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Brother MFC-J680DW review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £85
inc VAT

The MFC-J680DW is compact and has fair running costs, but it's all a bit so-so

The MFC-J680DW is the second model we’ve looked at in Brother’s latest range of home and home office inkjet MFPs. It’s a couple of notches up from the entry level DCP-J562DW I reviewed a couple of months ago, and yet at the time of writing I found it selling for the same price. For that £85 or so, you get print, scan, copy and colour fax functions, with automatic duplex (double-sided) printing and a 20-page automatic document feeder (ADF) for unattended multi-page copies, scans or faxes. This MFP’s other key features include support for wireless, but not wired networking, and control through a large colour touchscreen.

The MFC-J680DW might be new, but Brother’s inkjet MFPs remain resolutely boxy when compared to their rivals. Despite a slightly smaller size than the model it replaces, this MFP still looks more functional than stylish, and it doesn’t exude an air of quality: the paper tray, for example, is clattery, and can be a fiddle to load. I haven’t noticed a build quality issue on a Brother product before, but on our test sample one of the scanner lid’s extending hinges was impeded by the lack of slack in the cable running to the ADF.

There’s not much wrong with the touchscreen, fortunately: while it may not be as slick as some, the menu system it controls is, for the most part, intuitive. Likewise, Brother’s print interface is a great example of making advanced functions easy to use, and its TWAIN scan interface, while basic, is simple for the majority of jobs. While we’ve no complaints about the software or its setup, you do have to be careful when inserting the colour ink cartridges – without physical keying, it’s possible to put one into the wrong slot.

This is a significantly quicker printer than the DCP-J562DW, particularly on our colour tests. Printing graphics, it managed an impressive 5.5 pages per minute (ppm) – more than double the 2.5ppm of the cheaper MFP. At two minutes per borderless postcard-sized photo, it was about seven times faster when printing photos. Its advantage was far smaller on our black text test, but the MFC-J680DW managed a credible 12.0ppm, or 15.5ppm at draft quality.

^ Brother’s print interface is one of the best: the main tab covers almost everything you’ll need

Brother claims identical scan speeds for the two, and our tests bore this out: the MFC-J680DW previewed an A4 page in 10 seconds, and could scan it at 300dpi in 15 seconds. Capturing a 6×4″ photo at 1,200dpi took 53 seconds, which is quite competitive. A single mono photocopy completed in 17 seconds, while the same job in colour took 22 seconds. Copying 10 mono pages took 151 seconds, while in colour this rose to 181 seconds.

This MFP generally produces good results. Printed text was dark black, although those with sharp eyes might spot a little jaggedness in the outline. Colour graphics were strong, but bleed was evident on thinner papers – something to watch if you’re duplexing. Scans were sharply focused, and their colours generally accurate, but darker shades tended to merge together, with a loss of detail.

The MFC-J680DW takes Brother’s LC223 cartridges, with a capacity of 550 pages each. Using these print costs work out at about 7p per page – competitive, if unexceptional, much like the MFC-J680DW itself.

TechnologyPiezo inkjet
Maximum print resolution6,000×1,200dpi
Maximum optical scan resolution (output bit depth)1,200×2,400dpi (24-bit)
Number of colours (cartridges)4 (4)
Maximum number of colours (cartridges)4 (4)
Quoted photo durability (source)Not stated
Standard interfacesUSB, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Optional interfacesNone
Dimensions (HxWxD)172x400x341mm
Duty cycle (pages per month)Not stated
Paper handling
Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight300gsm
Standard paper trays (capacity)3 (121)
Maximum paper trays (capacity)3 (121)
Photo features
Borderless printingA4
Direct (PC-less) printingNo
Memory card supportNone
Supported operating systemsWindows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later, Android, iOS
Other features6.8cm colour touchscreen
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price£85 inc VAT
Consumable parts and pricesBrother LC223, 550 pages each (ISO/IEC 24712). Black £13. Cyan, magenta and yellow £9 each.
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge(s)260 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)260 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT7.0p
Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT (colour part)4.7p
Cost per ISO/IEC 24712 A4 page inc VAT (mono part)2.4p
Part codeMFCJ680DWZU1

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