The Good The ink cartridges on the Brother MFC-J885DW are cheaper than other branded printers, and the output quality is also commendable for small fonts and weak lines.
The Bad Plastic materials impair the overall appearance of the printer, the capacity of a 100-sheet paper feeder is likely to be too small for an average small office, and the output speed is lacking compared to the competition.
The Bottom Line My brother certainly makes a lot of highly respected all-in-one printers, but the J885DW is not one of them.
These days, $ 150 – about £ 100 or $ 200 – buys you an “average” multifunction inkjet printer. You know: printing, scanning, copying – and good old-fashioned fax capabilities. Of course you will be cheaper, but at that price you can usually handle decent accessories like an automatic duplexer (duplexer) and a double-size paper tray for both standard and photo paper.
Indeed, the Brother of MFC-J885DW, part of the Work Smart series for small offices, has all these features priced at $ 150 (£ 140 or $ 250). But unlike many other big Brother printers, this one simply misses the mark in several key areas; its low print speed is easily outweighed by competition, its design suffers from cheap plastic materials, and the capacity of the paper tray is not enough for serious home office professionals. It’s just a “don’t buy” apartment.
Note that the MFC-J885DW discussed here is identical MFC-J880DW (model number, exclusive to some online and international retailers).
Brother MFC-J885DW (pictures)
Design and features
The Brother MFC-J885DW can fit in relatively small spaces thanks to its compact foot, which measures 15.9 inches (39.9 cm) wide, 13.4 inches (34 cm) deep and 6.8 inches (17.3 cm) in height. Although you will need a little extra space for the paper tray, that’s where my complaints begin.
The tray is removable, which is useful for loading paper, but why does a printer that positions itself as a small office only have 100 sheets of regular paper size? Brother says he can print up to 2,500 pages a month (also called “duty cycle”), so be prepared to fill up the tray a lot if you think you fit that much print volume. For comparison, most printers for small businesses and home offices have a tray of at least 150 sheets.
|Price as reviewed||$149.99|
|Dimensions in Inches (Width x Depth x Height)||15.7 x 13.4 x 6.8 inches (39.9 x 34 x 17.3cm)|
|Inks||4-ink tank (Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow)|
|Automatic 2-sided printing (duplexer)||Yes|
|Automatic Document Feeder||Yes, 20 sheets|
|Memory Card Reader||USB, MemoryStick, SD|
|Connectivity||USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint, Brother Cloud apps, Brother iPrint&Scan|
|Paper Input Tray Capacity||100 Sheets|
|Display||2.7″ (6.9cm) color TouchScreen display|
Brother is trying to supplement this with a separate input tray on top of the main one, which houses an additional 20 sheets of 4-inch-6-inch photo paper, but the quality of the folding is a really important problem, too. The plastic used by the company is really thin and light, and I was still worried that parts of the tray would break off every time I put it back in the car. Everything from the doors of the multimedia card reader to the expanded document feeder made of the same plastic, and this gives the printer an overall cheap feel.
The good news, however, is that the features that Brother has built into the printer are not lacking, and that is all business benefits for working day productivity. As mentioned earlier, you get a 20-sheet document feeder on the top to send multi-page documents, and a duplexer at the back of the device that you can use to save money by printing on both sides of a single sheet of paper.
Because Brother hopes that the average consumer will find as many useful programs in the J885DW as the small business, there is also a media card compartment to the left of the center console. It comes with a port for PictBridge compatible USB cameras or just a USB data key, and you get a dual card reader for Sony MemorySticks and SD cards.
As you may have seen with other modern printers, the control panel is deprived of buttons instead of the 2.7-inch (6.9 cm) touch screen LCD. Personally, I prefer hard keys to shortcuts and dials, but it’s a matter of personal preference. The screen records finger touches with precision, and I can see that it is useful to fine-tune exactly which programs and settings you want to use for a particular office setup.
The color scanner is hidden on top underneath the lid, and you can use the scan-to feature to send a document directly to a variety of destinations: email, media card, computer file, flash memory, and more. You can also use the free Brother iPrint&Scan app to send jobs directly to a mobile device.
Connectivity and wireless
You can quickly connect to any computer running Windows or Mac OS using a simple USB cable, but if you do, you will not be able to take advantage of the many additional wireless data.
Using direct access to Wi-Fi, the printer guided me through the process of connecting it to my network, and I was able to get up and operate wireless for five minutes – it was very simple and orderly. And if you have an NFC-compatible smartphone, you can just place your phone over the NFC area of the printer and just as easily start printing photos and reminders.
Like many large format printers, Brother offers a complete suite of cloud printing software that lets you use your smartphone or tablet with web services such as Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox, and others to view projects across a wide range of services.
In addition, Brother also works well with Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint to send wireless tasks to and from the printer using the Google Chrome web browser and Apple iOS devices respectively.
In addition, Brother also deserves a little extra credit for providing a limited two-year printer warranty, which includes free phone support throughout the product. The standard warranty we usually see with printers is only one year, so Brother is good for staying longer with her product.
Ink and supplies
The ink cartridge compartment is located behind the fragile plastic door to the right of the paper tray and contains the cartridges of blue, magenta, yellow and black that come with the printer. The cartridges are easy to install, and you may not even need a guide to figure it out. The process is much easier than lifting the entire scan compartment and the document feeder to get to the tanks.
The good news is that you will spend less on refilling ink compared to competing printers in the same price range, even more than it will take in the future. Assuming you are investing in Brother XL cartridges that offer better value for front-panel volume increase, costs up to 2 cents per page of colored ink and 4.6 cents per page of plain black text. This is less than the same cost of XL ink Epson XP-420 (3.5 pennies for color, 5 cents for black), so you’ll save money if you end up printing lots of color photos and business supplies.
While I would consider the Brother MFC-J885DW’s output quality to be good for professionals, the print speed leaves many room for improvement and ultimately led to my decision to give this printer a less favorable review.
I expected his print speed to be at least on par with his own Brother MFC-J470DW , but it really lagged even when printing our standard ten-page sample black paper. This model could only spin at 5.31 pages per minute (ppm), while the J470DW slipped past 9.78 ppm, almost double the speed.
The print engine also couldn’t keep up with the competition in full-color graphic page testers with an average speed of just 4.13 ppm. The only area where the J885DW has earned a small honor is a 4-inch 6-inch test shot where it was able to print 7.73 ppm.
Just not to sniff
My brother certainly makes a lot of highly respected all-in-one printers, but the J885DW is not one of them. The speed of output will make you wait for the printer when your work is done, and I suspect that most offices will also be disappointed with the build quality, even at $ 150. Coupled with the low paper feed capacity, purchasing this printer means that you will be subjected to a lot of work at low speeds.
If you are serious about buying a printer for your home office, MFC-J470DW is a much better option – it has all the same features as this device, but with dedicated buttons on the control panel, cheaper ink refilling and $ 50 less than the retail price. The only thing you have to donate from the J885DW is the touch screen and NFC compatibility.