Brother MFC-665CW multifunction printer

The Brother MFC-665CW is a general-purpose all-in-one inkjet printer with an impressive list of features and connection options. Unfortunately, despite its good overall print and scan quality, its software and design quirks might cause shoppers to look elsewhere.

Frustrating setup

With a boxy, retro design, the Brother MFC665CW’s setup was a bit frustrating. The USB socket is hidden underneath the scanner cover, requiring you to line the cable through a trench. That could limit how you position the printer depending on your office space and the length of your cable (which is not included). The MFC665CW’s input tray, located under the control panel, is supposed to hold a maximum of 100 sheets of paper, but we had a hard time cramming 60 sheets in the tray—and after doing so, the printer had frequent jamming problems.

In addition to its USB connection, the MFC-665CW can print, scan, and share photos via Ethernet. Initially, we used the USB connection to install and configure the printer. This process was a snap and we were quickly able to print and scan. Camera memory cards inserted into the unit mounted on our Mac desktop without incident. We did however run into some problems trying to test the printer via Ethernet. Printing over the network was simple enough: we plugged the cable to our office LAN, launched Print Center, and Bonjour found the device right away. Scanning over the network didn’t work, however, until Brother representatives suggested we uninstall all the Brother software and reinstall it choosing Ethernet as its default connection. Once we did that, we were able to scan to our Mac over the network connection.

Transferring photos from an inserted memory card to your Mac over the network also proved to be a bit tricky. You must use your browser or FTP software to connect to Brother’s internal FTP site and download them from there. Compared to other printers that include photo-sharing utilities, the Brother’s FTP method is not very user friendly. If you plan on using the Brother over the network, it would be easier to use a USB card reader or to connect your camera directly to your Mac.

The MFC-665CW’s software doesn’t offer the greatest Mac user experience, either. The scanning software is easy to use, but it doesn’t offer customization options beyond resolution and color. The preview scan displays a very small preview image on the screen; if you don’t have 20-20 vision, you’ll find yourself squinting before hitting the Scan button.

Faxing appears to be this MFP’s forte and it offers many special features, such as color faxing (provided the recipient scanner is color capable). It also takes advantage of the phone connection by including its own handset, voicemail, and speakerphone, thus allowing it to replace your telephone.

People who enjoy quiet working environments might not enjoy the MFC-665CW’s repetitive beeping noise whenever it prints. We were relieved when we finally found the menu to turn that feature off.

Performance

In terms of print speed, the MFC-665CW’s performance was lackluster, taking over 30 seconds to print a one-page Microsoft Word document via USB. That same page printed in just 9 seconds from the recently reviewed Canon Pixma MP960 (   ). Likewise, our 22MB Photoshop test page took 6 minutes and 24 seconds to print, as opposed to 1 minute 40 seconds on that same Canon unit. Luckily, the printed output looked good--and that was exactly the rating our panel of Macworld editors gave the MFC-665CW for its graphics test page, Photoshop document, and copier test page. It earned a Very Good rating in our Word text test for its clean legible text, even at very small point sizes.

Scanning times were impressive, however, and though our panel rated the resulting scans as Good, it preferred the high resolution graphics scans from other inkjet MFPs, such as the HP Photosmart C7180 and the Canon Pixma MP960.

Timed Trials: Print

10-page Word test 3:32
1-page Word test 0:34
22MB Photoshop image 6:24
4-page PDF 3:03

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

Timed Trials: Scan

8-by-10-inch Photo, 600 dpi scan 0:45
4-by-6-inch Photo, 1,200dpi scan 0:48

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

jury tests: print

Graphics: Fine Lines and Gradients Good
22MB Photoshop Image Quality Good
Text Quality Very good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

jury tests: scan/copy

Color Good
Clarity Good
Copy Good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

specifications

Print Resolution 6000x1200 dpi
Scan Resolution: optical 600 dpi
Max Scanning Bit Depth (output) 24 bit
Connection USB 2.0; Ethernet; wireless; PictBridge
Paper Sizes Letter, legal, executive, A4, A5, Photo (4x6, 3.5x5, 5x7, 5x8)
Cost to Replace Ink/ Toner Cartridges $50 ($19 for black, $10 each for cyan, magenta, and yellow)
Weight (in pounds) 17.7
Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches) 7.1x14.6x18.4
Paper Capacity 100 sheets
Special Features 2.5-inch flip-up color LCD; color fax; phone; answering machine; wireless printing.

Macworld’s buying advice

Though the features and connection options for this reasonably priced inkjet all-in-one are impressive, its slow print speeds and frustrating design quirks make it hard to recommend over other, more polished, competitors.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. Brian Chen is Macworld ’s assistant editor. ]

Brother MFC-665CW

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