Get insider access
Preferred store
Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.

Brother MFC-L3780CDW/MFC-L3720CDW Printer Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Dec 18, 2023 at 11:34 am
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 10, 2024 at 03:59 pm
Brother MFC-L3780CDW/MFC-L3720CDW Picture
7.9
Family
8.8
Small/Home Office
8.4
Student
8.7
Black & White
4.3
Photo

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is an all-in-one color laser printer. It's effectively a replacement for the Brother MFC-L3770CDW; while the two printers share a similar design, the newer model uses different TN229 cartridges and drum units. It's also fully compatible with TN229XL high-yield and TN229XXL super high-yield cartridges. It has a flatbed scanner with an ADF and single-pass duplex scanning capability. Its connectivity options include USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet, and it can also print directly off a USB flash drive.

Our Verdict

7.9 Family

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is very good for family use. It might be a little large to squeeze into most homes, but it does offer a plethora of features. It incurs little in the way of ownership costs thanks to its high page yield, outputs remarkably sharp, detailed prints, and has a flatbed scanner with a height-adjustable lid that's fantastic for digitizing pages from books and magazines. Unsurprisingly, for a laser printer, it isn't a great option for printing photos.

Pros
  • High page yield.
  • Fantastic document printing quality.
  • Full-featured scanner.
  • Wide variety of connectivity options.
Cons
  • Limited color gamut.
  • Poor color accuracy.
  • Bulky for at-home use.
8.8 Small/Home Office

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is excellent for home offices. Its standard TN229 cartridges are sufficient for regular printing, but if you need more, you can buy high-yield and super high-yield toner cartridges. While it might take a little while to warm up, it can print a lot of pages in a hurry once it has, which is great for high-volume print jobs. Most of its components, like the drum unit, belt unit, and waste toner box, have a long service life and are easy to replace. Overall print quality is also fantastic.

Pros
  • High page yield.
  • Fantastic document printing quality.
  • Rapid printing speed.
  • Full-featured scanner.
  • Wide variety of connectivity options.
Cons
  • Slow to warm up.
8.4 Student

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is great for students, even if it's on the pricey side and a little too big to fit in most dorm rooms. It prints very quickly, which is great if you're running late on an assignment, and outputs very high-quality documents. Its standard-size toner cartridges have a high enough page yield for a full semester of printing and aren't all that expensive, though higher-yield TN229XL and TN229XXL cartridges are available if you have a larger print load. Its scanner also does a fantastic job of digitizing documents.

Pros
  • High page yield.
  • Fantastic document printing quality.
  • Rapid printing speed.
  • Full-featured scanner.
  • Wide variety of connectivity options.
Cons
  • Bulky for at-home use.
8.7 Black & White

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is an amazing option for black-and-white printing. It produces sharp documents, prints quickly, and yields a large number of prints. It also boasts a flatbed scanner with an ADF that can quickly process long double-sided documents thanks to its single-pass duplex scanning capability. It feels incredibly well-built, and maintenance is straightforward, as all the consumable parts are easily replaceable. Also, you can buy the high-yield black toner cartridge in twin packs, which is cheaper than buying them separately.

Pros
  • High page yield.
  • Fantastic document printing quality.
  • Rapid printing speed.
Cons
  • Slow to warm up.
4.3 Photo

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is a poor choice for photo printing, though this isn't really what it's designed for. It has a limited color gamut and poor color accuracy. Its printing pattern is rather obvious and obscures fine details in photos. Finding compatible glossy photo paper is also a challenge.

Pros
  • High page yield.
Cons
  • Limited color gamut.
  • Poor color accuracy.
  • Not compatible with the majority of glossy photo paper.
  • 7.9 Family
  • 8.8 Small/Home Office
  • 8.4 Student
  • 8.7 Black & White
  • 4.3 Photo
  1. Updated Jan 10, 2024: Added mention of the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn as an alternative with faster printing speeds in the Printing Speed section.
  2. Updated Dec 18, 2023: Review published.
  3. Updated Dec 06, 2023: Early access published.
  4. Updated Dec 04, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  5. Updated Nov 24, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  6. Updated Nov 20, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Brother MFC-L3780CDW all-in-one printer. There are a few other variants with slightly different features; you can see the differences between them in the table below.

