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Brother DCP-J1140DW review: An affordable MFP that’s tuned to home working

Andy Shaw
21 Dec 2021
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
136
inc VAT

A good-value multifunction printer that’s easy to setup and use and produces decent quality prints

Pros 
Affordable
Quick
Easy to use from any device
Cons 
Cartridges
Not the best photo prints
Slightly cumbersome touchscreen
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Brother’s printers are more often found in offices than the home but with many people not returning to the workplace full time, the Brother’s DCP-J1140DW inkjet MFP could be just the ticket.

This all-in-one printer, copier and scanner looks smart enough to fit into the modern home office, with its consumer-friendly black plastic styling, but Brother’s office heritage shines through in its ability to crank out mono prints quickly and without fuss.

Brother DCP-J1140DW review: What do you get for the money?

The Brother DCP-J1140DW is a multifunction device consisting of a printer, scanner and copier. This is combined into a relatively compact, matte black box measuring 400 x 343 x 151mm (WDH) and weighing 6.9kg.

The lid lifts up to reveal the flatbed scanner, with a handy double-jointed hinge at the back that allows the whole lid to be lifted by about 2.5cm. This is useful when scanning or copying books or other thicker items.

Below that is the control panel, which is limited to four buttons – power, home, back and cancel – and everything else is controlled using the 2.7in colour touchscreen. This doesn’t have the slick glassy feel of a touchscreen on a smartphone, though, and doesn’t allow you to swipe between menu options. Instead, you have to scroll between lists of options by prodding on-screen arrow buttons and you have to poke it pretty hard, too.

However, with the additional option of controlling the printer from a smartphone app, it’s not too much of a pain to use and I like that the whole front panel can be tilted up, making it easier to read the screen when you’re standing over the printer.

The printer is aimed at office workers who need a device at home, so doesn’t make any great claims when it comes to printing photos, although it can print at resolutions up to 1,200 x 6,000dpi. The scanner operates at resolutions up to 1,200 x 2,400dpi. Paper is stored in a single tray at the bottom of the device, which can hold 150 sheets of A4, so it’s not up to dealing with big print jobs.

In the box, there are four cartridges, one of each colour, each capable of printing 200 pages in accordance with the ISO 24711 standard (5% page coverage). 500-page XL cartridges are also available.

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Brother DCP-J1140DW review: Is it easy to use?

Setting up the printer is very straightforward. The ink cartridges just click into place behind an easily accessible door on the front. Setting up the Wi-Fi network is done through a website, which you can access either from a computer or a mobile device. From here, you can also download drivers and the scanning software if you’re on a PC, or install the MobileConnect app for Apple or Android mobile devices.

You could set the printer up to connect to a PC via its USB port but Brother has made this unusually awkward. There’s no cable supplied in the box and the USB port is situated inside the printer, accessed by lifting the scanner section. This means you have to trail the cable through a moulded channel and out of a small gap at the back.

Controlling the printer from the touchscreen looks almost too simple, with just Copy, Scan and Web options visible when you turn on the printer. These options hide a host of more advanced settings and choices, however. Press the Web button and a sub menu of options opens up, enabling scanning direct to popular cloud storage services such as Google Drive, OneDrive, OneNote, Dropbox and Evernote.

In addition to the main three choices, there’s also another option called Apps. Tap this and a range of extra features unfurls, including the ingenious scan-to-mobile tool. This lets you scan a single- or multi-page document using the scanner, then snap a picture of a QR code displayed on the printer’s screen to download it to your phone.

The mobile app itself is very good, too, with a clear and concise interface that works perfectly. It lets you print documents and photos from your device, scan straight into the smartphone and control the copier function. Finally, the Windows driver provides fine granular control over how computer prints are handled and a separate scanning application offers all the tools and resolution options you could want.

Overall, it’s a thoroughly easy to use system that’s simple to get to grips with, whichever platform you choose to use it with. The slightly clunky touchscreen is really the only thing I have a problem with.

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Brother DCP-J1140DW review: How fast is it and how much does it cost to run?

For the price, the Brother DCP-J1140DW prints mono documents at an impressive pace. It warms up very quickly and produces the first sheet in seven seconds, which is the fastest I’ve seen, and then goes on to crank out documents at a rate of 15.8ppm (pages per minute).

This isn’t as quick as the HP OfficeJet Pro 9022e, which reached a rapid 20.5ppm, or the HP OfficeJet Pro 8022, which printed at 17.4ppm, but it’s nearly there and it’s cheaper than both.

It’s similarly speedy at printing mixed colour documents, reaching 7ppm. Again, this is a bit slower than HP’s 9022e (8.1ppm) but outpaces similarly-priced rivals, with the OfficeJet 8022 dropping to 3.9ppm. Duplex printing fell into the same pattern, lagging behind the OfficeJet 9022e but beating the cheaper 8022.

It’s very slow at printing photos, though, taking longer than 13 minutes to print six 6 x 4in snaps at best quality settings. Brother is clearly aware of this, even going so far as to issue a slowness warning when you select the highest resolution setting.

When it comes to running costs, prices for replacement ink is reasonable for a cartridge-based printer, as long as you opt for the extra large (XL) cartridges, which can print 500 pages, rather than the 200-page standard cartridges like those that come in the box. For mono printing these XL cartridges work out to 3.2p per page while colour printing is 8.2p per page.

It’s worth noting that, while mono prints are relatively competitive, colour prints are more expensive than rivals, with the HP OfficeJet 9022e costing 3.1p per colour page and the Canon Pixma TS8350 costing 6.2p.

Brother DCP-J1140DW review: What’s print quality like?

Print quality is good and it took close inspection to spot any difference between the Brother DCP-J1140DW and its rivals. For standard text, output from the HP OfficeJet 9022e and the Canon Pixma TS8350 was sharper, but not by much. Indeed, I had to use a magnifying glass to see that the Brother’s text output was a tiny bit more ragged around the edges.

For colour documents, the Brother and the OfficeJet 9022e’s output again proved tough to separate, although the Canon Pixma TS8350 did stretch out a lead here with significantly richer colours.

The Canon Pixma TS8350 proved to be better at printing photos as well. However, the Brother DCP-J1140DW did produce noticeably better quality output than the HP OfficeJet 9022e in this type of printing.

Brother DCP-J1140DW review: Should you buy it?

The Brother DCP-J1140DW is an affordable printer that’s designed to cope with the tasks required of a busy home office. It’s low hassle to set up and use, prints office documents at a good speed and at a decent quality and is even capable of printing photos reasonably well if you don’t mind waiting for them.

Its cartridges are reasonably priced (for inkjet cartridges), so it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to run, although colour printing is a touch more expensive than rivals.

For those looking for the fastest possible prints, we’d recommend the HP OfficeJet Pro 9022e instead. This cranks out office prints at a phenomenal rate of knots, with print quality that’s as good or better than the Brother DCP-J1140DW. Don’t rely on it for photo prints, though – it lags behind the Brother in this regard.

For best quality prints, we’d point you towards the Canon Pixma TS8350. This cartridge printer is a little more expensive and mono prints are more expensive to produce. However, its colour output is of higher quality than the Brother’s, particularly when it comes to photos.

Meanwhile, anyone justifiably concerned about the price or plastic waste of cartridge printing should certainly check out ink tank alternatives. These printers use ink supplied in recyclable bottles and store it in vast tanks, capable of printing thousands of pages from each bottle. The price per page is miniscule, but the printers themselves tend to be a little more expensive. Our favourites are the Epson EcoTank ET-2850 and the Canon Pixma G650.

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