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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
-Value Priced Inkjet
-Large LCD Touch Interface
-no duplex scanning
-slower in high res mode
-small paper tray
Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.
Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg.