April 27, 2020 – The pandemic has given me more pause than I ever imagined, a time to rethink and regroup, both for now and for what lies ahead. Among necessities, I needed a new printer, replacing my 2009 Brother All-in-One MFC-8890DW


Why? Technology of yesterday does not automatically keep up with the times. Would your cell phone from 2009 be just as good, just as competent and feature-rich as a 2020 mobile phone? Let me help you – NO! And so it is with printers. Their guts might be capable of cranking out acceptable pages, but the underlying software, known as firmware, and what it controls, can only be modernized just so far without falling far behind. So it is with printers.

I still follow my advice from even before 2009 on the topic of printers – unless there is a requirement for color, go with a black & white laser printer. Color costs more per page, in all cases more than toner for black & white laser printers. Regardless of the new gen of color inkjet printers, those with “two years of ink” in the box, up to 7,000 pages of ink.

I’ve done the math for you. Black & white laser printers cost less to own, especially over time. They perform more quickly. I do not need color. If I did, the color I would need would be for the occasional photo. I do not advise investing in color inkjet technology, or for that matter, color laser technology, for the occasional photo. Unless your business has need or requirement for color docs, and mine does not, then go with my original premise.

As for me, long ago I did a study of efficiency and cost comparing b&w laser printers. Brother won then, and Brother is the winner today.


My old 8890DW was a do-it-all wireless printer back then, with print, scan, copy and fax capabilities, including the ability to duplex in all modes, including duplex scanning and copying, and with collation, plus a large platen to handle up to legal size.

Well, what do you know, today’s replacement for the old 8890DW is none other than a Brother MFC-L5900DW. Take your time at the link and click through all the features and benefits.


And what could be better than taking my other piece of old, yet still wise advice – get a Brother factory refurbished printer with the same as-new warranty and lifetime customer support by phone (that is, after everyone in tech support can go back to their offices post-pandemic).

Factor in the costs, please, and follow along. It is expected that this NEW printer will last as long as did the old one, so let’s go with nominally 10 years. I do not print thousands and thousands of pages, but when I want or need to print in volume or to use any of the myriad other capabilities, I want the capacity to do so.

When I need or want faxing, yes there are some businesses, including real estate and doctor’s offices, as well as some government agencies, that still use fax, so I want that capability. This includes the ability to also send paperless faxes, that is, without paper, directly from files on my Windows PC or Mac. The logistics of outbound faxing require either a standard phone line or an Internet-based phone, also known as VoIP, or a faxing account through online services, some of which are found here. Incoming is another matter. I receive my faxes with a long-standing VoIP line from PhonePower.com.

I want to be able to print from mobile devices – from a phone or tablet, and the new printers do a better job than did the older models. It’s firmware AND hardware together that have improved. Now, I can print remotely from anywhere outside of my home office and have the finished pages printed, ready and waiting upon my return home, with Google Cloud Print technology.

I like having a high-capacity paper tray. This one holds 250 sheets. It has a 70-page auto document feeder and can print on everything from envelopes to thicker paper and all the sizes up to legal.

Though not a color printer, it will scan in color and save the files in color.

The new 5990 prints and copies at a rate up to 42 pages per minute. That’s faster than my old one.

My old printer could accept toner cartridges capable of printing up to 8,000 pages. So, too can the 5990. I know Brother would like for me to tell you to get only genuine Brother accessories. My experience, however, is very good with what are called “compatible” supplies. Not Brother, but performing as well as. The cost? About $25 for a “compatible” high-capacity toner cartridges. Beat that, ink jet!

Sure, there are even more robust Brother models, faster, higher paper capacity, but none with more features and more capabilities. This one has it all.


Now, let’s look at the acquisition cost. Keep that approximate 10-year duty cycle in mind and couple it with all the capabilities that lesser machines cannot do. The product link above, if still active, shows the Brother price for a NEW MFC-L5900DW is $350. That’s a lot, even when amortizing the cost over 10 years. At a cost of $350, it is a big financial hit. But refurbished by Brother? How about $250 directly from Brother and with the refurbished model number . Same “as new” warranty with free shipping. To me, this is performance without meaningful compromise.

Really, how do you beat this? $25 pe year? Cheap, really inexpensive toner and equally inexpensive drum units, lasting about 30,000 pages at a “compatible” cost of about $25. To me, it is not worth it to get less, to omit capabilities and capacities. To me, this is exactly what value is all about.

As expected, I am very pleased with this purchase. Feels like a favorite tool, an old but upgraded and updated friend. Nice. Thanks, Brother.

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