Brother MFC 420CN Multifunction Color Inkjet Network Printer
by William Wisner
(Granite Falls, NC)
Brother MFC 420CN
The Brother 420CN is a multifunction ink jet printer that is fairly easy to use, produces fair to good results, and provides excellent quality printing of photographs. The overall unit is a bit clunky and seems to be made of cheap plastic parts, but if good care is taken of it, it should last you a very long time!
Easy to Use
The Brother 420CN is very simple to set up and to use. Being a multi-function printer, there are of course a number of uses that you will need to learn to use by reading the user manual provided, but anyone that has worked with a multi-function machine can probably operate it without one.
To start, you simply have to plug in the power cord into an outlet, and then attach the USB cord from the printer to the computer. There are 4 ink cartridges to install: Yellow, Cyan, Black, and Magenta.
Having 4 cartridges is to the owner’s advantage, for if the color runs out, you only have to replace the cartridge for that particular color, rather than a more expensive one that contains all colors.
Fair to Good Results
Once you have everything in place, your Brother 420CN is ready to use. Print jobs work just the same as with any other printer. The "copy" function is easy to figure out too, and has a self-feed tray that can hold up to 10 pages that it can copy.
You can choose to copy in color or black and white, all at differing qualities, depending on how much ink you want to dedicate to the project.
Along with the "copy" function, there also exist "fax" and "scan" options. Faxing is very easy, as the user manual describes how the phone lines must be inserted
into the machine (one warning, if you have an answering machine, this can complicate matters).
The self-feed tray is helpful with longer faxes. The "scan" option is very useful and captures high quality images. After some initial testing, there was not much difference to be found between scanning a flexible page from the self-feed tray as opposed to laying it on the flatbed glass and scanning directly.
High Quality Printing of Photos
The best function of the Brother 420CN network printer is its ability to print very crisp and clear photos. You can use virtually any photo or design software to tough up your photos and the print comes out very satisfactory (I actually use a five-year old HP software that came with a cheaper inkjet printer).
The Brother 420CN printer comes with a CD full of software as well, and using your Windows Menu options, you can bring up a printer dashboard that can help you as well. Prints on photo paper are exceptional, though it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you use Brother Brand Inks – tests with generic inks or refilled cartridges were found to leak extra ink on the prints, leaving an undesirable finished product.
Quality for the Price
Upon first glance, the Brother 420CN looks as if it was designed by a 6th grader – the self-feed tray, along with the paper storage (which only holds 100 sheets) are made with plastic pieces that could be broken easily by a two-year old.
Clearly, Brother was cutting production costs in order to keep the prices down for the consumer. All this taken into consideration though, this is a quality printer on the inside, so as long as the owner takes careful care of it, it is a very good deal at an affordable price.