Brother MFC-J825DW review
With its comprehensive set of features this MFP is a jack of all trades. It's pretty quick, but the results are unremarkable
Review Date: 16 Jan 2013
Price when reviewed: £140
Reviewed By: Simon Handby
The MFC-J825DW is one of the most fully-featured inkjet MFPs in Brother's range. It can print, scan, copy and fax, connect to wired or wireless networks, and print photos directly from a memory card. Duplex (double-sided) printing is standard too, as is a large and responsive touchscreen that helps to simplify direct operations such as copying or photo printing. This screen rotates upwards, clicking between various viewing angles, but tap too firmly and it can fall back a notch.
Despite its comprehensive specification, this MFP shares the same cheap-feeling plastics as other models we've reviewed in this range. There's an attempt to liven up the top panel with a pattern and a glossy finish, but the rattly paper tray in the base is a particularly unpleasant and brittle feeling contrast. The tray's two compartments allow the printer to keep a stock of plain sheets and coated photo paper, but the photo tray is fiddly to load, and the user needs to switch between the two sources manually. In practice we're not sure it's any easier than having a single tray.
The 20-page automatic document feeder (ADF) is rather basic, with ejected paper coming to rest across the top of the input guides, but in use it worked perfectly. Despite our misgivings it was fast, allowing the MFP to finish a 10-page colour copy in just two and a quarter minutes. When using the scanning platen, the moving scan heads on our test unit gave off a slightly worrying grinding noise, but this isn't something we've experienced on other similar Brother MFPs, and the scanner worked perfectly regardless.
This is quite a brisk printer for text, 11.5 pages of which arrived each minute in our regular test. This rose to a shade under 17ppm when we used draft quality, but in this test the printer picked up an extra sheet of paper which was left blank. The 2.9ppm colour speed wasn't bad, but by default the order of multi-page documents was reversed.
indows Update offered this July 2012 update to the drivers included with the MFC-J825DW
Although our tested times don't include it, many printers undergo a degree of housekeeping after a print job finishes before the next can be serviced. The MFC-J825DW displayed 'Please wait' for more than 25 seconds after each job, which could slow down the rate at which it delivers multiple short jobs sent in close succession. We had no concerns about the scanner's speed, however; it's one of the quickest we've seen, completing a 1,200dpi scan of a photograph in just 45 seconds.
Unfortunately the MFC-J825DW doesn't combine these high speeds with brilliant quality. While greyscale and colour copies were good, as were colour prints on plain paper, text suffered from spidery outlines just visible with the naked eye. Scans had fairly accurate colours, but detail was lost from the very lightest and darkest areas of the original, and in places they seemed slightly blocky, as though compressed.
With an impressive set of features and reasonable running costs, this MFP looks promising, but in reality it's no match for the Epson WorkForce WP-3540DTWF, which is cheaper to buy and run and produces better results.
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