Brother MFC-J4510DW

The Brother MFC-J4510DW all-in-one printer leads with a stylishly compact chassis, and its web-connectivity rounds out an impressive list of useful features for small offices.


8.0
CNET Rating

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Brother is taking a step forward with the MFC-J4510DW all-in-one inkjet printer. Where previous models delivered basic features and boring hardware designs that fell far behind the competition, this small, office-friendly set-up deserves its "future-proof" descriptor, with web-connected features like cloud printing compatibility by way of Apple AirPrint, a 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen display and Wi-Fi connectivity. While its 150-sheet paper input capacity limits its usability for large teams, its fresh design and generous two-year warranty earns this printer top marks and a solid recommendation for personal offices and small workgroups.

Design and features

At first glance, you'll notice that the Brother MFC-J4510DW is remarkably compact compared to other multifunctional printers from the company, with a rectangular shape that departs from Brother's traditionally square set-up. Ancient rubber buttons and exposed paper trays jutting into all directions marred Brother devices from the past, but the MFC-J4510DW gets a modular design with folding media trays, an integrated USB cable that routes through the centre of the unit and an adjustable 3.7-inch touchscreen display on the front that automatically calibrates to sense the pressure of your finger. The unit's dimensions are manageable, and two cut-outs on either side of the printer make less work out of inter-office transportation.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The 150-sheet paper input tray pulls out of the bottom and actually incorporates another folding plastic tray on top that collects outbound prints. I wouldn't expect large offices to consider this kind of printer, but its 13,000-pages-per-month printing limit combined with the 150-sheet input capacity means this device will thrive in small workgroups or even as a silent partner in a start-up office environment.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The most innovative feature on this model is Brother's new internal paper-feeding mechanism that instructs you to load paper horizontally. Contrary to most printers, this brave new step allows Brother to keep the physical chassis short and narrow, but it also means you can print on abnormally long tabloid-sized media (ie, 11x17-inch paper). In that case, you'll need to use the manual feed loader on the rear of the device, but the front end holds its own with automatic-duplexing for printing on both sides of paper and a top-loading, 20-sheet auto-document feeder for loading stacks of media to scan or fax.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The control panel sits squarely in the centre of the unit, and comprises a backlit 3.7-inch touchscreen as well as a collection of virtual buttons that let you dial a fax number, return to the home screen or exit out of a menu. Perhaps borrowing more features from other printer manufacturers, the buttons light up only when you're in a mode that requires their use. Thankfully, Brother appears to have done its research, and the touch display doesn't suffer from screen sensitivity issues plaguing other printer vendors. Finally, there's also a small Wi-Fi indicator on the bottom-right side of the panel that shows signal strength and alerts you to outages in the network.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Although Brother doesn't include a cable in the box, you can always connect the printer to your computer through the USB port routed inside the guts of the printer. Otherwise, its AirPrint compatibility and Wi-Fi direct set-up both offer easy ways to go wireless. Using the wireless access point also gives you the opportunity to pull photos from the printer's integrated apps in the cloud, from sites like Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Evernote, Google Docs and Dropbox.

A panel on the right side of the MFC-J4510DW pulls down to reveal access to the four separate ink cartridges: magenta, cyan, yellow and black. Brother isn't the only company that does this, but this unit unfortunately ships with a set of "starter" pack cartridges that don't contain as much ink as a refill pack — it's a bad first impression to the brand, and an insult to the customer who just spent money on your product.

Of course, the Brother web store offers an array of ink packages and yields to accommodate your printing preferences from a standard cartridge to the XL series that produces 600 pages per cartridge, all the way up to the XXL series, which nets 1,200 pages.

Performance

The MFC-J4510DW pulled down respectable results in CNET's standard throughput tests. Its scores trailed the Epson WorkForce 645 in the results, leading with 11.81 pages per minute (PPM) in the text speed tests.

Output performance varies according to the quality setting selected within the print driver menu, but we recommend keeping the setting at "Best" for things like office handouts, student essays and personal projects. Photos on Brother's own glossy 4x6-inch paper appear with little to complain about, roughly on par with the industry, though we did notice a few spots that lacked visual resonance and a vibrant hue. We'll concede that this is likely due to the limits of tricolour cartridges, and the graphics quality — which also includes pictures — came out with respectable features for the price.

Conclusion

The MFC-J4510DW's work-friendly features (ADF, auto-duplexing, USB reader) play well with its cloud competence, and the redesigned chassis adds another layer of freshness to a company that we previously considered a benchwarmer in the printer game. If you're working out of your home or shopping for a printer to use in a small office, this workhorse is worth your investment.

Via CNET.com

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