Brother MFC-J5910DW review

17 Mar 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

This fast, generally competent MFP is good value. Be aware, however, that while it can print to A3, it can only scan, fax or copy up to A4


print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 260x514x461mm

This hulking inkjet multifunction peripheral (MFP) from Brother is big for a reason: it's able to print on paper sizes up to A3. This flexibility makes it suitable for small businesses or home users who may appreciate the extra size for complex worksheets or graphics. It can also scan, and copy or send multi-page faxes using its 35-sheet ADF but, unlike some other models in Brother's line-up, these functions only work with paper up to A4 or Legal size.

Brother MFC-J5910DW

It seems odd to pair a large printer with a smaller scanner, but the MFC-J5910DW is the cheapest of Brother's A3-capable inkjet MFPs, and it's still loaded with features. Users can connect via USB, wired or wireless networking, or print directly from a memory card using the colour touchscreen controls on the front panel. Considered alongside its fax capability, ADF and duplex (double-sided) A3 printing, that's a lot for the money.

Brother MFC-J5910DW

Unfortunately, the MFC-J5910DW isn't the prettiest device, and it feels almost as cheap as it is. It's made from hard plastics that don't feel as pleasantly tactile as those found in typical home MFPs, while its large paper tray isn't especially easy to load and it slots in and out of the printer with a clatter. The colour screen is rather small, and although it's possible to angle it up for easier visibility, it's easy to push it back down again by mistake when tapping its controls. Like several other Brother inkjet MFPs, the USB and Ethernet ports are hidden away under the scanner bed, requiring a foot or so of extra cable just to reach them.

If it doesn't make the best first impression, the MFC-J5910DW makes a better case for itself in use. With the exception of slow photo printing it's a quick all-round device, printing more than 12 pages of text or more than four pages of colour graphics each minute. It's also comparatively quick when duplex printing on both sides of A4 paper, printing 10 colour sides onto five sheets of paper in less than four and a half minutes.

Print driver

Brother’s print interface is clearly laid out and simple to use

Photocopies were similarly fast, with single-page copies from the scanner glass taking less than 20 seconds each, and a 10-page colour ADF copy completing in just two minutes and 24 seconds. High-resolution scans in particular were unusually fast for a network-attached device, with our 1,200dpi test completing in just 40 seconds – one of the quickest results we've seen.

Scan interface

It’s not the most sophisticated scan interface, but Brother’s TWAIN panel is easy to understand

Quality-wise, while universally competent, the MFC-J5910DW didn't excel in any area. Scans exhibited sharp focus, but suffered from a slightly cool colour bias and some noise suggestive of compression, most visible in areas of solid colours. Plain paper text and graphical prints were reasonable, although areas of saturated colour lacked vibrancy, while photocopies were good, particularly in mono.

It's common to find that the cheapest printers have the highest running costs, but Brother has created a notable exception. At 3.5p per page, colour prints from the MFC-J5910DW are inexpensive, while mono prints cost less than a penny per page. It may not feel special or perform with distinction, but this competent MFP is very good value to buy and run.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Maximum native print resolution 1,200x6,000dpi
Max optical resolution 1,200x2,400dpi
Output bit depth 24-bit

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0 9m 18s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.0 14m 44s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfaces USB, 10/100 Ethernet
Optional printer interfaces none
Size 260x514x461mm
Weight 13.6kg
Noise (in normal use) 50dB(A)
Duty cycle 2,500 pages

Paper Handling

Maximum paper size A3
Maximum paper weight 220gsm
Standard paper inputs 1
Standard paper input capacity 250
Maximum paper inputs 1
Maximum paper input capacity 250
Duplex (code, cost if option) Yes


Printer technology piezo inkjet
Supported operating systems Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.2.4 or later, Linux
Other inkjet features 4.9cm colour touchscreen
Other inkjet options none

Buying Information

Price £104
Consumable parts and prices £14 each
Price per colour A4 page 3.5p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge 390 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s) 390 pages each (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s) N/A
Warranty one year

Print Quality

Number of ink colours 4
Number of ink cartridges 4
Maximum number of ink colours 4
Maximum number of cartridges 4
Quoted photo durability 100 years
Quoted photo durability source Brother

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview 11s
A4 document at 150dpi 11s
A4 document at 300dpi 14s
6x4in photo at 600dpi 18s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi 40s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.0 18s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.0 19s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0 2m 24s

Photo Features

PictBridge support Yes
Borderless printing A4
Direct (PC-less) printing Yes
Supported memory cards Memory Stick Pro, SD, MMC
CD printing No

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies 99
Max mono copy resolution 1,200dpi
Max colour copy resolution 1,200dpi

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolution 400x400dpi
Fax memory (maximum mono pages) 400