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Review: Brother Multifunction MFC-J835DW

- December 20th, 2011

MFC-J835dw-front

I have to admit I don’t use a printer as often as I have in the past, but there are certainly times when one comes in handy, especially when one that’s feature full and value-priced and actually gives you a few little extras for you never expected.

This is the case with the Brother Multifunction MFC-J835DW All–in-one colour inkjet (Suggested Retail $149.95CDN), which I had an opportunity to take for a test drive. As an MFC, it certainly does what you’d expect – print, copy scan & fax.

You can access the printer 3 ways, via USB 2.0, Ethernet or through Wi-Fi, a fairly easy to set up wireless interface (802.11 B/G/N), which you can actually configure without having to cable up first.

Wireless printing is also not limited just to your computer. You can also print from media cards and flash drives from the easily accessible slots on the front of the unit. Furthermore, printing extends from your mobile devices -iPhone, Android, etc., via Google Cloud Print, Brother’s iPrint&Scan, and expected in Q1 2012 via Air Print and Cortado Workplace.

 

Duplex Printing

It has a 20-page document feeder that you can flip open to expose; a 100-sheet paper tray as well as duplex printing capabilities – nice bonus, so it can automatically print on both sides of your paper. It also incorporates a photo bypass tray that can store up to 20-sheets of 4×6 photo paper. It does not have duplex scanning as far as I can see.

It has a nice small footprint. Its body has a high-gloss black finish, decorated with a designer swirl motif. It measures 15.9″ x 14.9″ x 7.1″ and weighs 20 pounds.  It runs fairly quiet but it does like to sing its own tune when the firmware is being upgraded, which I did have to do. And yes, you can do that wirelessly too!

Printing speed is quite decent. On the average it’ll print 12ppm in monochrome and 10ppm in colour.  It is zippier in draft or low-res mode and slows down significantly when printing hi-res high-gloss photos.

Printing output is quite acceptable, small font printing is quite legible. It doesn’t reproduce the absolute finest photos I’ve seen on plain paper, but the unit does shine when using photo-paper.

brotouch

Large LCD Touch Screen Display

I was extremely impressed with the with the 3.3″ colour LCD touchscreen display. It’s fairly large; it’s bright, has an intuitive navigation and reactive to the touch. It’s great for set-up, selecting photos from a media card, plus it can be set at various angles for best possible viewing.

The touchscreen even has a web connect feature interface so you can get instant access to your Facebook, Picasa and Flickr accounts.

 

Prints on CDs/DVDs & Blu-ray Discs

One absolute bonus this printer offers is the ability to print on CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs that have a compatible printable surface. To facilitate this, the unit comes with a removable guide that you insert the disc into. It stores cleverly hidden under the printer’s top cover, when not in use.

broink

Quick Cartridge Access

Murphy’s Law states that you’ll need to change your ink cartridge when you have the least amount of time available. So it’s nice to see you don’t have to disassemble this unit to do that. On the front right there is a drop-down door that exposes the 4-cartridge ink system. Simply touch down lightly on the color tab of your choice and you can pull the cartridge.

It’s all about making it easy, isn’t it?

 

Bottom Line

Overall, I found that the Brother MFC-J835DW to be a nice little MFC printer. It looks good; it’s loaded with great features like duplex printing, a large touchscreen and wireless access.

If I had a wish list, on it would be the capability for duplex scanning and a larger paper tray. One thing I’d also like to see is perhaps a more sturdy and robust output paper guide. This one extends out the front and I worry that if I push or lean too hard on it that the plastic might break. But I guess that lighter plastic parts are a sign of the times.

Brother MFC-J835DW might not qualify as a stocking stuffer but since it’s wireless, you can certainly print to it even if it’s sitting under the tree.

It retails for $149.95 and comes with 4 LC-71 series starter cartridges, a CD with Mac and Windows software, the CD/DVD disc tray guide and the telephone line cord.

 

Pros

-Value Priced Inkjet

-Large LCD Touch Interface

-CD/DVD Printing

-Duplex printing

 

Cons:

-no duplex scanning

-slower in high res mode

-small paper tray

 

Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg.

 

 

 

 

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12 comments

  1. Bo | December 21, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    I bought one a couple of months ago, and, love it once I got it working.
    From a semi-techi point of view, I thought the wifi portion of the manual could be an easier read. The cable I bought to setup the wifi was the wrong one, and I had great difficulty knowing where to put it. BTW, it connects under the hood, but I had to call online help to find that.
    Speaking of the phone help desk, the first female ‘help’ desk person was extremely rude, and hung up on me.
    Fortunately, the one answering the next time I called was much more pleasant and walked me through the wifi setup without the cable. Magic.

  2. Greg Gazin | December 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    WiFi sections of most manuals could always be improved on. With that said, I did find the setup on the printer itself fairly straight forward. I also set up totally wirelessly so I didn’t need any cable at all.

    Sorry to hear about your situation with tech support. I usually have pretty good luck. Where were you calling from/to?

  3. Denis Levert | October 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    This printer worked fine for only one month.It seems to lose the wifi capability afterwards. I re-install the program;it pinted about a dozen pages and trhen gave up again!
    I tried connecting it with a usb cable but it still does not normaly work.
    Oups, it just started printing!
    I think It read my letter here as It had not worked all day!
    I only paid $89 for It at Best-buy!

  4. Greg Gazin | October 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Denis, When I first tried this one I had the issue, but realized that I had not had the most recent firmware installed. After that I was ok. They do have free tech support, so I would call them.

    In general, I found on a couple of printers that if they were not in use for long periods of time, they would lose there wifi connectivity and have to be reconfigured. It might also happen if you reset or if you change your password.

  5. Laraine Arkow | October 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I’ve had my printer less than a year, and it has already lost its wireless connection to all of my computers TWICE. This last time, I sent a document to the printer, I saw the little printer icon at the bottom of my screen, and then it suddenly vanished.

    Any advice? This is getting old.

  6. Greg Gazin | October 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Laraine, ensure you have the most recent firmware. You can also contact Brother tech support. http://www.brother.ca/en/contact/index.asp 1-877-BROTHER.

  7. Laraine Arkow | October 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I tried to download the latest firmware, as you suggested, and got a failure message. I know there is nothing wrong with my computer connections, as this is the second time this has happened with my printer.

  8. Laraine Arkow | October 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Okay, I’ll contact Brother’s tech support group and see if they can resolve this issue. Thanks.

  9. Greg Gazin | October 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Laraine, sorry you’re going through this. I’m sure there is nothing wrong with your computer. If you still want to go the firmware route, you might be best to hook a cable directly to the printer for the update. It’s been I while since I had to do the update.

  10. David Parker | December 10, 2012 at 5:07 am

    I have just run out of magenta and cyan on my third set of cartridges and am very low on yellow. In all, I have printed 45-50 text pages (mostly grey scale) and seven 8×10 photos on regular photo setting, not “best”. Seems like the ink is evaporating or being stole by the ink grimlin. To add insult to injury, I can still see ink through the little window in the cartridge.
    My two previous Brother printers produced many more copies than this one. Any ideas?

  11. Greg Gazin | December 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Wonder if the jet is blocked? Brother tech support is usually pretty good. http://www.brother.ca/en/contact/index.asp 1-877-BROTHER.

  12. Jerry W. Slovacek | March 4, 2014 at 1:13 am

    After replacing the jet ink cartridges several times, no problem, the last time I had to
    replace the magenta cartridge, I keep reinserting it, as requested, without any luck.
    Any suggestions ? Jerry

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