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Brother MFC 640cw Multi-Function Center

Wireless printer, copier, scanner, fax, and message center By John Virata

With more households having more than one computer, and many adopting wireless technologies to ease the sharing of high speed connections, printer manufacturers are answering, offering wireless capabilities with their devices. When first launched a few years ago, these wireless devices were still incredibly expensive for the capabilities built into the devices. The wireless aspect is what made them cost more. Today, the prices have gone down, and realizing the potential of the all in one device (printer/fax/copy/scan), printer manufacturers are coming up with creative ways to differentiate themselves from the rest, while giving consumers a unified solution to their document processing and imaging needs.

Brother is one such company that has successfully integrated the concept of the all in one machine targeted at the home/office/digital media user with its MFC 640cw, a wireless Multi-Function Center that combines a color printer, color copier, color scanner, color fax, PC fax, message center, and a PhotoCapture Center that enables you to print images from the various digital media card formats. Priced at $199, Brother hopes that the unit will find its way into home offices where multiple devices currently reside.

The Brother MFC 640cw all in one device includes wireless capabilities.

Color Printer
The color printer built into the MFC 640CW features a front loading paper tray that holds up to 100 sheets of paper. It is rated to print up to 20 pages per minute in black and 15 pages per minute in color. Other capabilities include photo quality printing at 6000x1200 dpi in full color and the capability to print borderless photos. The printer can be interfaced via built in Ethernet or wireless 802.11b/g. It is a true four color unit with four separate Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black ink cartridges. Brother rates the black cartridge at 500 pages with 5 percent coverage, 600x600 dpi resolution. The color cartridges are rated at 400 pages with 5 percent coverage at 600x600 dpi resolution. Pricing on the individual cartridges range from $17-20 for genuine cartridges, cheaper for compatibles. On a full color 8.7MB image, with the printer set at the highest setting, fine mode, and using glossy paper, the MFC 640cw print the image in 24 minutes. The image quality of the initial print was very good to excellent. Switching to matte paper and choosing normal mode, the printer printed an image that I would rate good to very good.

PhotoCapture Center
The PhotoCapture Center is comprised of a 7-in-1 media card reader that enables you to print directly from the media cards. You can print individual images as well as a contact sheet, or index sheet of the images on the card. In addition to the thumbnail images on the index sheet, the dates the imageswere taken as well as the image size and name are also printed. 

Index Sheet

It accepts SmartMedia cards (4MB to 128MB); CompactFlash Type I (4MB to 2GB); Memory Stick (16-128Mb); Memory Stick Pro (256MB to 1GB); Memory Stick Duo with adapter; MagicGate if not using MagicGate function are also supported); Secure Digital and MMC (16MB to 1GB); miniSD supported with adapter; xD Picture Card (16MB to 512MB); and xD Picture Card Type M (512MB to 1GB). Compact Flash Type II and Microdrive devices aer not supported.

PhotoCapture Center supports seven memory card types.

PhotoCapture Center also supports direct photo printing in JPEG format, as well as the capability to scan images directly to the memory card in TIFF, JPEG, and PDF formats at various image resolutions and in either black and white or color. The cool aspect about this feature is that you don't need a computer to print images from the media cards. 

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