Introduction, Design Features
‘Tis the season of the low-cost, entry-level all-in-one (AIO) printer. Recently, we’ve reviewed models from Canon (the Pixma TS3120 Wireless All-in-One), HP (the DeskJet 2655 All-in-OneDeskJet 3755 All-in-One), and now Brother’s $149-street MFC-J775DW, today’s review model. While the Canon and HP machines cost under $100, and the MFC-J775DW costs more for the same speed ratings and capacities, the Brother costs significantly less to use.
And that’s the primary reason the MFC-J775DW lists for more than $100. (Aside, perhaps, from its automatic document feeder, or ADF, for scanning multipage documents without assistance; most sub-$100 models lack one.) It is one of Brother’s INKvestment line of AIOs, the company’s response to Epson’s EcoTank and Canon’s MegaTank bulk-ink models, which ask you to pay more for the machine up front to save on the ongoing per-page price of ink. Hence, in our Cost Per Page section later on, we’ll show you how (in this printer’s case, anyway) paying an additional $50 or so for the printer itself could—if you use it enough—save you significantly in consumables over the life of the machine.
How do Brother’s INKvestment machines differ from MegaTank and EcoTank AIOs? The INKvestment models use typical ink cartridges, whereas the Canon and Epson machines get their ink from bottles. You use them to fill reservoirs built into the printers themselves. In addition, the Canon and Epson models come with enough ink in the box to churn out thousands of pages, compared to the MFC-J775DW’s initial 2,400 monochrome and 1,200 color pages.
You can, by the way, buy an “XL” iteration of the MFC-J775DW that comes with three sets of cartridges, for three times the prints, for an additional $100. This puts the XL version in direct competition with Epson’s Expression ET-2600 EcoTank All-in-OnePixma G3200 Wireless MegaTank All-in-OnePixma TR7520Pixma G4200. Even so, all of these low-volume models are small for what they do, and even though extending their input and output trays increases their height and length, they all take up a minimal amount of space on the average desktop.
The MFC-J775DW’s connectivity options consist of Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and connecting to a single PC via USB. Wi-Fi Direct is, of course, a router-less peer-to-peer network protocol for connecting the printer to your mobile devices. In addition to Wi-Fi Direct, other mobile options include Google Cloud Print, Mopria, Cortado Workplace, and Brother’s own iPrintScan. Brother’s own bouquet of cloud apps include Office Doc Creator, Outline Copy, Outline Remove, Outline Scan, and Notescan (the last for scanning to Microsoft OneNote 365).
That ADF we mentioned earlier holds 20 pages, but it can’t copy or scan two-sided pages automatically; very few, if any, entry-level AIOs can do that. The MFC-J775DW doesn’t support flash memory drives, either, which is somewhat unusual for an AIO at this price, but it does come with Scansoft PaperPort SE with OCR for Windows and Presto PageManager for Mac. Both programs provide document management functions, and more than just the rudimentary optical character recognition (for converting scanned text to editable text) that comes with several other lower-end AIO scanners.
Overall, the MFC-J775DW’s feature list is rather basic, as is the printer itself. The control panel, for example, consists of a 1.8-inch, non-touch color display and several buttons, including four directional keys, an OK button, and a number pad. Like the printer itself, this isn’t the most sophisticated control panel we’ve seen, but it gets the job done with little to no confusion.
Setup Cost Per Page
Setting up the MFC-J775DW and installing the software is so straightforward that we don’t have a lot to say about it. This AIO’s small size and light weight make it quite simple to remove from its box and maneuver into place. Tape and other packing materials were minimal, and the bundled software and drivers installed without a hitch. The entire setup process, from opening the box to printing our first test page, took about 15 minutes.
Brother’s ink cartridge set for this printer comes in only one size: a 2,400-page black ink tank for $25 and three 1,200-page color (cyan, magenta, yellow) cartridges for $15 each. Using these advertised page yields and prices, we calculated the MFC-J775DW’s running costs at 1 cent per monochrome page and, from the combined color and black cartridges, about 4.7 cents per color page. By comparison, the running costs for Epson’s beefier (though similarly priced) WorkForce WF-3720 All-in-One are 3.2 cents per monochrome page and 11.6 cents per color one, while the HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 All-In-One prints at 3.2 cents monochrome and 10.4 cents color.
On the other hand, comparable (but higher-priced) bulk-ink models, such as the Canon G4200 and the Epson ET-2600 discussed earlier, deliver running costs of under 1 cent a page for both black-and-white and color pages, but again: They cost significantly more money. If you plan to print a lot of color pages or photographs, though, the supertanker models are better deals, albeit also a bit slower. (Also note: Some of the EcoTank models, such as the ET-2600, can’t print borderless pages, which, in effect, cancels them out as effective photo printers.)
Paper handling on the MFC-J775DW is simple. It consists of one 100-sheet tray, with no multipurpose or override tray. Printed pages land on a small output tray that extends out just above the input tray…
During our tests, we printed hundreds of pages, documents, and photos, and we ran several stacks of originals through the ADF, with—as we’ve come to expect from Brother AIOs—flawless performance. We experienced no paper jams, no misaligned scans or copies, nor even misfeeds of more than one sheet of paper.