back to article Brother MFC-5890CN inkjet all-in-one A3 printer

If you need to print on paper bigger than A4, your choices of printer are severely reduced. If you need colour and can only afford an inkjet, they’re smaller still, and if you’d like an all-in-one, you’re down to half a dozen possibilities. Make that seven - Brother now has its MFC-5890CN, coming in at a touch over £150. …


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  1. A J Stiles
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    Still an inkjet though

    It's still an inkjet, though -- probably the world's biggest false economy, and borderline fraud.

    Inkjet printers dry out and clog up. The quoted printing speeds assume copies of the same document (and that it will fit entirely within the printer's memory). The page yield figures don't take into account the cleaning cycles you have to run if it's stood idle for more than a week and you want middle strokes in your E's. The slightest hint of moisture in the air will turn a printout into a mess of running colours. Yet we seem prepared to put up with all these faults, for the same reason Basil Fawlty kept on hiring O'Reilly.

    Seriously, if you want colour printing, just stump up the extra and buy a colour laser printer. It'll still be going strong, long after the third or fourth inkjet you would have ended up buying.

  2. Bad Beaver
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    A3 photo print

    I seriously wonder who in their right mind would engage in printing A3 photos... on such a cheap inkjet. I guess doing so one must be able to hear the faint crackle of burning money.

  3. Simon Williams
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    @ AJ Stiles

    I think you're over-exaggerating your case. Modern inkjet printers have to be left a good deal longer than a week before their heads start to dry -- in the order of months. Most printers used in a business environment will be used too frequently to suffer many extra cleaning cycles and these are more prevalent, anyway, in piezo print heads, like Epson's, than in thermal ones, like Brother's. Likewise, the average office never gets damp enough to make inkjet ink run. Even my three-hundred year old Devon (where it rains for six days out of seven) farmhouse isn't damp enough to do it.

    Sure you can buy a colour laser, but if your printing involves photo images at all, a laser won't do them justice -- though they are getting closer and cheaper.

  4. Nick Ryan Silver badge


    I guess A J Stiles is making a point not about a damp environment smudging the print, more that any form of damp will smudge the print. For example, the damp rings produced by cups on a desk, the damp that somehow finds it way onto every ink jet printed mailing label or just somebody coming in from the non too dry outside and... It is possible to get indelible ink for inkjets, but for some reason all vendor provided ink (or liquid platinum as it's priced as) isn't indelible.

    Oh, and if you want an A4 colour laser printer that is pretty cheap, (almost) affordable to run and produces good output then I'd recommend the HP Color LaserJet 2605 (and do yourself a favour and get the network version). The colour reproduction is a bit suspect at times but then most 4 colour laser printers are bad at matching pantone colours but that's just an endemic problem with the pantone colour palette. For photos the output is really very good.

  5. Claire Rand
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    important questions left unanswered:

    1, will is scan when its run out of yellow ink?

    2, will it print in B&W when its run out of yellow ink?

    3, can you refill the cartridges?

    4, do the cartridges report they are "empty" based on a page count and not on the actual amount of ink left?

    5, does the printer driver insist on installing 150meg of "status monitoring application"?

    6, does the driver for some ill defined reason need an internet connection?

    7, does printing require a near full screen window to open showing a picture of a printer, making the machine borderline unusable while printing?

    8, are the printer cartridges twice the price as for another model from the same company?

    9, does it do a head clean each time you power up, meaning the colour cartridges run out before the black _even if you never print in colour_?

    i.e. is it different to just about every other inkjet out there?

  6. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    @limitations / Clair Rand

    You forgot the comment regarding the printer being "networkable" but not actually working on a network or, at the very least not working on an office network.

  7. Robert E A Harvey


    Surely an all-in-one would need a separate A4 feed tray?

  8. Bad Beaver
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    Re: limitations

    Agreed, these are all very valid questions. Safe for No.7 — get a Macintosh ;)

  9. NoCo37

    My $0.02

    I recently purchased the mfc-6490cw. The only difference between the mfc-6490cw and the reviewed model is the mfc-6490cw has 2 paper trays (150 sheet and 250 sheet).

    For a small office or home network, this is not a bad printer. I love it for having an large format ADF scanner. I couldn't find a stand alone large format scanner that was anywhere near this price point.

    To answer the 9 questions above (based on the mfc-6490cw):

    1 - yes

    2 - yes

    3 - have not tried

    4 - ink level

    5 - about 35 MB on my last install

    6 -nope

    7 - nope

    8 - Don't know. I'm not the one who buys ink

    9 - I forget.... not near the device now

    The thing I love about this is that it works very well with Ubuntu. Brother provides nice easy to use drivers.

  10. Claire Rand


    already a mactard.. and my epson rx640 still wanted to install a load of useless programming rubbish. I don't use it, and don't run it.

    oh yes and out of the box the driver only supported maximum ink mode, can download a better one but out of the box useless.

    N0 7. was aimed at Olivetti, where I have installed one of thier lumps of junk fro a relative, set up as a shared printer under windows.

    peep 'a' prints on the laptop, to the printer on a desktop being used by peep 'b', peep 'b' can't work due to the full screen popup, still not worked that one out, surely its a background service?

    frankly if a printer review doesn't include info on the refillability of the cartridges its a pointless review, since the running costs are a key statistic.

    and for 'networkable' still trying to get round a wifi printer, where connecting to that means you loose the net. umm yeah cus thats useful.

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