Brother MFC-J5720DW Business Smart Plus Inkjet All-in-One

Fast 2-sided tabloid prints, scans, & copies from Brother’s MFC-J5720DW

Brother MFC-J5720DW
Brother MFC-J5720DW Multifunction Printer. Brother

The time of the inexpensive, low-cost-per-page, high-volume multifunction printer (MFP) appears to be upon us. By now, all of the major printer makers have come up with several relatively easy- and inexpensive-to-use, laser-busting, business-optimized multifunction (print, scan, copy, and fax) inkjet printers. Perhaps one of the more prolific MFP manufacturers, with many models in both its Business Smart and Business Smart Plus lines, is Brother.

The higher-end Business Smart Plus models, such as the topic of this review, Brother’s $249.99-list MFC-J5720DW Business Smart Plus Inkjet All-in-One, typically come ready to print hundreds, even thousands, of pages, quickly and relatively (in terms of overall cost per page) inexpensively—and that’s just the beginning.

Design & Features

At 19.3" x 13.6" x 12.1" (W"xD"xH") and weighing in at 31.7 pounds, the MFC-J5720DW is a little big (and perhaps too busy) to sit on your desktop. It is, however, built as many other Brother Smart Plus models are, so that paper, including the 11x17-inch (tabloid) sheets, feeds through the printer in wide, or landscape, orientation, thereby greatly decreasing the depth, or front to back, measurement—a technology Brother calls, interestingly, Landscape Print Technology.

The MFC-J5720DW’s feature list is extensive—to the point that I can’t possibly cover it all here. But here are the highlights, starting with the versatile 50-sheet auto-duplexing automatic document feeder for copying, scanning, and faxing 2-sided multipage originals. When you combine the auto-duplexing ADF with the MFC-J5720DW’s auto-duplexing print engine, you can make two-sided copies without user intervention.

But wait. The scanner does more than that. Like the scanning mechanisms in Canon’s relatively new Maxify MB5320 Wireless Small Office All-In-One Printer, this MFP’s scanner is “single-pass,” meaning that, due to the two-lens scanning mechanism, it can scan both sides of a page simultaneously, cutting scan time down to about half.

Alas, the MFC-J5720DW is above all else a printer, not a high-volume scanner. You can connect to it via Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or a single PC with a USB cable; or you can print, scan, copy, or fax PC-free from the control panel. In addition to the traditional copying, scanning, or faxing, you can setup printing from and scanning to a slew of supported cloud sites, including Google Cloud Print, Flickr, Dropbox, Evernote Business, and several others.

Other PC-free and mobile printing features include Wi-Fi Direct, Near-Field Communication (NFC), and a bunch of other mobile-friendly features. And you can print from or scan to several memory devices, including SD Cards and USB thumb drives.

Performance, Paper Handling, Print Quality

When it comes to volume and versatility, it’s hard to beat this MFP’s two massive 250-sheet input drawers, as well as an 80-sheet multipurpose tray on the back. Both drawers are capable of holding sheets up to tabloid size, and you can load up to five 11x17-inch sheets from the rear tray—in all, you get three input sources, all of which can hold the paper up to tabloid size, or twice the size of the letter (8.5x11 inches).

As for print speed, Brother claims a maximum of 35 pages per minute (ppm) for monochrome pages and 27ppm for color, which seems about right. Across the board, this is a fast printer. Print quality, text, and graphics look good, but I’ve seen better photograph prints. It’s not that Brother printers churn out “bad” looking photos, but they’re not photo printers. If that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere. The MFC-5720DW is a great office printer, and I’d be comfortable using it for most business applications, except, perhaps, customer-facing marketing material.

Cost Per Page

What I really liked about this MFP is its low cost per page, which isn’t bad at all for a midrange office printer. When you use the highest yield ink tanks for this printer, black-and-white pages should cost around 1.9 cents each, and color pages should cost about 7 cents each.

Compared to some recent $200 to $300 models, such as Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One, the monochrome CPP is a bit steep, but not by too much.

Conclusion

Let’s face it, there are a bunch of strong-performing business printers out there; choosing one isn’t easy. The good news is that as long as you keep your eye on the ink cost, most of them, including this MFC-J5720DW, should serve you well.