All-in-One printer as a document scanner

Hello,

mac fellows. I am currently thinking about buying a new printer. Nothing fancy — b/w laser, duplex, WLAN. There are offers which include a scanner (MFU) some of them include a scanner with a paper feed slot and an optional ADF unit (duplex scan). Since I don’t want to invest in a stand-alone document scanner, it appears to be a reasonable alternative — it is hard to justify sinking half a thousand EUR in a single document scanner. I don’t exactly run a small business at home.

My Idea would be something like a Brother MFCL2750DW. I am not worried that much about it as a printer, but does anyone has some experience with it as a document scanner? Like scanning to mac, mobile devices?

Also, there may be some reasonable alternatives out there, I am not aware of. Feedback is welcome :slight_smile:

I’ve used Brother laser printers with Macs for well over 15 years, and have evangelized them too as being trouble-free and Mac compatible. A couple of years ago my mom bought a Brother All-In-One to replace her scanner and fax machine, and says it continues to work fine with her 5-year-old iMac. (I think she’s still on High Sierra.) But I do not believe she’s ever tried to print from any iOS devices with it.

I have no experience with Brother MFUs, but I have some experience with Brother printers and with Brother network scanners. And I like them. So, your choice might be a good option if you are willing to do some extra work when processing your scans and when feeding different kinds of paper into the MFU.

A lot of the price of a good document scanner stems from its software and its technology when detecting paper sizes, page orientation, unwanted same time multi-feeding and so on.

There is a solution that is even cheaper: your iPhone with a good scanning app. I am not kidding. It really is a good option if done right.

I use Scanner Pro especially when I have my ix500 not available to me and it works just great:

I have it set up to scan in black and white and enabled compression. It detects new pages and scans them automatically if you choose to do so. It does OCR, you can use automation and even Siri shortcuts to process scans.

If you put your paper on a well-lit surface and maybe your iPhone on a stand above the paper you will get results that are very good (you can buy stuff, but with a little DIY stand you might even get better results). And even without the stand, you will get good results.

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I am using scanner pro, mostly for invoices when I travel. However, it is a suboptimal solution for letters. You have to flatten them first, find a good light and do it from both sides. Since I already have DEVONthink Pro Office handling of scans should not be such a big problem, including OCR. A dedicated document scanner would be the best solution, but I just can’t justify the price…

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I’ve got a similar Brother all-in-one, looks almost identical but doesn’t have duplex scanning/coping and no FAX. Makes it about 1/3 less expensive as well. I also have a ScanSnap iX500.

I got the Brother all-in-one over the still less expensive printer-only because it gave me a flat bed scanner (when you lift the document feeder) for documents that can’t go in the iX500. Also, when I want a copier, it’s nicer to use an all-in-one than scanning in the iX500 to print on the printer.

I don’t print much, but so far it has been working fine. Scanning/copying/printing with no problems. Like all others in its class (inexpensive) I wouldn’t expect it to hold up to heavy use. No issues at all setting it up on the network and accessing from the Macs. I’ve printed to it from my iPhone but have no idea how to scan from it.

https://www.theoatmeal.com/comics/printers has a dire warning on all in ones.

So, I have a very cheap Canon deskjet with scanner. Perfect to scan my paper mail before shredding. It can scan up to 600dpi and has OCR. I know this is not what you asked for, but wanted to say your approach is the right one for home use.

So, just to give a status update since I started this thread. :slight_smile:

I’ve browsed through reviews for the mentioned Brother All-in-one on Amazon. It seems to have huge problems with connectivity over WLAN. Would not wake up, loose connection in the middle of a print job and so on. Judged by the time of review, it is not fixed in 2018. Seem to be a difficult job for Brother, only that people manage to sqeeze WLAN in watches these days. Buying myself a load of trouble for 300 € is not a good idea, so I’ve decided to look around.

HP: Overpriced, deliver their printers with 600x600 resolution. Seriously? In 2018? My HP LaserJet in 2000 had the same resolution. Time seems to stop at HP Headquarters.

Samsung: Seem to be descent printers, but people complain about not having drivers for a recent version of macOS and support being handled by HP, at least here in Europe. Looks to me like their print division is on the edge of being sold.

By this time, I backed off from the Idea of buying an All-in-One since no satisfying offers exist. My idea was to go for a simple black&white printer again - with wlan support and duplex. Even this is very difficult. Small b&w printers these days seem to be as crappy as inkjet printers. They are expensive for what they do (mostly over 100 €), they have expensive cartridges (mostly with chips, to stop you buying from third-party vendors) and page counter in cartrigdes. Resolution is bad, memory is scarce, which is critical for a network printer. Models from 2014 had at least 64 mb, models from 2017 have only 32. It really seems that consumer printers go back in time and are getting crappier and crappier with every year.

