shadows and highlights. The quality of the prints and scans would be serviceable for a business that needs decent image quality (for example, a real estate broker) but doesn't rely on high-quality prints.

CNET Labs' multifunction printer quality
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Color scan  
Grayscale scan  
Graphics on inkjet paper  
Text on inkjet paper  
Canon Stylus MP530
Brother MFC-5840cn
HP OfficeJet 5610*
Brother MFC-440cn
Note: No information available on the HP's photo quality.
Brother backs the MFC-440cn with a one-year limited warranty, standard for the industry. Brother's toll-free phone-support line is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. You can also send an e-mail or a fax to Brother's support team 24/7. The company's Web site has FAQs, downloadable drivers and software, product manuals, and links to authorized service centers, though at the time of this review, Brother had no information specific to the MFC-440cn.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • Brother MFC-J470DW

    Starting at: $62.99
    4 stars

    The Brother MFC-J470DW delivers cloud printing from mobile devices, business-friendly...

  • Epson XP-420

    Starting at: $49.99
    4 stars

    The Epson Expression Home XP-420 inkjet printer takes all the cloud printing and wireless...

  • Samsung Xpress M2020W

    Starting at: $58.90
    4 stars

    If you're looking for a budget laser printer, the Samsung SL-M2020W should be your first...

  • Brother HL-L2360DW

    Starting at: $113.00
    4 stars

    The Brother HL-2369DW mono laser printer gets the job done with support for multiple platforms...


Discuss: Brother MFC-440cn

Conversation powered by Livefyre