Brother MFC-J4510DW review

Brother feels there's much to crow about with their MFC-J4510DW as it's their smallest ever inkjet all-in-one to offer up to A3 printing and once you take it out the box you can see how many design changes they've made from the standard Brother format. See more printer reviews.

In many ways the MFC-J4510DW is an object lesson in how to make a multifunction printer truly compact. It has a comparatively small footprint of 480 x 290 x 186mm and weighs in at a mere 9.3kg, making it ideal for small and home-based businesses where work space is at a premium. See also Group test: what's the best multifunction printer?

The height in particular is impressive as Brother has managed to include a 20-sheet ADF on the top that lies completely flat when the input tray is folded down. As the MFC-J4510DW is clearly intended for moderate use, the standard paper tray in the base holds a basic 150 sheets. Take a look at Epson Expression Photo XP-750 review too.

However, where Brother has made a significant breakthrough is by having the main paper tray in landscape mode rather than portrait. The problem in the past has been to allow smooth printer output without curling or catching the paper and their solution is to 'ripple' the pages while in action.

In practice, this worked well nigh faultlessly, although it does mean a significant increase in noise during the rippling process.

You may ask why Brother has gone to all this trouble to re-orientate the machine and the answer is simple - so that you can also print A3 pages via the fold-back single-sheet bypass tray at the back. As the tray is necessarily small, it does take a bit of juggling to guide the sheet in and you will have to tug the sheet out on completion - but compliments to the manufacturer for providing a very useful extra feature.

Not that the MFC-J4510DW is short of features - fax mode is included with copy, scan and print and auto-duplex comes as standard. A smartly concealed panel to the left of the controls conceals slots for flash memory cards and PictBridge, SD and MemoryStick, while actions are decided via the brightly lit 93mm colour touchscreen with easy to follow instructions.

Connectivity covers the full set, that is, USB, ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n - plus the option to print via the cloud and mobile app. Wired connections might need slightly longer leads, though, as Brother feeds them in under the scanner lid.

As for speed, we managed to produce draft quality A4 documents at around 20ppm, with normal quality at 11ppm and duplex versions at 7ppm.

Black text even at draft quality was generally firm and solid while the hues in colour documents were relatively faithful to the originals, although clearly much paler.
When you expand plain paper images on to A3 size, however, there were considerable banding issues and on A4 photo paper there was a noticeable reddish bias.

Available are 1200-page high-yield ink cartridges available for all four colours (black, cyan, magenta, yellow) which means ink costs can be kept to 2.69p per page for black text only and 8.36p per page for the full set, according to Brother's official prices.

See next page for Robin Morris' original review from 5 December 2012 >>

Review from Robin Morris - 5/12/12

The Brother MFC-J4510DW isn’t your typical cream breezeblock MFD. This model, middle in Brother’s new range, is sold only through Dixons/PC World until March 2013, priced at £180.

The Brother MFC-J4510DW surprises you from first glance, a low-slung top measuring just 185mm deep but very wide. Black and cream isn't always an attractive combination, but it works here, a broad black stripe rippling across to match the bold dark top. 

Wide looks betray the feature that makes this that most multifunctional of MFDs - an A3 printer. Paper is loaded sideways. This seems a touch quirky, but it's actually a brilliant twist that means the longer edge of paper now matches up with the longer width of most printers. For occasional A3, it makes a good deal of sense.

The Brother MFC-J4510DW is a smidgen wider than other models which helps it accommodate A3 (297 x 420mm) paper. 

Setup is reasonably straightforward – even if this is the first printer where we had to consult the instructions to find out where to connect a USB cable.

Using the Brother is a joy, thanks to a sizeable and colourful 3.7in screen which makes the MFD logical and easy to operate.

With on-board fax, there's a danger that an MFD may get overloaded with keys, but the Brother employs the clever trick of lighting up buttons as and when you need them. Do something simple, you only have a few buttons to choose from.

