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Brother MFC-J985DW XL Work Smart All-in-One

Introduction, Design Features

If you’ve followed a printer reviews during all over a past few years, we might have beheld that Computer Shopper has conducted a rather spontaneous debate vituperation opposite a cost of consumables: ink for inkjet printers, and toner for laser and laser-class/LED-based machines. We have no approach of revelation how many change a ruminations and protestations on a theme have had, yet there’s no denying that a cost of regulating printers, generally inkjet ones, has left down.

Over a past integrate years, 3 of a heading inkjet-printer makers—HP, Epson, and Brother—have grown and instituted new ink-delivery systems to reduce a cost of regulating any company’s printers, in terms of a per-page cost of consumables. The systems are called Instant Ink, EcoTank, and INKvestment, respectively. Plus, any printer maker, in a possess way, has come adult with a module to save we income when shopping ink. As you’ll see as we examination on, Brother’s INKvestment module offering in today’s examination unit, a $299.99-list MFC-J985DW XL Work Smart All-in-One, is by distant a many candid of a three—and one of a slightest costly over time.

Computer Shopper has lonesome HP’s Instant Ink and Epson’s EcoTank ink-delivery systems in some fact in a accumulation of reviews, deputy ones being those of HP’s Envy 7640 e-All-in-One PrinterEpson’s WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank All-in-OneWorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank All-in-One is substantially closest in price, features, and ability to today’s Brother examination unit.

As with Epson’s EcoTank, this INKvestment printer comes with “two years” value of ink, or in this box ink for 7,200 black-and-white prints or 3,600 tone prints. What that works out to is 300 monochrome pages per month, or about 10 pages per day (based on a 30-day month). But what’s some-more critical here is a tangible cost of those pages. The primary disproportion between a INKvestment and EcoTank systems is that Epson has designed a printers to concede them to reason some-more ink in oversize bags or reservoirs, while Brother has simply enclosed additional cartridges in a box, and lowered a prices of deputy ink cartridges overall.

As you’ll see in a Setup, Cost Per Page, and Paper Handling sections after on, as with EcoTank, with INKvestment we compensate extremely some-more on a per-page basement for a initial spin of ink—here, a 12 cartridges enclosed in a box—than we do for successive ones. In fact, as we’ll mangle out later, a per-page cost of a deputy inks is one of a lowest we’ve seen, generally if we imitation a lot of color.

Keep in mind, though, that this is a comparatively low-volume printer. You can’t pull tens of thousands of pages by it any month, no matter how inexpensive a ink is. As you’ll see in a Design Features territory next, it’s usually not designed for complicated volume outlay of any type.

One some-more thing to keep in mind as we go by this examination is that Brother also offers a non-“XL” chronicle of a MFC-J985DW, during a $199.99 list price. It doesn’t come with 3 sets of ink cartridges, though. Instead, it comes with one set of a XL tanks, and we can buy additional ones for utterly cheap—inexpensive adequate to yield a same cost-per-page (CPP) total as a XL model. As you’ll see in a Cost Per Page territory after in this review, purchasing a non-XL indication might be some-more careful for some buyers.

In possibly case, this is a good low-volume printer with a good CPP. As we’ve pronounced a few times about EcoTank, though, INKvestment (especially if we go with a more-expensive XL model) creates clarity usually if we imitation adequate to clear a aloft squeeze price.

Design Features

A primary disproportion between this INKvestment printer and a others mentioned above is that essentially, other than throwing a lot of ink cartridges in a box and obscure a prices of deputy cartridges, no hardware changes had to be finished to a printer to accommodate a ink-delivery system.

Otherwise, a MFC-J985DW XL is a mostly standard low-volume all-in-one printer, starting with a 20-sheet involuntary request tributary (ADF) for pulling originals to a scanner. Unfortunately, this is not an auto-duplexing ADF, definition that it can’t indicate two-sided pages automatically; doing that requires user involvement for any sheet. The imitation engine, on a other hand, can imitation two-sided papers automatically, yet your assistance to spin a pages over to imitation a other side.

At 16.5 inches across, by 13.4 inches from front to back, by 6.8 inches tall, and weighing a slight 18.3 pounds, a MFC-J885DW XL is utterly compact, with a low profile. In addition, it should act utterly respectfully subsequent to we on your desk, yet any important jolt or sound while printing. It also supports Wi-Fi Direct (for joining to a printer with your Android mobile device yet possibly being connected to a network or router), as good as Near-Field Communication (NFC). NFC is touch-to-print functionality, in that we hold your Android phone or inscription to a hotspot on a printer, circled in red in a picture below.

Some options, such as cloud copy and Wi-Fi, are set adult in standard demeanour and are configured from a 2.7-inch touch-screen display, that in this box comprises a whole control panel, as shown here…

From here we can trigger and configure many of a printer’s functions, such as PC-free/walk-up printing, copying, and scanning, as good as joining to several cloud sites around a Internet. Notice that a Power symbol and a Wi-Fi connectivity-status LED are a usually dual portions of a control intrigue that are not indeed partial of a control panel. Occasionally, we found that we had to wade low into a MFC-J985DW menu structure to find and get things done, yet for many common tasks it was easy to use.


One of a advantages of environment adult tiny all-in-ones like this is that they’re easy to get out of a box and onto your network (or connected to a singular PC around USB). Comparatively speaking, a rabble smoke-stack of fasten and make-up materials from this printer was light and all was simply removed. Getting this AIO out of a box, powered up, installing a network drivers, loading paper, installing a ink cartridges, and copy a initial exam page took about 20 to 30 minutes—about normal for an entry-level printer.

Part of a setup routine is, of course, installing a ink cartridges. As mentioned, a MFC-J985DW XL comes with 3 sets of 4 (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, or CMYK) of Brother’s XL ink tanks for this printer. As you’ll see, though, it’s not these initial tanks that yield a best value; it’s not until we start purchasing a deputy cartridges that this printer starts profitable off. Those assets come pleasantness of a reduced prices on a cartridges. But let’s demeanour initial during a ink that comes with a printer.

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