Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:05

Brother – serious business

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Brother, best known for sewing machines and lower cost printers has upped the ante by moving most of its new range into the professional use space. Driven by the realisation that printer are now more used as on and off ramps to the internet Brother started changing two fundamental premises.

The first was that lower cost printers were simply an excuse for higher priced ink and toner. Its new business inkjets print mono from 2 cents a page and colour from 10 cents – considerably less if you buy consumables in bulk.

The second is that business grade features like Airprint, iPrint, Cloud Print, Web Connect, duplex scanning, Wi-Fi Direct, A3 printing and more have been bought down to its affordable range.

No this is not an advertisement for Brother – just a realisation that there is another serious player in the corporate space.

For corporate users its commercial web site highlights solution for managed print services, workgroup printing, mobile and cloud solutions, and scanning. It is also a specialist in desktop barcode and label printers, and ultra-portable A4 thermal printers that are becoming the staple of the road warrior.

For the pro-sumer (SOHO workgroup devices, inkjets and lasers) its web site offers mono and colour printers, multi-function centres. They also have ScanNCut – home and hobby scanner/cutters that will cut paper, fabric, vinyl, and iron on – great for scrap bookers and hobbyists.

The new business range of inkjets is aptly titled “It’s the Business” - distinguished by a black chassis instead of the usual beige.

The two A4/A3 models, MFP-J5320DW ($229 – exclusive to Office Works) and MFC-J5720DW ($299) use the same 22/20ppm inkjet engine that uses high capacity inks to get the print cost down. The main difference is the latter has a second 250-sheet tray and duplex scanning – it is the one to buy.

I saw the printer’s capabilities at a recent demonstration. They are flexible, well made, capable of withstanding commercial use and compatible with a range of print management and other apps called ‘BSI – Brother Software interface’. The popular Paper-Cut print management and costing software works with these printers.

Print quality was good to great. No it ine to buyookers and hobbiestsrabel hier sis. These also accept A3 paper and lliant but its completelyt acceptable tos not a laser so colours are slightly less brilliant but it iw is completely acceptable for commercial presentations. It can print a photo on up to 260gsm paper that is as good as a commercial print. And remember it has A3 – great for spreadsheets etc.

In summary two very useful business grade printers at prices that are more than competitive.

Brother also released the DCP-J4120DW ($199) and MFC-J4620DW (229) printers for home use – these come in the more familiar beige/black chassis. These also accept A3 paper. Unlike their ‘business’ counterparts they use standard inks so printing will be more comparable with other home printers.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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