Brother DCP-J525W review

Kat Orphanides
8 Oct 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

This no-frills MFP is quick and functional, but print and scan quality is below par



10ppm print speed, USB, PictBridge USB, 802.11 b/g wireless, 160x405x378mm

Brother's DCP-J525W is a budget inkjet MFP that's priced to appeal to both home and small business users. It's a little bulky, but its curved matt black chassis looks pleasingly sleek. The colour touchscreen is just big enough to use without mis-keying, although typing in a Wi-Fi password requires you to cycle through several different letters assigned to a set of onscreen keys. The DCP-J525W isn't over-burdened with features: it simply prints, scans and copies. There's no ADF, automatic duplexing or fax, but you do get Wi-Fi, a PictBridge port, a memory card reader and the ability to send scans to a connected PC.

Brother DCP-J525W controls

The sole paper tray holds 100 sheets and we found that the paper feed didn't always pick up, particularly if there's only a single sheet of photo paper loaded. The printer was also prone to picking up multiple sheets of 6x4in photo paper at once. Photo quality is reasonable, with plenty of detail in shadowy areas and a pleasingly glossy finish when printed on Brother's Inobella photo paper. However, red and yellow tones are exaggerated, giving an orange tint to pale areas and making some skin tones look flushed. 6x4in photos don't appear briskly, either, at just over two minutes apiece.

Brother DCP-J525W touchsccreen

Document print speeds aren't bad at all; we recorded 6.5ppm for mono text and 3.6ppm for our illustrated colour business document. Print quality is acceptable, too, with only slight jagged edges visible on close examination of normal quality text, although draft lettering is very jagged - hardly surprising at its blistering speed of 16.9ppm. Colour prints were even, if a little pale. Copy quality is surprisingly good, with smooth shading and legible reproduction of even small lettering. We had to lighten mono copies of colour documents to make their illustrations clear, though. Print costs aren't fantastically low, but they're reasonable at 2.5p per mono page and 7.8p per colour page. A 6x4in photo on Innobella paper costs just 21p.

The scanner has an optical resolution of 1,200x2,400dpi, which is more than sufficient for document and photo scanning. We were pleased to find that the scanner's hinges lift up to make it easier to scan thick objects such as books. Our scans were clear and detailed, even at low resolutions, but colour reproduction proved to be rather poor, particularly when it comes to dark tones and finely shaded colour gradations.

Brother DCP-J525W

The scanner interface is very basic. There are photo, web and text presets, which change the resolution, colour and bit-depth settings, but you're better off sticking with photo mode and changing any relevant settings yourself. Irritatingly, preview scans aren't retained and the interface closes after every scan. At least your settings aren't returned to defaults, even if there aren't many to adjust in the first place. Sliders allow you to control brightness and contrast, and you can select resolution from a pull-down menu. You can also choose from a variety of pre-defined document sizes, but we achieved better results by manually selecting the scan areas. Preview scans are also cleared if you switch to a different document size.

The DCP-J525W isn't a terrible all-in-one, but mediocre print and scan quality mean that budget-conscious business users will be better off with the HP Officejet 6500A for £10 more, which also costs a lot less to run.

Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution6,000x1,200dpi
Max optical resolution1,200x2,400dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A410ppm
Quoted speed, colour A48ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.04m 9s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.012m 3s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, PictBridge USB, 802.11 b/g wireless
Optional printer interfacesnone
Noise (in normal use)50dB(A)

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight220gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity100
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity100
Duplex (code, cost if option)No


Printer technologythermal inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/2000/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4.11 - 10.6.x, Linux
Other inkjet features4.9cm LCD touchscreen, automatic print head alignment
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Consumable parts and prices£10.50 each
Price per colour A4 page5.3p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge300 pages (ISO/IEC 24711)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)300 pages (ISO/IEC 24711)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Warrantyone year RTB

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges4
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges4
Quoted photo durability110 years
Quoted photo durability sourceWilhelm Imaging Research

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview12s
A4 document at 150dpi13s
A4 document at 300dpi23s
6x4in photo at 600dpi29s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi1m 7s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.019s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.023s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0N/A

Photo Features

PictBridge supportYes
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
CD printingNo

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99
Max mono copy resolution1,200x1,200dpi
Max colour copy resolution1,200x1,200dpi

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolutionN/A
Fax memory (maximum mono pages)N/A