Review: Brother MFC-J475DW

When departing the house, I offloaded our 10 year old Brother MFC465CN copier/printer/fax via craigslist.  I wanted it gone quick, so I used the magic keyword, FREE! It worked fine, and I had a big box of spare ink cartridges, but it was redundant with a new printer Sandy had  in California.

Even though Sandy’s Canon MFC was 9 years newer, it paled in comparison to the trusty Brother.  It was slow, first page out took a minute or more, it was crazy loud and could not feed photo paper other than a single sheet at time.  After one session of trying to print out a few snap shots, I had enough.

I saw that the Best Buy down the street had roughly the 2015 edition of the Brother machine we used to have, the MFC-J475DW for a penny pinching $49, and swooped over to pick one up.  Its feature list is pretty impressive for the money:

  • Wifi (and wired networking)
  • AirPrint
  • Duplex printing

I was a little disappointed when I unboxed it and noted that the build quality was not nearly as nice as the old one.  But, the features and performance make up for that shortcoming.

Setup was pretty straightforward;  just type in the access point name and password, and that’s about it.  OSX on the computer side didn’t have the printer in its database, so I had to download the latest driver package, but the process was no more complicated than that.

Compared to that Canon MFC, the Brother is lightning fast.   Time to start printing is under 10 seconds for most prints.  Finishing the page only takes under 10 seconds.  The duplexer also works very reliably.  In a couple dozen prints, there have been no jams.  Its also delightfully quiet;  much quieter than both the Canon and the older Brother.

Printer quality isn’t super great for text, but not terrible either.  Not 100% black and just a little fuzzy.  Photo quality is a lot better than the older Brother.  No discernible scan lines, and colors are bright.  Didn’t have to manually brighten photos before printing to get the to look good on paper.

I haven’t had much occasion to use the scanner yet, but the 2 times I tried it the quality looked fine and it was pretty speedy.   With the older Brother, I gave up on the scanner pretty much.  The quality was fine, but it super slow.  I eventually just resorted to using the Scanner Pro iOS app instead.

One minor quibble is that the paper tray doesn’t have separate slots for everyday paper and photo paper.  Come to think of it, I don’t miss that much because I don’t print photos that often and when I did on the old printer, I always left the photo part of the tray enabled and fouled things up when needing to print regular stuff.  So, no great loss.

So, for a $50, the Brother MFC-J475DW is a whole lot of printer and looking forward to another 10 years of reliable printing.

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