Brother MFC-J5330DW review

Brother’s new MFC-J5330DW is a bit of a beast of a multi-function inkjet printer, but this is because – unlike most - it can print on A3 paper as well as A4. The bulky design is almost as ungainly as its cumbersome name – and it’s certainly not aimed at home users who simply want a compact printer for occasional use. However, it provides good performance and a versatile set of features, and will make an excellent workhorse printer for small businesses and people who work from home.

Brother MFC-J5330DW review: price

The MFC-J5330DW costs £190.80 ($199) bought directly from Brother, but you can buy it from Amazon for £147.99, which is very competitive for a fast, versatile printer such as this – especially one that also provides an option for occasional A3 printing.

Brother MFC-J5330DW review: Features and design

The size of the MFC-J5330DW is a bit daunting at first. It measures a full 304mm high, 520mm wide, and 400mm deep (450mm with the rear paper feed open), but we were relieved to see that it’s not as heavy as it looks, you should be able to lift it out of the box onto a desk without needing any help.

It packs a lot into that bulky black frame too, including a 4800x1200dpi inkjet printer with automatic two-sided printing, 1200x2400dpi scanner and copier, and fax machine. As well as USB and Wi-Fi connectivity, the MFC-J5330DW also includes an Ethernet interface for office networks, along with support for Apple’s AirPrint for iOS devices and Google CloudPrint for everyone else. It even allows you to scan documents straight to an online Evernote account, Dropbox, Google Drive or MS OneDrive.

Brother MFC-J5330DW review 

There’s a 250-sheet paper tray in the base of the printer, a single-sheet manual feed at the back, and a 50-sheet automatic document feeder for the scanner, and Brother quotes a recommended monthly output of up to 2,000 pages, so the MFC-J5330DW should certainly be able to cope with the demands of most small offices.

You also have the option of using the MFC-J5330DW for occasional A3 printing. Brother prefers to call this an A4 printer first, A3 second, because there's just the one paper tray. It can accept A3 paper, but since most poeple print primarily on A4, you can fill the tray with A4 stock, and when you need A3, just place individual sheets of A3 into the manual feed at the back.

Brother MFC-J5330DW review: Performance

Brother quotes speeds of 22 pages per minute for mono printing and 20ppm for colour. That's for A4, of course. We actually got 20ppm for mono in our tests, and 15ppm for colour, but that’s still good for a printer in this price range and perfectly adequate for most small offices.

The A3 printing option is quite a bit slower – it took 3.5 minutes to print a Batman film poster (admittedly very heavy on the dark greys and blacks), but it’s still nice to have that option for the occasional marketing brochure or advert.

Print quality is very good, with smoothly outlined text that lives up to Brother’s claims of being ‘laser-comparable’. But, of course, this four-colour inkjet printer can handle graphics and photo prints as well, with good all-round quality that will be suitable for business graphics and reports, as well as the occasional photo print.

Brother MFC-J5330DW review: Running costs

Some of the Brother printers that we’ve reviewed in the past have been criticised for their high running costs but, thankfully, Brother seems to have addressed that issue with the MFC-J5330DW. The prices of its standard and XL size ink cartridges haven’t changed much, but the capacity of those cartridges has increased quite dramatically, which helps to reduce the overall cost per page.

When bought directly from Brother, the standard Black cartridge costs £19.19 and lasts for 550 pages, which, admittedly, does work out at an above-average 3.5p per page. However, a set of cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges comes to £43.17 with a similar 550-page capacity, which comes in at a quite reasonable 8p per page for colour printing.

You can reduce prices further if you opt for Brother’s high-capacity XL cartridges. The Black XL cartridges costs £37.19, but increases capacity to an impressive 3000 pages, reducing the cost of mono printing to a very competitive 1.25p per page. A set of XL colour cartridges costs £75.57, and lasts for 1500 pages, which brings colour printing down to an equally competitive 5p per page. And, of course, you may be able to save a bit more on the inks if you shop around online.

Brother MFC-J5330DW: Specs

  • A4/A3 colour inkjet printer with 4800x1200dpiresolution
  • 1200x2400dpi scanner/copier
  • Paper tray 1 – 250 sheets
  • Paper tray 2 – single-sheet manual feed
  • 50-sheet automatic document feeder
  • Connectivity – USB, Wifi, Ethernet, Apple AirPrint, Google CloudPrint
  • Dimensions – 304 x 520 x 400mm, 16.9kg
  • A4/A3 colour inkjet printer with 4800x1200dpiresolution
  • 1200x2400dpi scanner/copier
  • Paper tray 1 – 250 sheets
  • Paper tray 2 – single-sheet manual feed
  • 50-sheet automatic document feeder
  • Connectivity – USB, Wifi, Ethernet, Apple AirPrint, Google CloudPrint
  • Dimensions – 304 x 520 x 400mm, 16.9kg

OUR VERDICT

It’s not the most elegant printer we’ve ever come across, but its strong performance, low running costs, and that handy option for A3 printing combine to make the MFC-J5330DW a good workhorse printer that will really earn its keep in any small office.