Model Duplex Scanning Connectivity Toner Cartridge Compatibility Advertised Printing Speed (Black/Color) Input tray Region of Sale
Brother MFC-L3720CDW N

Wi-Fi, USB

TN229, TN229XL

19 PPM / 19 PPM

Single-sheet manual feeder North America
Brother MFC-L3760CDW N Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, External Storage (USB flash drive) TN258, TN258XL  27 PPM / 27 PPM Single-sheet manual feeder Europe/Oceania
Brother MFC-L3765CDW N Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, External Storage (USB flash drive) TN229, TN229XL 27 PPM / 27 PPM Single-sheet manual feeder North America
Brother MFC-L3780CDW Y

Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, External Storage (USB flash drive), NFC

TN229, TN229XL, TN229XXL

31 PPM / 31 PPM

30-sheet multi-purpose tray and optional 250-sheet input tray North America
Brother MFC-L8340CDW N Wi-Fi, USB, External Storage (USB flash drive)  TN248, TN248XL  31 PPM / 31 PPM 30-sheet multi-purpose tray Europe 
Brother MFC-L8390CDW Y Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, External Storage (USB flash drive), NFC TN258, TN258XL 31 PPM / 31 PPM  30-sheet multi-purpose tray and optional 250-sheet input tray Europe/Oceania

You can see our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Printers

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is a great all-in-one color laser printer. It's a step up from the older Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser, as it has an improved cartridge system with longer-lasting drum units, not to mention superior print and scan quality.

If you're looking for alternatives, see our recommendations of the best laser printers, the best office printers, and the best all-in-one printers.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw

The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw and Brother MFC-L3780CDW each have their own advantages. The Canon has a larger touchscreen display, uses cartidges with a greater page yield, and offers marginally better better color accuracy and fine detail reproduction in photos, though neither printer should be your first choice if you're planning on printing photos regularly. On the other hand, the Brother's ADF-equipped scanner processes sheets faster, and out-of-the-box printed documents are less noticeably over-saturated than they are from the Canon.

Brother MFC-L8905CDW [MFC-L8895CDW, MFC-L8900CDW]

The Brother MFC-L8905CDW is ultimately a better overall laser printer than the Brother MFC-L3780CDW, though the MFC-L3780CDW is ultimately still a good option if you don't want to spend quite as much. The MFC-L8905CDW uses cartridges with a significantly higher page yield, has an ADF for its scanner with a larger-capacity input tray and faster scan speed, and prints documents faster.

Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is an improvement on the Brother MFC-L3770CDW. The MFC-L3780CDW features drum units for its toner cartridges that don't expire prematurely, and it delivers slightly better print and scan quality.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF753Cdw/MF751Cdw

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is a slightly better overall printer than the Canon Color imageCLASS MF753Cdw, though the differences between the two aren't especially huge. The Brother's scanner processes documents faster, and it incurs lower ownership costs thanks to its less expensive toner cartridges. That said, the Canon has an easier-to-use display interface, and it has a faster max printing speed.

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn

The HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn and the Brother MFC-L3780CDW/MFC-L3270CDW are both color laser printers with near-identical features. The HP prints and scans faster; however, the Brother's scanner is more feature-rich, as it has adjustable lid hinges and built-in OCR (optical character recognition). Although the HP yields more print, it might still cost more in replacement toner over time because the cartridges are significantly more expensive.