Extensive connectivity options encompass Wi-Fi and ethernet. It also has cloud-computing credentials, and you can hook up the printer to mobile devices and memory card through a range of slots. 

A nice touch is the Secure Print feature, which waits until you reach the printer before printing, to keep confidential work confidential. 

We also liked the scanning component. There’s a substantial lid which can be adjusted for larger material, and the 2400x2400dpi optical resolution allows for good image depth. The additional 20-sheet ADF helps faxing enormously. 

Paper handling is solid, with the well-built paper tray taking up to 150 sheets at a time. This is a decent amount for most purposes, although businesses making frequent use of the printer may find that the paper needs to be replaced a little too often.

Brother MFC-J4510DW: Performance

The larger A3 prints need to be done in Best mode, and the fastest we could manage was 2m 55s for a full print, rather than 1m 42s for the A4 equivalent. 

With regular A4 pages it’s a little faint at fastest 18.3ppm mode, but the middle settings still churn out pages at a decent 13.3ppm, and the text here is relatively dark and has considerable clarity, with none of the blurred lettering common to most inkjets. 

The top mode was better still, at the expense of speed, at a mere 1.8ppm. Our magnifying glass revealed that it doesn't have the perfection of a good laser, but quality is good enough to pass most inspections. 

In all modes colour was a little faint and watered down. If you want images packed with excitement, the Brother leaves you under-thrilled. Results with photographic paper are better, where the Brother MFC-J4510DW offers vibrant prints. 

Auto duplexing is supported, with a hit on the speed, and even in fast-mode text falls from 18.3ppm to just 5.3ppm – a huge fall that means few may be prepared to wait for their paper-saving. 

The Brother MFC-J4510DW is fairly quiet, although it does emit a noise like distant fireworks. This noise sometimes persists after printing. 

Cartridge prices will be £23.99 for black and £15.59 for each CMY colour, in 600-page yield sizes. Higher yield options are £32.99, and £22.79 each for 1200-page refills. 

In best-case with high yield 1200-page refills, costs are 2.75p black, and 5.7p colour. That’s reasonably competitive. 

The £140 HP Photosmart 7520 has costs of 2.4p/4.8p, so Brother isn't quite as cheap. But it’s more affordable than the Canon MX895, at 2.9p and 12.5p for black/colour respectively.

Verdict:

If you're primarily needing a graphics printer, you'll find better models. But text output is good, and the features set substantial. Throw in the added convenience of the odd A3 document, and the Brother MFC-J4510DW has an awful lot going for it.

Brother MFC-J4510DW: Specs

  • Printer, scanner, copier, fax
  • 6000x1200dpi print resolution
  • quoted print speed B=35ppm C=27ppm
  • actual print speed B=18.8ppm C=12.8ppm
  • Scanner resolution 2400x2400dpi
  • USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • SD, Sony Memory Stick and USB
  • 150 sheet input tray + 20 ADF
  • 3.7in screen
  • cartridge cost B= £30? C=£30? x 3
  • print yield (pages) B=1200 C=1200 x 3
  • 480 x 290 x 185mm (wdh)
  • 9.3kg
  • 2-year warranty
  • Printer, scanner, copier, fax
  • 6000x1200dpi print resolution
  • quoted print speed B=35ppm C=27ppm
  • actual print speed B=18.8ppm C=12.8ppm
  • Scanner resolution 2400x2400dpi
  • USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • SD, Sony Memory Stick and USB
  • 150 sheet input tray + 20 ADF
  • 3.7in screen
  • cartridge cost B= £30? C=£30? x 3
  • print yield (pages) B=1200 C=1200 x 3
  • 480 x 290 x 185mm (wdh)
  • 9.3kg
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

The economic design of Brother's MFC-J4510DW is a welcome innovation in a crowded market and the addition of A3 printing is an attractive bonus. Good controls, connectivity and speeds also make this worth consideration but it's let down by disappointing colour imagery.

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