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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
High-quality prints and copies
Standard and high yield replacement cartridges
Large touchscreen interface
Slow scanning and copying
Low paper input cartridge capacity
Intermittent problems scanning to Windows
ADF only holds 20 sheets
The Brother MFC-J895DW is an entry-level all-in-one printer that features great print quality and has some nice features, but operating costs are just average and it suffers in some areas like color photo scanning.
The Brother MFC-J895DW is a light-duty all-in-one printer that’s designed for use in the home and small offices. It sports an attractive minimalist design that hides the paper tray and automatic document feeder (ADF) when not in use. It also has separate ink cartridges for magenta, cyan, yellow, and black, wired and wireless network connectivity, and near field communication (NFC) support for interfacing directly with smartphones.
I set up a Brother MFC-J895DW in my office and put it to the test over the course of five days. I printed and scanned from my workhorse Windows machine and my phone, ran off documents with text and graphics, printed a bunch of 4x6 and 8x10 photos, and really put this printer to the test to see whether it stands out in the crowded AIO market.
The Brother MFC-J895DW is a fairly standard all-in-one printer, with a rectangular shape that’s dressed up a bit with curves and bevels. It has a very neat appearance when not in use, as the paper tray slides in securely to the body, and the automatic document feeder folds down flat to blend in seamlessly with the top of the printer.
When you flip the ADF open, you’re greeted by a fairly low capacity paper guide that can be adjusted for a variety of document sizes. The other side of the lid opens as well, but just to provide access to the internals in case of a jam.
Flipping open the lid reveals the scanner bed in case you want to scan a single document or need to scan something that’s too thick to fit through the automatic document feeder.
The main control panel sits below the scanner bed. With a large color touchscreen and a handful of physical buttons, the MFC-J895DW was more user friendly than most of the printers in this category that I’ve tested.
To the left of the control panel, a flip-down cover hides an SD memory card slot and a USB port if you want to print directly from storage media. To the right, another flip-down cover hides the ink cartridges, providing very easy access for installation and replacement.
Below the control panel, you’ll find a flip-up mechanism to help catch and hold your printed material, and then the paper cartridge below that. The single paper cartridge is easy to adjust for different sizes of paper and can hold about 150 sheets of standard A4 paper.
Initial setup involves the removal of protective tape from various moving components, removal of a shim that comes installed in the ink compartment, and then installation of the ink. Convenient on-screen instructions will walk you through the process to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Installation of the ink cartridges is remarkably easy, due to the convenient flip-down cover that provides easy access. The printer takes four cartridges: magenta, cyan, yellow, and a single black for both photos and text documents, and they install very quickly.
Your exact setup process will vary depending on the type of computer or phone you use, but my experience was smooth using the Android app. After connecting the printer to my network with the help of my Android phone and the Brother iPrint&Scan app, I was printing my first documents and photos just a few minutes after I finished installing the ink cartridges.
When working purely with text documents, the Brother MFC-J895DW puts out some of the best quality I’ve seen out of an inkjet printer. The text is dark and sharp. You really couldn’t expect anything better out of a printer in this price range. I’m not as big a fan of the duplex mode, which produces lower quality prints, but it’s a nice feature to have if you absolutely need it.
The Brother MFC-J895DW also handled graphics quite well for my test prints, with decent color reproduction and an acceptable level of detail when printing on normal paper.
Photos came out better than I expected for an all-in-one printer in this price range. Color reproduction was great and very nicely saturated, blacks look quite good for only using a single type of black ink, and fine details come through clear as day.
The Brother MFC-J895DW prints fast enough to warrant use in a home office environment, spitting out black and white text at a rate of just under 11ppm (pages per minute). That’s in standard quality too, with crisp, dark text, not a draft mode.
When printing documents that include color graphics, the speedy rate drops quite a bit. I measured a rate of just under 5ppm when printing documents that included color graphics. Not exactly a snail’s pace, but significantly slower than other printers I’ve tested.