+ Show more

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
9.0
Design
Build Quality
Type All in One

The build quality is superb. It's made mainly from hard, dense plastic. The input and output trays are well-designed, with sturdy tabs to hold paper in place. You can easily access the sheet rollers through the cartridge bay or via a port at the back of the printer. Unfortunately, the control screen is at a fixed angle, so it can be hard to see if you aren't looking at it directly.

Design
Dimensions
Height 15.8" (40.2 cm)
Width 16.1" (40.8 cm)
Depth 18.1" (46.1 cm)
Height When In Use
15.8" (40.2 cm)
Width When In Use
19.8" (50.4 cm)
Depth When In Use
29.8" (75.6 cm)
Weight
47.8 lbs (21.7 kg)
8.0
Design
Expected Maintenance
Ink Related Maintenance
Not Needed
Drum Unit
A Separate Unit

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is a laser printer, so you don't need to worry about printheads clogging the way you do with inkjet models. There are a few components that need periodic replacement, but, thankfully, these items are easily accessible and readily available from the manufacturer.

  • Cartridges/Drum Units: You can access the cartridges by lifting the top of the printer and simply pulling them out of their respective slots. As seen here, the drum units aren't integrated with the cartridges, so you have to replace them separately. They have an estimated lifespan of 20,000 pages. You can only buy them in packs of four from the manufacturer, seen here. This can be problematic if one of the four wears out prematurely or gets damaged.
  • Belt Unit: The belt unit is under the cartridges and the drum. You can remove it by pulling the green release lever. It has an estimated service life of 50,000 pages; you can get a replacement here.
  • Waste Toner Box: The waste toner box is under the belt and removable by pulling on the green handle. It also has an estimated service life of 50,000 pages. You can buy a replacement from the manufacturer here.

The fuser unit and paper feeding kit also need periodic replacement, though it's best to enlist the services of a professional to replace these components since doing so requires some disassembly. If you need to clear out any paper jams, you can access the sheet rollers by either going through the door at the back of the printer, removing the cassette tray, or by lifting the scanner.

See the user manual here.

8.5
Design
Display Screen
Display Screen Yes
Display Screen Size
3.4" (8.7 cm)
Touchscreen Yes

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW's display is excellent, with a few caveats. It's relatively large, touch-sensitive, and is responsive to inputs. The virtual keyboard that comes up whenever you need to enter passwords or punch in file names for scans has large keys, so you won't accidentally press the wrong symbol. That said, while it has good viewing angles, it's in a fixed position, so it can be hard to see if you're seated.

8.9
Design
Cartridge
Technology Laser
SuperTank
No
Photo Cartridge
No
Color Yes
Number Of Color Cartridges
3
Black Cartridge Model
TN229BK
Tested Black Page Yield
88 prints
Estimated Black Page Yield
1,672 prints
Color Cartridge Model
TN229C/M/Y
Tested Color Page Yield
59 prints
Estimated Color Page Yield
1,255 prints
Third Party Cartridge
Not Found At Time Of The Review
Ink Type
Toner
High Yield Cartridge
Yes

This printer's cartridge system is excellent. Its standard TN229 cartridges are more than sufficient for regular printing at home, though if you're regularly printing at high volumes for office work, you'll probably want to invest in high-yield TN229XL, which have an advertised yield of 3,000 black or 2,300 color prints, or super high-yield TN229XXL cartridges, which have an advertised yield of 4,500 black or 4,000 color prints.

Unfortunately, the printer won't output pages with an empty black toner cartridge, though you can still scan documents. On the upside, you'll have ample warning that you're running low; you'll see a banner notification on the screen when you're running low, which links to a real time estimate of remaining toner levels as well as a splash page for its Refresh ink subscription program. The printer will also provide a multi-step slideshow showing you how to replace a toner cartridge (1, 2, 3).

