They say bigger isn’t necessarily better but when it comes to printers, the greater the range of paper you can feed into your machine, the more versatile and useful it should be for your office. While there are a significant number of compact size multifunction printers available for small businesses, the Brother MFC-J5910DW goes the extra mile by accommodating everything from envelopes to A3 copies – for a very reasonable price.
This sleek black beast can in no way be described as compact. It weighs in at a chunky 10.9 Kg; measuring a reassuringly solid 485 x 408 x 242 mm. However, economical use is made of the space to pack in as many features as possible, beginning with the 35 sheet Auto Document Feeder on the top that also has a fold-down input tray.
The front control panel below the scanner is designed for exceptional ease of use. To the left are four large buttons that are neatly grouped in a square, with Fax, Copy, Scan and Photo set-ups. These are combined with the tilting 4.9cm colour touchscreen, for fast operation. To the right is a number pad for phone use, and further buttons for instant print and stop functions. These all work smoothly and efficiently.
Under the control panel you’ll find a USB port for flash cards and for PictBridge enabled cameras, together with a memory card slot for SD, MMC and a Memory Stick. Finally, at the bottom lies the expandable 250 sheet paper tray that does feel rather flimsy compared to the rest of the unit. This will mean irritating time delays, while you keep swapping out the different paper sizes. Beside the tray, is the panel concealing the four ink cartridges that are quick and easy to install, and replace.
When it comes to connectivity, only Bluetooth is unavailable – otherwise you can choose from Wi-Fi, Ethernet, direct USB 2.0 to your PC. This is all in addition to Brother’s iPrint&Scan phone software. Auto Duplex comes as standard and we were averaging around 4ppm for normal quality A4 text documents. This increased to nearly 20ppm for single-sided draft quality mono documents, whose quality was below boardroom expectations. 12ppm was achieved, for normal single-sided documents.
When it came to colour photos, normal quality 10 x 15 cm prints emerged in a rather sedate 52 seconds, with A4 sized images rather nippier at 2’20″ – with only 1’20″ for a copy of the same size. A3 print was equally quicker, at 3’30″. Generally, colours seemed muted and less vivid than might have been expected and sharpness suffered on copies of photos and using the iPrint&Scan. Cartridge life is much more impressive, with Brother offering XL versions of each which promise 2400 A4 pages for black (at around £22) and 1200 for each colour (at around £13).
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- Economic A3 printing as part of a multifunction package.
- Print colours appear rather pale and lifeless.
The Brother MFC-J5910DW is a sturdy multifunction printer that includes fax capability, good connectivity options and A3 sized printing (but not copying). This is together with excellent controls, however, it's let down by average quality printing and storage limitations.