Last week I reviewed small office/home office – SOHO - printers and my conclusion was that Brother’s A4 - and occasional A3 - MFC-J4710DW was class leading in every respect. SOHO users typically print about 4,000 pages (8 reams per year) so its 8 cents per page print cost coupled with the extraordinary low purchase price of $299 – for a top end, fully featured model - blew the competition out of the water.
Brothers MFC-J6x20 series are part of its professional range designed for typical business use of 12-18,000 pages per annum. Because it uses the same 1200 page colour inks as the J4710 – and has the option of an even larger 2400 page capacity black ink – its print cost is even lower – under 8 cents for colour and 2 cents for mono if using high capacity cartridges.
Attempts to achieve a paperless office has seen multi-function printers become the on-ramp (scanner) and off ramp (hard copy) - the number of pages printed are dropping - but the number of printers are growing.
Business is now more a sophisticated buyer. Inkjets of the past may have suffered in comparison to lasers but now the gap has closed on quality, print cost and speed. If you add the MFC’s functionality - better workflow and productivity - you can see why these printers are selling well and taking over workgroup printing. In Brother’s MFC-J6920DW the advantages – low purchase price, duplex scan, and now lower page costs put it in a winning spot.
The three models MFC-J6520DW, J6570DW and J6970DW (D stands for Duplex and W for wireless) share the same chassis and basic specifications.
- Print speed: A4 - 35ppm mono and 27ppm colour (fast mode) and around 20ppm quality mode. A3 is about half A4 speed. Duplex is about 10 ppm.
- Double sided scan and borderless print A3 – includes copy and fax as well
- Wi-Fi N, USB, and Ethernet IPv4/6 LAN connection, plus Wi-Fi Direct and NFC wireless pairing
- Print from internet (iPad - AirPrint, Android – Google Cloud Print, Windows Phone – iPrint and Scan), DropBox, SkyDrive, Google Drive as well as from apps including Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and more
- Print directly from USB flash up to 64GB, SD/MM card and Pictbridge cameras (includes 10 edit options to enhance the photo before printing)
- Paper from 3.5” wide up to A3 and 220gsm (Duplex 90gsm)
- Drivers: Windows XP or later including server – Universal driver mode for mixed Brother printer environment. Windows MFL-Pro suite includes Control Centre4, ScanSoft PaperPort 12 SE with OCR. Mac includes similar functionality
- Size/Weight: 553x433x310mm, 16.5kg for full spec model
- Monthly duty cycle up to 1500 pages
- Ink: LC133 C,Y,M,K for 600 pages each. LC135XL for 1200 pages each. LC139XLBK for 2400 pages black only.
Brother’s previous J6x10 professional A3 series printers earned it number one IDC ranking for A3 inkjets in business. Brother’s market share grew by 5.9% in 2012 and it is fourth in market share behind HP, Canon, and Epson. In Australia – probably due to its huge dealer network and distribution via computer stores as well as retailers - it is doing very well. You can always find a bargain online as well.
Read on for the hands on review
The J6x20 series uses intelligent apps accessed via its touch screen. These allow for Outline and Scan/Copy – where a red marker pen can be used on the original to create a print/copy or erase zone, WebConnect - for printing and scanning to and from a range of cloud storage, and PrintDirect from digital camera and storage devices.
Brother will pay the cost of recycling their end-of-life printers when returned to a Brother dealer or RecyclingNearYou station.
Its colour inks use environmentally friendly dye – only black uses a pigment to ensure sharpest text and solid black.
Hands on review
I spent time with the top of the line model which adds a 250 sheet paper draw – one for A3 and one for A4 - and larger 3.7” touch screen. It also has the all important duplex scanning. In all other respects, it is the same as the lower cost versions.
It is very easy to setup – especially if using Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Simply install the drivers on either a server or each PC/Mac and you have full scan, copy, print and send/receive fax from each PC/Mac.
Prints on bond paper were inferior to laser but in quality mode on coated stock were equal to – it is all a matter of selecting the right paper and the right resolution. Prints on photo paper were equal to commercial photo prints. Because it is an inkjet and does not use a heated fuser as a laser does – it can print on a range of media like vinyl etc.
There is only one issue typical of all inkjets – less so of lasers. The first print time is dependent on the image being ‘rasterised’ or RIPed by your computer and output as a bit map e.g. the printer is ‘dumb’ and does little post processing. On a low power PC you can wait up to 30 seconds for a first print but thereafter the pages print at full speed as the printers memory buffer fills.
Other reviews have rated it 4 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 stars and I concur.
MFC-J6520DW $279 (December 2013 – single draw – no duplex scanning or NFC)
MFC-J6720DW $299 (special for Office Works – no duplex scanning or NFC)
MFC-J6920DW $429 (available now – the works)
Who should consider this?
Anyone wanting A3
Networked SOHO users and small business workgroups - system administrators will be happy that it has remote admin, admin password, secure function lock out, user setup and switching, and server side software too. Setup documentation is excellent.
Throw away any pre-conceptions about inkjets being inferior to lasers and save a bundle.