9.6
Design
Scanner Features
Scanner
ADF + Flatbed
ADF Capacity
50 pages
Scan Speed
21 PPM
Duplex Scanning
Automatic (Single-Pass)
Max Flatbed Scan Size
8.5" x 11"
Max ADF Scan Size
8.5" x 14"
Flatbed Hinge Adjustability
1.02" (26 mm)
Fax
Yes
Copy
Yes
OCR Included
Built-in

This printer has a scanner with a remarkably broad range of features. It has an automatic document feeder with automatic single-pass duplex scanning capability, making it easy to process long and two-sided documents. Additionally, the scanner's lid has hinges that can extend to accommodate thicker documents or books. The printer has optical character recognition; however, you need to initiate the scan from your computer if you want to save the scan as a searchable PDF. Initiating an OCR scan from the printer only allows you to save the file as a txt, HTML, or RTF file.

9.5
Design
Scan Quality
Max Scan Resolution
1,200 DPI
Max Scan Color Depth
24Bit

The scan quality is superb. Scanned text is very legible, and fine details are clearly visible. There's also less obvious graininess when looking at highly saturated areas compared to scans from the Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser.

Note: The sample scan's color reproduction isn't the same as scans from other printers we've tested, as it has a slightly greenish tinge. This isn't an issue with the printer but rather the sample document itself. We're looking to resolve this issue in testing. As such, we've scored the scan quality without consideration for color accuracy.

Design
In The Box

  • Phone cable
  • Power cable
  • Quick setup guide
  • 4x DR229CL drum units
  • 4x TN229 starter toner cartridges (pre-installed in drum units)
    • 1x black
    • 1x cyan
    • 1x magenta
    • 1x yellow
  • Not shown:
    • Waste toner box (pre-installed)
    • Belt (pre-installed)

Design
Battery
Advertised Battery Life
N/A
Tested Charging Time
N/A

The Brother MFC-L3780CDW is a corded printer with no battery.

Document
9.5
Document
Black & White Documents
Color Ink Needed For Black & White
No

The black-and-white print quality is superb. Printed text is sharp, and fine details are clearly visible. There isn't much graininess, and lighter colors, like yellow, that have been converted to grayscale don't look very faint, with clear delineation to similar shades.

9.5
Document
Color Documents

The print quality of color documents is also fantastic. Printed text is legible, and you can easily identify most fine details. Color reproduction is also fairly accurate, especially compared to the Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser, which tended towards over saturation.

Printing artifacts might appear when using the 'Document: Mixed' setting. If you look at the sample print outputted using this setting (as opposed to the 'Document: Standard' mode sample above), you can see a faint pink rectangle around the pie chart. This same sort of artifact was present on sample prints from the Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser. Let us know in the discussions below if you have this printer and encounter the same issue.

8.2
Document
Cost-Per-Print
Black Cartridge Price
65.49 US$
Color Cartridge Price
209.97 US$
Black-Only Printing Cost
0.039 US$/print
Color Printing Cost
0.167 US$/print
Photo Printing Cost
0.445 US$/print
Ink Subscription
Optional

The cost-per-print is impressively low, though far from earth-shattering compared to a lot of other high-end business-grade laser printers. Replacement cartridges are fairly close in price to the TN-227 toner cartridges used by the Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser, but the printer itself is a little more expensive.

8.2
Document
Printing Speed
Black Only Text Document
20 PPM
Color Document
28 PPM
Photo Printing Time
30.0 s
Single Page Out Time (Black Only)
19.0 s
Duplex Printing
Automatic
Input Tray Capacity
280 pages

Printing speed is great. The printer is a little slow to warm up, but once it does, it can output pages very quickly. We could only get close to its advertised output of 31 PPM (black) when connected via USB, which nets a print speed of 30 PPM. Printing over Wi-Fi drops its black-only print speed to 20 PPM due to buffering. That said, your experience may vary. If you want a color laser printer with faster printing speeds, check out the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn.

The MFC-L3780CDW and Brother MFC-L8390CDW have a 30-sheet multi-purpose tray, and they support an additional (optional) 250-sheet input tray, which you can buy here. The Brother MFC-L3720CDW, MFC-L3760CDW, and MFC-L3765CDW variants don't support the optional input tray and only have a single-sheet manual feeder instead of a multi-purpose tray.

