In most ways, the Brother MFC-J4510DW $199.99 at Office Depot is a fairly typical office-oriented inkjet MFP for its price range. It’s a little slow, a little short on paper capacity, and packed with all the MFP features you’re likely to need. However, it stands out for something you probably wouldn’t expect at this price: It can print on up to tabloid size (11 by 17 inch) paper. The sheets have to be manually fed, one at a time, but if you have only an occasional need to print at tabloid size, this could be enough to make the printer your best choice. It’s certainly enough to make it Editors’ Choice.
The MFC-J4510DW is similar in many ways to the Editors’ Choice HP Officejet 6700 Premium e-All-in-One $119.98 at Walmart.com that I reviewed earlier this year. Both are small enough to serve as personal printers in any size office, but both also offer Ethernet and Wi-Fi as connection choices, so they can serve as shared printers in a micro office. Beyond that, both let you print and fax from, as well as scan to a computer, including over a network, both work as standalone copier and fax machines, and both let you print from or scan to a USB memory key.
Like the HP 6700, the MFC-J4510DW offers Web-connected features and mobile printing. It will let you print from and scan to an assortment of online services, including Google Docs and Dropbox, as well as print from a smartphone or tablet with a Wi-Fi connection, using AirPrint or Brother’s own print app. It even offers Wi-Fi Direct for easy connection. Very much worth mention is the 3.7-inch touch screen on the front panel, which makes it easy to both change settings and give commands.
Paper Handling and Size
The MFC-J4510DW’s paper handling is a bit of a mixed bag, but much more of a plus overall than a minus. For scanning, as with most office-oriented MFPs, it offers both a letter-size flatbed and an automatic document feeder (ADF) that can handle up to legal size paper. The ADF in this case is only 20 sheets, which is on the low side but should be enough for most micro offices.
For printing, the MFC-J4510DW offers only a 150-sheet input capacity, which is enough for most personal use or for light-duty use for multiple users on a network. Very much on the plus side is that it includes a built-in duplexer (for printing on both sides of a page) and a manual feed slot in the back.
The manual feed slot not only lets you print on different paper stock without having to swap out the paper in the tray, it lets you print on paper as large as 11 by 17 inches (although you can’t use automatic duplexing with tabloid size paper). This counts as more than a little unusual for a printer that measures just 7.3 by 18.9 by 11.4 inches (HWD).
The printer manages this paper handling trick very simply. Instead of orienting the paper tray with the long edge of letter-size paper parallel to the sides of the printer, as is typical, it rotates the tray 90 degrees. That puts the 11-inch side of the paper parallel to the front and back of the printer, and it lets you feed tabloid-size paper through the back, with its 11-inch side as the leading edge. You have to feed the pages manually, one sheet at a time, but if you need to print on tabloid size paper only occasionally, and particularly if you print only one or two page documents, that won’t be a problem.
Setup and Speed and Output Quality
For my tests I connected the MFC-J4510DW to a wired network and installed the driver and other software on a system running Windows Vista. Setup was standard.
The printer’s speed is best described as within the typical range for the price. I timed it on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), at an effective 3.3 pages per minute (ppm), which is essentially a tie with the Officejet 6700, at 3.4 ppm.
As another point of reference, the somewhat more expensive Editors’ Choice Brother MFC-J6710DW $179.99 at OfficeMax, a true tabloid-size printer, came in at 4.1 ppm. (Bytrue tabloid size, I mean it has two paper trays that can each hold up to 11 by 17-inch paper without needing manual feeding.) Photo speed with glossy photo paper is a reasonably fast 1 minute 7 second average for 4-by-6 photos.
The MFC-J4510DW’s output quality is a touch below par overall, primarily because of sub-par graphics quality, but even the graphics output qualifies as acceptable. Text quality is at the low end of the range where the vast majority of inkjets fall, but easily good enough for most business needs.
Graphics output is good enough for internal business needs, but graphics on plain paper in my tests suffered from noticeably dull color and some minor banding. Depending on how much you value vibrant, eye-catching color, you may or may not consider the output suitable for, say, PowerPoint handouts. Photos on glossy photo paper were comparable to typical drug store prints, which, by definition, qualifies as true photo quality.
Ultimately, the MFC-J4510DW earns lots of points for its features, from its ADF to its touch screen controls, and at least doesn’t lose any for its speed and output quality. What earns it Editors’ Choice, however, is that it offers a useful, if minimal, level of tabloid-size print capability at an extraordinarily low price.
If you print lots of documents at tabloid size, you’ll be better off with the more expensive Brother MFC-J6710DW. If you never need to print at tabloid size at all, you can save a little by getting the HP Officejet 6700. If you absolutely must print at tabloid size, but only occasionally and only for short documents, however, the Brother MFC-J4510DW may well be the perfect fit.
- Brother MFC-J4510DW (pcmag.com)