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Brother MFC-J895DW review: An underwhelming MFP

Computer Shopper
14 Jun 2018
Brother MFC-J895DW review
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
115
inc VAT

It's well specified, but Brother's MFC-J895DW comes up short of the competition

Pros 
Looks smart
Quiet
Cons 
High running costs
Dark scans
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`Brother's MFC-J895DW is a mid-range A4 inkjet multifunction peripheral, aimed mostly at home and micro-office use. It has an enviable list of specs, combining scanning, printing and fax capabilities with wired and wireless networking, a colour touchscreen and automatic duplex printing. Provided you don't need to make unattended copies from double-sided originals, the MFC-j895DW has just about everything covered. 

It's a relatively smart-looking device, too, with a squat design in white and black plastic. Get hands-on, however, and the feel of these plastics leaves something to be desired, especially in the clattery paper tray and its notchy paper guides. The front panel is pleasantly uncluttered, though, and its touchscreen control works well enough. 

Like other Brother inkjets, the MFC-J895DW uses capillary tubes to feed moving print heads from stationary ink tanks, but there's no keying to stop you accidentally putting these in the wrong slot, so care is required when refilling.

Fire up the printer and two things are apparent: it's not the fastest home office inkjet around, but it is one of the quietest, potentially making it a good desk mate. It completed our black letter test at 12.6ppm, which is quite leisurely for this type of MFP, but in draft mode it managed 16.9ppm. Colour print speeds were more impressive, with the printer reaching 5.Sppm on our complex graphics test. Six borderless 6 x 4in photos flew out in just over five minutes. 

Brother's software is usually faultless, but in this case we had an issue where the TWAIN scan interface couldn't complete a scan to the host PC. We retried on two other PCs, running Windows 7 and Windows 10, before giving up on it. Fortunately, Brother now also installs the iPrint & Scan PC app, which provided a practical alternative, even if it can't be called up directly from an imaging program. 

Scan speeds were quite acceptable, with an A4 colour page taking ten seconds at 150dpi and 14 seconds at 300dpi. Photocopies were also produced fairly casually, with a single mono page taking 17 seconds and a colour copy needing 21 seconds. The 20-page automatic document feeder, however, was downright sedate: ten copies took almost two-and-a-half minutes in black, and three minutes in colour. 

Print quality was generally strong, with bold and crisp black text, and reasonably punchy colours on plain paper. Duplex prints were noticeably more faint, with a degree of bleed-through, but photocopies were very good. Even photos were decent for an office-biased device. Scans were sharp, but darker areas were too dark, resulting in a loss of detail: the darkest seven shades on our scan target were indistinguishably black; one of the worst results we've seen.

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Brother MFC-J895DW review: Verdict

Ultimately, the MFC-J895DW is an underwhelming MFP, and it's let down further by disappointingly high running costs. Its “high yield” supplies last for only 400 pages, and using them we calculated a cost of 12.6p per A4 page of text and graphics, of which the black component was a steep 3.6p. 

Considering that Epson's WorkForce WF-3720DWF is available for less than £80, offers further savings by being cheaper to run and manages to beat the MFC-J895DW in almost every other respect, it's safe to say you should forget about the Brother and go for that MFP.