Brother MFC-J6910DW review
An A3 MFP that does almost everything. It's reasonably-priced and cheap to run, but print quality isn't a strong point
Review Date: 7 Apr 2011
Price when reviewed: £348
Reviewed By: Simon Handby
This hulking inkjet multifunction peripheral (MFP) is one of the most versatile printers we've reviewed. Its size arises from the fact that it can handle paper sizes up to A3, but its talents don't end there. This range-topping model can automatically print, scan and copy both sides of each sheet of paper, although duplex scans and copies are limited to an A4 maximum. There's also a fax machine with support for superfine (200x400dpi) resolution.
We've criticised the appearance of Brother's A4 inkjet MFPs before, but although the MFC-J6910DW shares a similar squat design, it seems to work much better when scaled up to this size. There are two 250-sheet paper trays that will each take a range of paper sizes, although telescoping them out to accept A3 paper leaves them protruding from the front by around six inches, increasing the already considerable desk space needed. The automatic document feeder (ADF) holds up to 35 pages, and folds neatly shut when not in use.
Although most of the MFC-J6910DW's print jobs will come over the network, which it can connect to over Ethernet or via a built-in wireless interface, most faxes and copies are likely to be made via the machine's front panel. This contains a mix of buttons and a large touchscreen and is generally easy to navigate, although advanced settings such as duplex copying are hidden away somewhat. There's also a card reader for direct photo printing, but while this may prove useful, this isn't a great photo printer.
In fact, we weren't overly impressed with any aspect of this MFP's print quality. Photos are acceptable for a business machine, but the colours in some looked a little drab, and blue skies in particular revealed obvious grain. Colour prints on plain paper appeared faint, with solid fills having a granular appearance. Most significantly, black text didn't have the sharp, definite outlines typical of a laser printer, which could leave business mailings looking a little amateurish. Still, although photos were slow, all prints on plain paper were fairly rapid.
Fortunately, scan quality was much more encouraging. Colours were accurate and captures were unusually sharp and detailed for a business-oriented device. Some detail was lost from the lightest and darkest areas, but overall the results were more than good enough for general-purpose and light creative use. Copies were also much better than average for an inkjet MFP, with quite accurate colours and far less darkening than we saw in mono copies from the Brother DCP-J715W reviewed in Labs, issue 276.
Aside from its sheer versatility, this MFP's strongest suit is its running costs. These are lower for both colour and black prints than any of the laser printers we've seen recently. Its print quality is disappointing, but if that's not a priority and you need a do-everything A3 workhorse in the office, this is a good choice.
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