The MFC-J895DW chokes even more when printing color photos on glossy paper. I clocked it at just a bit under four minutes to print a borderless 8x10-inch photo. Smaller 4x6-inch photos came out much faster, at about 30 seconds each.
Using both the ADF and the flatbed scanner, the Brother MFC-J895DW creates crisp, clear scans of documents that were purely black and white. The resulting PDFs looked great, and printing from PDF or from the direct copy function both resulted in crisp text and accurately reproduced graphics.
The scanner struggles more with scanning color photos, with the resultant scans lacking the same color depth and saturation of the original photos. The results were decent, but I wouldn’t want to use this device for archiving important photos.
Color photo scans also take a lot longer than they should, especially considering the quality of the output. Black and white scans are much snappier.
While this printer can auto-duplex when printing, it does not have the ability to automatically scan both sides of a two-sided document. You can scan and copy a stack of one-sided documents and print them as two-sided documents, but scanning two-sided documents must be carried out manually.
If you’ve heard that Brother doesn’t offer a high yield cartridge for this line and that printing costs are prohibitive, put down your pitchforks. While the MFC-J895DW ships with standard yield cartridges that are a little light in the ink department, you can buy high yield replacements that help cut down on overall printing costs.
Regular yield cartridges have an MSRP of $9 for each color cartridge and $14 for the black cartridge, with each cartridge holding enough ink for about 200 pages. High yield cartridges double that to 400 pages, with an MSRP of $14 for the color cartridges and $23 for the black one.
Overall, printing costs for the Brother MFC-J895DW are pretty much middle of the road. Costs per-page keep this printed more or less trapped in the light-duty category, but they aren’t high enough to complain about.
While the MFC-J895DW ships with standard yield cartridges that are a little light in the ink department, you can buy high yield replacements that help cut down on overall printing costs.
The Brother MFC-J895DW has Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can connect it to your network and then print and scan via AirPrint and Cloud Print. It also supports Wi-Fi direct, Mopria, and the Brother iPrint&Scan app, and you can even connect compatible phones via NFC without any initial setup.
I used the iPrint&Scan app for the initial setup, and connecting the Brother MFC-J895DW to my wireless network was a breeze. The app made it easy to print and scan right from my phone, and having the printer connected to my network already made setup even easier once I switched over to testing with my Windows PC instead of my phone.
The Brother MFC-J895DW also includes an Ethernet port if you prefer the reliability of a wired connection and you can locate your printer close enough to your router to take advantage of it.
With an MSRP of $130, the Brother MFC-J895DW is priced right. It has some features that you usually don’t see in this price range, like the ability to duplex print and copy a stack of single-sided documents into a smaller stack of double-sided documents, and it performs quite well for a light-duty all-in-one printer.
With an MSRP of $100, the Canon Pixma TR4520 (see on Best Buy) is typically priced a little lower than the MFC-J895DW. They are similar light-duty all-in-one printers, with the Pixma unit being a bit more barebones. They both print, scan, and copy, and they’re both capable of two-sided printing.
The first difference you’re likely to notice is that the Pixma has a basic LCD display with a massive physical control panel, making it seem a bit dated compared to the Brother MFC-J895DW.
The Pixma only has two ink cartridges, one for black and one for color, so you’re likely to eat through more ink than you would with a printer like the Brother MFC-J895DW that uses individual cartridges for different colors.
The Canon Pixma TR4520 is worth a look if your needs are on the lighter end of light-duty, and if it’s available for significantly less than the MCF-J89DW. If you do more than just occasional color printing, the multi-cartridge Brother unit should be more economical.
A good and affordable all-in-one printer unless you need to scan a lot of color photos.
As a light-duty all-in-one printer with a fairly lightweight price tag, the Brother MFC-J895DW impresses. Print quality is great for black and white documents, documents with color graphics, and even photographs printed in a variety of sizes. It was a joy to work with, outside a couple issues scanning to Windows that were easily circumvented by scanning to the Android app instead. With the inclusion of duplex printing and copying, this printer would make a fine addition to a lot of home offices.