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This Little Brother Is a Hard Worker

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About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Brother MFC-J825DW
Brother Industries, Ltd.
You might think that a full-featured all-in-one inkjet printer that sells for $150 would cut corners and not be a good performer. In the case of this Brother MFC-J825DW all-in-one, you'd be wrong. It offers a wealth of extras including automatic duplex printing, an automatic document feeder, a tray for printing CDs and DVDs, wired and wireless networking, and more. Even better, it performs quickly and with good results. Its small footprint ensures that some conveniences, such as being able to load a lot of paper at one time, aren't available; but if that's not an issue, you'll like this printer.

Speed

At normal speeds, you can expect the MFC-J825DW to print at about 12 pages per minute (once the first page is out). That's the kind of speed I got even with large PDFs with color graphics, with first pages out in anywhere from 12 to 19 seconds. There's nothing wrong with that speed--it puts some laser printers, such as HP's LaserJet 100 M175nw to shame--and even switching to duplex printing doesn't negatively affect speed too much. It bumped a 35-second job up to 57 seconds, which is certainly reasonable.

Though it's an all-in-one and thus a jack of all trades, photos seem to be a specialty for this printer. A 4x6 photo took only 23 seconds to print (and from a separate photo-paper tray).

Quality

All the speed in the world doesn't matter if the prints don't look excellent, and that's an area in which Brother rarely falters. I've found that its Innobbella inks typically look terrific, and the results I saw from the MFC-J825DW did not disappoint my expectations. Colors were nicely nuanced in graphics yet didn't overload the paper with ink, leaving it limp and soggy; though when printing duplex I did notice that the flip side of pages were readily visible. Some printers have a specific adjustment available that regulates the amount of ink that goes on pages when printing, but I couldn't find such an adjustment in this printer's properties.

Photos looked excellent and I was impressed not only by how fast they printed but by how good the colors looked. I'd put the prints from this printer against those from a similarly priced photo printer any day, and I bet it would be hard to distinguish them.

Bells and Whistles

The MFC-J82DW doesn't skimp on bells or whistles. It offers wired and wireless networking (both easy to set up and configure); copy, scanning, and faxing capability; a 3.3" color touchscreen; an automatic duplexer; and an automatic document feeder. I liked the dual-purpose paper tray, which holds paper on the bottom and photo paper on the top (only a slight adjustment is necessary to switch from one to the other). I also appreciate that Brother worked to keep the printer compact. For instance, the CD / DVD tray stores in a slot below the printer's cover, meaning there's no extra piece to stash somewhere, lost when you really need it. And the printer's ink cartridges came taped to the paper tray inside the printer, which is a small touch that ensures the printer's packaging is kept to a minimum.

Of course, small doesn't always work in your favor. The paper tray fits a maximum of 100 pages, and the photo tray only 20 pages. The automatic document feeder holds only 20 pages as well. That's not a lot for an all-in-one; but consider whether you really need to be feeding or printing more than this in most cases. I know I don't, and so I prefer the small footprint to the convenience of adding 500 sheets of paper at once. However, small offices may think differently.

Other features include scan-to SD, SDHC, MemoryStick, MemoryStick Pro, MemoryStick Pro Duo, and USB drives; built-in photo enhancing features such as Monochrome, Sepia, Trimming, and Photo Enhance, and Auto Correct; and the ability to access online sites such as Facebook, Picasa, and Google Notes via the touchScreen.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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