Even two businesses working in the same market segment, catering to similar target audiences, and having similar resources will approach their operations differently. So, it isn’t all that surprising that every business’s needs are unique. If the needs are unique, then they will also try to approach their equipment acquisition differently. As a result, the same multifunction printer may not suit every business. With this frame of reference in mind, we’re reviewing the Brother MFC-L9550CDW multifunction printer despite the fact that we’ve already reviewed its younger brother the Brother MFC-L8600CDW a couple of months back.
The differences between these two printers are similar to the differences between various trims of cars. The Brother MFC-L8600CDW and the Brother MFC-L9550CDW are the two extremes of a series that contains three printers. The third one is Brother MFC-L8850CDW. Because the Brother MFC-L9550CDW is the top end and the Brother MFC-L8600CDW the lowest in the series, their respective capacities are different. However, the technological engine behind these two machines, so to speak, remains the same.
Strengths of Brother MFC-L9550CDW
The Brother MFC-L9550CDW like the L8600 is a multifunction printer. It has a total of five functions according to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) – printing, scanning, copying, faxing, and PC faxing. From the perspective of the user, though, PC faxing and laser faxing are the same thing. This printer, thus, has the same functions as all other multifunction printers out there. Still, having four functions in a single machine is, without a doubt, a benefit or strength.
This multifunction laser printer is designed for highest printing volume workgroups, offices, and businesses. Whether you’re considering this printer for a single office, a department, or your entire business, you need to be absolutely sure that you will be using its printing capacity to the full. Let us explain why. The Brother MFC-L9550CDW’s monthly duty cycle is 5,000 pages while the L8600CDW’s monthly duty cycle is 3,000, and the L8850CDW’s is 4,000.
This is easily the most significant difference between these three printers. Therefore, if you’re going to be printing only 3,000 or 4,000 sheets, then it would be foolhardy on your part to spend extra money on the Brother MFC-L9550CDW. On the other hand, if your requirement is indeed in the 5,000 range, then the lower two models would cause your business to bleed out capital. The reason for this is that neither of those lower models is designed to accept Brother’s super high yield toner cartridges.
The Brother MFC-L9550CDW, on the other hand, is. These super high yield toner cartridges can make a world of difference too. For instance, the per-page cost of the L8600CDW is to the tune of 23.14 cents per page with OEM cartridges. With the use of generic cartridges, which offer same quality for lower prices, this per-page cost goes down to about 17.10 cents. The Brother MFC-L9550CDW’s per-page cost with genuine cartridges is to the tune of 14.65 cents while with generic cartridges it stands at 10.77 cents per page.
Effective reduction on genuine cartridges is roughly 9 cents per page while with generic cartridges it is around 7 cents. That’s no mean amount because it means that for every 10 pages you spend, your company bleeds around $1. Therefore, if your business is highly reliant on printing, then you cannot choose anything other than the Brother MFC-L9550CDW.
There are other strengths of the L9550CDW too. For instance, it has automatic single pass duplex printing as well as scanning. The other models, however, only have automatic duplexing. Other strengths of the L9550 include direct Wi-Fi connectivity along with AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Google Drive, DropBox, Picasa, SkyDrive, and Flickr compatibility. The Wi-Fi direct feature is crucial too but we’ll explore why later.
Operationally, the Brother MFC-L9550CDW is a good printer. It has a 123mm LCD (L8600CW only has a 93mm screen) colour touchscreen through which menu options can be controlled. Basic functions are easy to get to and the software even allows for customisable shortcuts.
Weaknesses of Brother MFC-L9550CDW
While the Brother MFC-L9550CDW is an excellent workhorse, some decisions from Brother about its feature set are really odd. Consider the fact that the total paper capacity you can get with this machine is paltry 850 sheets and that is after you choose the optional add-on of the 500-sheet paper tray. So, the standard paper capacity is only 350 sheets. 350-sheet total capacity is downright silly considering its monthly duty cycle.
If you had to print the recommended minimum monthly pages of only 1,000 sheets, you’ll have to add a new cassette 3 different times. With the maximum capacity of 850 sheets and the maximum monthly print of 5,000, you’ll have to put in a new cassette no less than 6 times!
This is definitely a weakness, wouldn’t you agree? The standard paper capacity, incidentally, is split between the standard paper tray worth 250 sheets, the multipurpose tray worth 50 sheets and the Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) worth another 50 sheets.
The Brother MFC-L9550CDW shares a weakness with the L8600CDW and L8850CDW – below average output quality. Like we mentioned in the review linked above, the overall output quality is poor in these printers largely because of their disappointing performance with graphics and images.
Textually, these printers maintain the basic standards of their segment but when it comes to graphics and images, their performance falls flat. You wouldn’t want to use this printer for printing graphics and images with serious objectives, so consider that before writing the cheque.
Key Features of Brother MFC-L9550CDW
The Brother MFC-L9550CDW is bigger than both its lower counterparts. This printer is 490mm across, 523mm deep, and 530mm tall. If you go for the optional paper tray, then you should expect the height of this machine to go up by another 280mm. There is no sharing the desk with this behemoth. Even if it wasn’t so burly, you couldn’t have placed it on a desk because it weighs a backbreaking 24.8 Kg. This is where the Wi-Fi Direct feature comes into play. If you’re worried about wires and connectivity, then you shouldn’t be because this feature takes away the need for considering such dinosaur-era logistical issues.
At the same time, its weight and dimension should give you heart because they mean that this printer is durable. The Brother MFC-L9550CDW is actually highly durable and will probably stay with your business much longer than you may want, especially considering the speed with which technologies are advancing. With respect to operations, this printer is pretty quick to wake up and get into action. From sleep mode, this printer will take about 36 seconds to spit out the first page. From the ready mode, though, the time it takes to deliver the first page is more than half at 15 seconds.
The Brother MFC-L9550CDW is also one of the faster multifunction printers within its segment. It is rated by the OEM at 30 pages per minute for monochrome and colour prints alike. This is higher than the L8600CDW’s rated speed of 28 ppm. The printing resolution of the L9550CDW is 2400 x 600 dots per inch (dpi) and its inbuilt memory is 256 MB. However, like the paper capacity, the internal memory can be upgraded with the upper limit being 512 MB.