So I made a roll again and went for a small office color-laser: Kyocera Ecosys P5021cdw I was able to get it pretty cheap on amazon (160 €), It can be used with third-party cartridges, which is a huge plus, has wlan, duplex and honest 1200x1200 dpi. Color print is a welcome plus, but it can be switched to a black cartridge usage only, so color cartridges are not used. At this point it should get very cheap.

Summary: Oatmeal is right: printer industry is full of crap and is getting more and more worse. They all have some problems, they can’t solve simple technical problems like connectivity, they break easily, and so on. The only field where they show some creativity is by trying to rip you off with cartridges. And I am not talking about very cheap printers - I’ve inspected devices in the range of 100-300 €. If you can, go for office printers - they are built for last and have lower costs of service.

That’s a shame. I had an Epson Workforce (which now belongs to my mother as I didn’t want to move it to Austria from the UK) all in one that is still a great machine, wireless printing both via AirPrint and the Epson app - or just via the Mac, wireless scanning to certain services or email addresses - or to the Mac via Image Capture or an iOS device through the Epson app and it was pretty cheap too. That said, laser printers are awesome.

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I had once an 200 € HP OfficeJet inkjet printer, but my printing behaviour was too irregular, so ink would dry and kill the heads. Cartridges were reasonably cheap, though. Well all of this was before it completely broke after 2 years of usage and printing of maybe 1500 pages. When you open such a printer you see cheapest cogwheels made of plastic - more appropriate for a child’s toy.
If I would buy an inkjet printer, I would calculate it’s price over max. of 2 years since it is very unlikely in my experience that one of these machines will survive over such a timespan. Together with high maintenance costs it makes them expensive, so I always try to go for a laser one :slight_smile:

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Best of luck with your new printer!

Out of curiosity, which model? Were the reviews from Mac users? (Sometimes it’s a problem that involves OS handshaking.)

The model was Brother L2750DW. And yes, there were reviews from mac users and they’ve made me very suspicious. Sometimes it would work for some time, and then stop handshaking. Sometimes a firmware update would help, sometimes not. In my opinion, clear sigh of a bad written ans executed network protocol.

I’ve had a Canon MX925 MFP for about 4 years now and it works very well indeed. The fax is not used - who sends faxes these days? - but the scanner, copier and printing functions are used all the time. It was hammered over the last couple of years as my son was using it to print 10-20 page documents for college assignments several times a week and it hasn’t skipped a beat.

Network scanning is what I personally use it for. It has an ADF and does duplex scanning too and the quality of the scan and OCR is really very good - show-through removal, page alignment, etc.

I needed a new printer at the time and couldn’t justify the cost of a ScanSnap, which is 3-4 times the price of the Canon and only does scanning.

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Yes, Canon i-Sensys MF635Cx with Duplex ADF is a good option IMO, even if print resolution could be higher. However, it costs 345 €. But maybe still a better value for money compared to Fujitsu SnapScan.

Amazon.ca reviewers seemed to love the Brother printer, for the most part with 4.4 stars out of 5 in 138 reviews (68% 5-stars, 20% 4-stars). A Mac owner on B&H’s site reviewed it this summer:

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and it was a top performer with Consumer Reports, a review magazine/site in the US that does not take advertising. In was in their top-10 for all-in-one printers (although it was only #9, and they only tested it with Windows)

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Given that I’ve had excellent experiences with it - and amazon and b&h will take back products that don’t work satisfactorily - I’d have probably gone for the Brother anyway and tried it out…

There are tests in a magazine, where people play with it for a day, and there are user reviews like this one where it seems that Brother has a huge problem with WoL. Sometimes it works, sometimes it works for a while and then stops. Given the size and weight of it I considered the return procedure for too much of a hassle. In general, the 1-3 stars reviews are the most interesting ones. There are a lot of people who use only a small subset of functions and are happy with it. I would not be an apple customer, if would not be easily upset with badly executed soft- and hardware. Thus I try to avoid it, since my tolerance is extremely low…

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While 1-3 star reviews may be the most interesting, I always read just the 2-4 star reviews. The 1 and 5 star reviews are generally outliers and should be ignored. Sadly, I gave mine a 5 star review (!), but I use a wired Ethernet connection, not wireless. I did read that people had problems with DHCP causing disconnects so I configured it with a static IP address. Never disconnected for me.

Well, you have to differentiate, of cause. There are people who would hyperventilate and give 1 star because the menu look different from what they’ve expected. But this issue is a serious one in my opinion. Printer will be on WLAN in another room, I don’t want to run back and forth and push buttons to wake it up. :slight_smile:

Sporadic bad reviews (and this one you quoted is is not Mac-specific, I note) really should not dissuade people, especially when the overwhelming percentage of reviews are positive … and the product can easily be returned if unsatisfactory.

Rather than returning it, I will avoid products with known serious issues upfront. Network issues for a network printer are a sad joke. The other reviewers may have bought the version without wlan and never suffer from it - I don’t want to waste my time and nerves on finding it out the hard way.