If color output on tabloid-sized paper for under $200 is the requirement, one good option is the $199 list Brother MFC-J4510dw Business Smart Inkjet All-in-One multifunction color printer. And for anyone who's used one of today's smartphones, the control panel on this unit will seem instantly familiar. Like a modern smartphone, navigating the unit's 3.7-inch, touch-sensitive color LCD involves swiping and tapping, and messages displayed during setup were like having a dedicated IT support technician on hand to walk us through.
Setting up Brother's new color MFP was straightforward and required just a few minutes once it was out of the box. Getting started was simply a matter of inserting its four "starter" ink cartridges through a small front door and plugging in the cables for power and either USB or Ethernet (neither data cable is included). Wi-Fi setup also was quick and easy, and done entirely through the control panel; just select the access point and enter the password, if any. Once connected, the unit prints a confirmation page showing the SSID of the selected AP as well as the SSIDs, signal strength and Wi-Fi channels of others in the area.
When the printer began to work, it let you know -- this thing clicks more than a Buddy Rich drum solo. But the end result was a clean, crisp color output that mostly kept up with a promised output rate of 35 pages-per-minute for black only and 27 ppm for color. To be exact, the 4510 completed 20 text pages in 1:47, including about 21 seconds to first page. It was a bit slower for color, needing 51 seconds to spit out the first mixed-mode test page finishing 10 pages in 1:23, and 20 more of the same pages in 2:47.
NEXT: Brother's Ups And Downs
What some might call unorthodox, we call clever and pragmatic. The Brother MFC-J4510dw Business Smart Inkjet All-in-One orients its paper tray widthwise, which allows it to print on paper that's 11 inches wide by 17 inches long. Unfortunately, each tabloid-sized page has to be fed through a single-sheet manual feed slot. The letter-size tray isn't much better, holding just 150 sheets. A duplex for two-sided printing unit helps make up for it, but 150 sheets ain't much if you think of it that way: If the 4510 was running at its 13,000-page-per-month rated duty cycle, it would display the "paper tray empty" message four times a day every day of the week.
On the plus side, Brother's small-office MFP is among the most versatile in terms of methods of input for people to walk up and print. Tucked neatly behind a dust door are slots for Secure Digital and SDHC cards, MultiMedia, MultiMedia Plus and MultiMedia Mobile card formats, Memory Stick Duo and USB. Direct Wi-Fi support lets Wi-Fi-equipped mobile devices print directly to it using Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and Brother's iPrint for Android and iOS. It also allows direct printing from websites such as Facebook, Flickr and Picasa, as well as from Dropbox, Evernote and Google Docs.
With a 20-page feeder, the 2,400-x-2,400 flatbed color scanner (19,200-x-19,200 with interpolation) can output to more file formats than most others we've seen, including FPX, HTM, PCX and DCX formats, as well as the popular BMP, PNG, TIFF, JPEG and PDF formats. Scanned files can be emailed, saved to USB or media card, or to a server via FTP or LAN server. Software installation from the included CD (for Windows and Mac OS X) was quick and painless. The utility presented a choice between USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi connections. When the Wi-Fi choice was selected, the utility scanned the test network, immediately found the printer and installed the necessary drivers. Total time from inserting the disk to printing the first page was three to four minutes.
Overall, the Brother MFC-J4510dw Business Smart Inkjet All-in-One is worth considering for the home or small office that's looking for a versatile, all-encompassing color printer with tabloid-sized output at an approximate cost-per-page as low as 2.5 cents for black and 4.2 cents for color. The 4510 lists for $199 and is covered by a two-year warranty.
PUBLISHED MAY 13, 2013