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Brother DCP-J774DW review: A compact inkjet MFP aimed at home users

Simon Handby
15 Oct 2018
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
120
inc VAT

Brother's smart inkjet MFP is let down by poor scans and high running costs

Pros 
Duplex printing supported
Dedicated photo paper tray
Cons 
High running costs
Slow printing speeds
No fax modem or USB port
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Brother’s DCP-J774DW is a compact inkjet MFP aimed at home users. At this price, though, its specification disappoints. While duplex printing is supported, there’s no fax modem, USB host port or automatic document feeder. Creative users are similarly short-changed: while it’s nice to see a dedicated photo paper tray, there’s no SD card slot for direct photo printing.

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The DCP-J774DW uses a capillary ink system, where the heads are fed via tubes from stationary ink cartridges. Replacements aren’t cheap: we calculated running costs of 11.7p per A4 colour page, of which black ink costs a whopping 3.6p.

Tested over Wi-Fi, this printer delivered our 25-page mono letter test at a leisurely 8.3ppm, although switching to draft quality literally doubled the speed. Colour prints were comparatively quick, however, with our complex graphics test arriving at a creditable 5.4ppm. Photocopies were swift, with a single A4 page needing 17 seconds in black or 21 seconds in colour. Scan speeds were a little slow, with a 150dpi A4 scan needing 29 seconds, although at 80 seconds our 1,200dpi 6 x 4in photo test was quite competitive.

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Brother DCP-J774DW review: Verdict

We were broadly happy with prints and photocopies on plain paper. Text and graphics were strong, and free of obvious inkjet artefacts such as grain, but colours were a touch drab. Although fine for occasional use, photo quality wasn’t a strong point, with colours again looking a little undersaturated.

We encountered problems with Brother’s TWAIN scan interface, which wouldn’t return a scanned image to the host application – we used the bundled iPrint&Scan app instead. The results looked dark regardless of whether we specified a “Document” or “Photo” original. Nor could it distinguish the eight darkest shades on the Q60 target we use to test dynamic range.

Other than its compact design, the DCP-J774DW lacks standout features. With mixed results and high running costs, it’s not great value.