Document
Document Printing Sizes
Letter (8.5" x 11") Yes
Legal (8.5" x 14") Yes
Tabloid (11" x 17") No
A6 (105mm x 148mm) Yes
A5 (148mm x 210mm) Yes
A4 (210mm x 297mm) Yes
Max Paper Weight
163 g/m²

This printer's main paper tray accepts plain paper, thin paper, thick paper, and recycled paper. The multi-purpose tray can take all of those paper types along with bond, label, thick/thin/standard envelope, and glossy paper too.

This printer tends to curl sheets at a higher rate than other laser printers, and unlike some alternatives, those sheets tend to stay curled instead of straightening out over time.

Photo
4.0
Photo
Color Gamut

This printer has a poor color gamut. It can't produce bright, saturated colors, and it struggles with darker shades of green and yellow. Its narrow color range makes photos look flat and lacking in detail. There's plenty of banding in the lighter shades, and color transitions look very grainy due to the printing pattern.

4.9
Photo
Color Accuracy
Average Color dE
10.16

Color accuracy is poor. Most colors look different from the original source. Ultimately, this won't be an issue if you're adding a pop of color to a document, but it does make it a poor option for photo printing or graphic design.

4.5
Photo
Small Details
Max Print Resolution (DPI)
2400 x 600

This printer is bad at reproducing small details. It prints at a low resolution, and like most laser printers, the printing pattern is very noticeable and causes the loss of fine details, to a greater degree than the older Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser. The default print resolution (labeled 'Fine') is 2400 dpi. The 'Regular' resolution is 600 dpi; here's a sample printed at that resolution.

0
Photo
Photo Printing Sizes
Glossy Paper (4" x 6") No
Glossy Paper (5" x 7") No
Glossy Paper (8" x 10") No
Glossy Paper (8.5" x 11") No
Glossy Paper (13" x 19") No
Borderless Printing
No

Note: The suggested variety of glossy paper for this printer is NewPage Futura Laser Gloss 80 lb Text paper. Unfortunately, this kind of paper is very difficult to find, with the only accessible format being highly expensive 11 x 17 sheets. The limited availability of compatible glossy paper, combined with the fact that this printer isn't really designed for photo printing, led us to set the 'Glossy Paper' result fields to 'No'.

Mobile App And Connectivity
9.0
Mobile App And Connectivity
Connectivity
Ethernet
Yes
USB Input To Computer
Yes
Wireless Yes
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi via Router
Yes
Wi-Fi Direct
Yes
External Storage Support
Yes
Apple AirPrint
Yes
Mopria Print Service
Yes

This printer can print files directly off of a USB flash drive. You can see a close-up view of each of the printer's ports below:

The Brother MFC-3780CDW and MFC-L8390CDW support NFC, allowing you to connect an NFC-enabled device by tapping it against the printer. The Brother MFC-L3720CDW and the Brother MFC-L8340CDW lack Ethernet support. Additionally, the MFC-3720CDW can't print from a USB flash drive.

9.5
Mobile App And Connectivity
Mobile App
Mobile App Yes
App Name Brother Mobile Connect
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Photo (JPEG, PNG)
Android and iOS
PDF
Android and iOS
Microsoft Office Files
Android and iOS
Text Files (TXT)
Android and iOS
Webpages (HTML)
No

The Brother Mobile Connect app is superb. You can print and scan documents from the app directly to your mobile device, even when you're away from home, manage your Refresh EZ Print toner subscription, or purchase toner cartridges.

Mobile App And Connectivity
OS Compatibility
Windows Fully
macOS Fully
Chrome OS Fully

You don't need to install any drivers to print or scan on Chrome OS and macOS devices, but you do on Windows devices. You can download the drivers here.