Brother also gives you the option to install a third-party imaging application, ScanSoft's PaperPort. This program lets you edit photos in a file browsing set-up similar to Apple's iPhoto, with basic photo-editing solutions for auto-enhancement, blemish erasing and red-eye elimination. We played around with the software for a while and enjoyed its simplicity compared with iPhoto. But don't expect the editing quality to be on par with Adobe suites. PaperPort is geared more towards light users and amateur photographers with limited time and editing resources.
The printer's scanning, copying and fax features all perform adequately, especially in conjunction with the 50-sheet auto document feeder that can function without a computer connection. Scanning options include routing images to a file folder or email, and an optical character-recognition text translator. You also get four customisable buttons on the virtual control centre, which you can program as you like.
As always, we have to complain about the lack of a hinged scanner lid. Having one would make it much easier to scan thick books and documents. In terms of the copying function, you can set the magnification from 25 per cent up to 400 per cent, but the only two options for pagination are two pages or four pages on one sheet of paper. Competitors usually offer many more options, including up to four images on one page, thumbnails and two-sided prints.
The MFC-5890CN uses a four-cartridge system, with individual tanks for black, cyan, magenta and yellow that load into the front bay. Brother offers standard and high-yield cartridges on its Web site.
Sluggish print speeds
The MFC-5890CN stood out among the competition in our speed tests, but not in a good way. Compared to five other printers in the same price bracket, it was the slowest printer in almost all of the document output tests. It registered the slowest benchmarks in the photo test, printing at a sluggish rate of 0.81 pages per minute. That surprised us, because its older brother, the MFC-685cw, released in late 2007, achieved 1.3 prints per minute.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Presentation speed||Photo speed (one sheet)||Colour graphics speed||Text speed|
The MFC-5890CN was the best performer in the presentation speed test. We printed out a full-colour, 10-page document and it achieved an impressive 2.75 pages per minute. The rest of the tests didn't end nearly as positively, however, as can be seen from the table above.