Did you ever wonder what all the numbers and letters in product codes stand for? Well, believe it or not, they do occasionally have meanings. In this case, the Brother MFC-4350, the MFC stands for, “Multifunction Center.” Somewhere along the line Brother abandoned the retro/lame sounding name “Intellifax” for their line of fax machines, after someone tipped them off that the nineteen eighties had in fact ended abruptly. Now Brother uses the hipper (?) MFC tag on their machines, abandoning any and all effort to dazzle in an attempt to keep current with an age of disinterested worker drones.
That being said, the name Multifunction Center is in fact a title that has been righteously earned, considering the wide range of uses that these once simple fax machines have evolved into. Now the machines are as appealing for their uses as high performing printers and copiers as for their fax capabilities. The MFC-4350, for example, comes fully integratable with your PC via the built in parallel port, allowing it to serve as a quality 600 X 600 dot per inch laser printer. Though the implementation of a USB port would have been welcome, it may not have been invented yet. Still, printing at 6 pages per minute, it is at least comparable in speed to a consumer level inkjet for speed.
As a fax machine Brother has gone out of their way to include some cool design features, such as the straight paper path technology that allows you the insert not just standard sized paper through the fax, but also envelopes, index cards, postcards, or anything else you can squeeze through. The built in 14.4 K modem insures fairly speedy delivery of your faxes, and the on board storage capacity of up to 130 pages worth of data will keep your incoming faxes locked safely away even before you’ve printed them and, if there’s a paper outage, the machine will hold on to the data until the paper tray is restocked so few important faxes are lost.
The copy machine is capable of 400 dot per inch resolution and works well with the high paper storage capacities, including the 200 sheet capacity paper tray, and the 20 sheet capacity auto load tray, which allows you to throw a stack of documents in for copying and let the printer deal with the job of feeding the pages through one by one. This feature can also be incorporated into larger fax projects if necessary, with either standard or legal sized paper.
Though this multifunctional unit is Energy Star friendly, the MFC-4350 unfortunately doesn’t take as kindly to Macs, as it only runs on Windows 98 and below, Windows NT, and DOS operating systems. So, for those of you looking for a medium priced fax machine that will run on your office’s DOS compatible system, the Brother MFC-4350 may be the ultimate option for you. Just remember, if you want to maximize this unit’s speed and reduce down time, Brother recommends at least an Intel 486 processor with 66 MHz of processing speed. Anything slower would be foolish.