It makes a good first impression, as it’s a neatly designed printer that won’t take up too much space in your bedroom or home office. It’s solidly built too. There’s a built-in scanner and copier, but no wireless option so you can’t connect it to your home network and share it with other users. More of a bugbear is that no USB cable is provided with the printer. For some reason Brother’s designers have put the USB port right inside the printer, which means that you might need to buy a fairly long cable in order to connect it to your PC.
Apart from that one little oddity, the DCP-J125 is nice and easy to use. There are simple one-button controls for scanning documents and printing photos off memory cards. The printer software is also well designed, with options such as a ‘vivid’ colour mode to enhance photos, reversed ‘mirror’ printing, and the ability to put a date stamp or watermark on your documents.
Print quality is good too, with smooth, sharp text and good photo prints even on plain paper. However, we were a bit disappointed by the DCP-J125’s printing speeds. It’s common for manufacturers to hype up a printer's performance by quoting speeds that are based on a low quality draft mode, but even if you take that into account Brother’s estimates of 33 pages per minute for mono documents and 27ppm for colour are wildly over the top. We got a very modest 3.5ppm for printing plain text documents, and 3ppm for colour. Even a simple 4x6in postcard print took 100 seconds, compared to Brother’s claim of 49 seconds.
Printing costs are about average, coming in at around 4.4p for black and white and 12p for colour. The Brother DCP-J125 uses separate ink cartridges for each colour, so you only need to replace individual cartridges as they run out. Brother also sells a number of ‘value packs’ containing multiple ink cartridges, which are much better value than buying the cartridges individually. The DCP-J125 also has a low-power ‘deep sleep’ mode that reduces the power consumption to less than 1W when it’s not being used, which can help you to save money on your energy bill. Even so, at this price, the DCP-J125 still seems rather expensive given its very modest printing speeds.