Brother Economic-to-Use MFC-J5620DW All-in-One Printer

A smart, business-ready wide-format printer with superb CPPs for this class

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Brother MFC-J5620DW. Brother

If you’ve poked around the Printers & Scanners section of About.com for any time at all, you don’t have to read much here to know that I’m fighting the good fight against exorbitant per-page consumables costs, or the high cost per page (CPP) of ink or toner. In other words, when a printer maker claims that a machine is “high volume,” inherent in that claim is the understanding that keeping the printer supplied with ink won’t take you to poor house.

 

We all know that printer makers make the bulk of their money from selling consumables. However, it’s also safe to assume that while most of us feel that, yes, printer manufacturers deserve to earn a profit, the size of said profit should be reasonable. And that’s the case with the subject of today’s review, Brother’s $199.99-list MFC-J5620DW—a full featured all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printer with terrific CPPs—especially for an under-$200 machine.

Design & Features

Aside from being very inexpensive to use, which we’ll discuss in a moment, the MFC-J5620DW is loaded with productivity and convenience features—with the most notable being its ability to print on oversize pages up to tabloid-, or 11x17 inches, size paper. However, unlike several other wide-format models, such as HP’s $249.99 HP Officejet 7610 Wide Format e-All-in-One Printer or Brother’s own $299.99-list MFC-J6920DW, this one cannot scan, copy, and fax tabloid-size pages.

 

As do most standard-size (letter, or 8.5x11) AIOs, the scanner here supports pages up to legal, or 8.5x14 inches. The automatic document feeder (ADF) supports up to 35 pages at a time, but it’s not, unfortunately, an auto-duplexing ADF, which means it can’t process two-sided, multipage originals without user intervention.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or a direct connection to a single PC via USB; however, some of the printer’s features, such as connecting to cloud sites and other services on the Internet, won’t work when connecting it directly with USB. These, and several other PC-free features, such as Brother Web Connect, which lets you connect the printer to popular services, such as Evernote, Google Drive, Flickr, Dropbox, Box, and Facebook.

The control panel is anchored by a 3.7-inch touch screen color LCD. In addition to using it for facilitating configuration, you can also use the control panel to initiate printing from and scanning to USB memory sticks, or PictBridge-compatible digital cameras and other PictBridge-compliant devices. In addition to these PC-free operations, you can also print from and scan to your smartphone, tablet, and laptop.

Finally, the MFC-J5620DW supports a wide range of mobile printing features, such as Apple’s AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, the free Brother iPrint&Scan app, Wi-Fi Direct, and Cortado Workplace. If you’re unfamiliar with the latest mobile printing features, check out this About.com “Mobile Printing Features – 2014” article for more details.

Performance, Paper Handling, and Print Quality

Like the MFC-J4610DW before it, the MFC-J5620DW is one of very few machines that we’ve seen that feed paper in wide, or landscape, orientation, rather than the traditional tall, or portrait. While Brother claims that this makes for more efficient printing and paper handling, so far, with this and the MFC-J4610DW, I’ve seen some somewhat slow print speeds, with the MFC-J5620DW often falling a page or two behind in page-per-minute heats, when compared to other like-priced AIO’s. 

But that’s not to say that the MFC-J5620DW is dismally slow—not at all. As to paper handling, this AIO comes with a spacious 250-sheet drawer up front and an 80-sheet override tray on the back.

The main drawer can be configured to hold pages up to 11x17 inches, or you can feed up to five tabloid pages at a time via the override tray on the back. 

As with most Brother printers I’ve seen, this one prints well, with no serious flaws or shortcomings. However, my experience is that when it comes to embedded photos and certain types of graphics, Brother printers’ output quality falls slightly behind some HP and Epson printers, especially these companies' photo printers. (Alas, that starts another story...) But again, that’s not to say the output was unusable—far from it. It’s just that some machines print certain types of graphics better than this one. On the other hand, when you print images on premium photo paper on this machine, the output looks quite good.

Cost Per Page

Way to go Brother! Let me start with the good news, this AIO’s super low cost per page. When you use Brother’s so-called “XXL” ink tanks with this printer, black-and-white pages will run under 2-cents each and color pages are under 7 cents. Not only are these great CPPs in general (more like something you’d find on a $300 or $400 machine), but they’re all-but unheard of for an under-$200 printer—a wide-format AIO at that.

For a detailed description of how choosing the wrong printer can cost you a small fortune, check out this About.com “When a $150 Printer Can Cost You Thousands” article.

Bottom Line

Honestly, this is the first tabloid printer I’ve seen with CPPs anywhere near this low. If you need a tabloid printer and plan to print a lot, put the Brother MFC-J5620DW near the top of your shopping list.

Click here for a more detailed review of the MFC-J5620DW.