A multifunction printer, the Brother MFC-J625DW is one of the cheapest colour inkjet printers we've run across that features automatic duplex (two-sided) printing, which saves a lot of paper and money over the long haul. Other nice surprises include extraordinary speed for the price, and a two-year warranty.
The MFC-J625DW is easy to set up, via either USB or Wi-Fi. On the PC, setup is a simple matter of clicking through the dialog boxes. See also: Group test: what's the best inkjet printer?
On the Mac side, check your installation CD: If it has the 4.1.4 version of the driver, as our evaluation unit did, the Scan button will not show up in the Mac's System Preferences\Print & Fax dialog box. Downloading the 4.1.5 version will solve the problem. If you have already installed the older driver, you will need to install the new driver, and then delete and re-add the printer.
Brother includes PaperPort 12 LE on the PC, and Presto PageManager on the Mac, for scanning, document management, and OCR. The Brother Control Center handles the rest of the tasks for the Brother MFC-J625DW, including offloading photos from USB, SD Card, and Memory Stick storage inserted into the front-panel PictBridge and memory-card slots.
Also see: Brother MFC-J430w review
The paper-handling features on the Brother MFC-J625DW are adequate for low-volume use. We're glad to see the automatic two-sided printing (duplexing), a feature that's missing from this model's recently reviewed cousin, the bargain-priced Brother MFC-J430w; the function is even supported in both the PC and Mac drivers. The input tray holds 100 sheets, and the MFP also has a 20-sheet photo bypass tray. The automatic document feeder for the A4-size scanner holds 20 sheets.
The scanner will scan one-sided to two-sided, but not two-sided to two-sided.
In tests, the print speeds for the MFC-J625DW weren't what we usually expect to see from a £130 printer--they were much faster. The unit pumped out text pages at 8.9 pages per minute on the PC, and at a stunning 9.7 ppm on the Mac. colour graphics printed to plain paper were impressively fast at nearly 4.7 ppm, and scans and copies proceeded at a similarly brisk pace. Speed dropped to normal when we printed colour graphics to Brother's glossy photo paper, at a rate of about 1.2 ppm.
The quality of the Brother MFC-J625DW's output is more typical for an inkjet. On plain paper, text looks sharp, if more charcoal than true black. Graphics, however, appear washed out, most noticeably in photos and colour copies. colour photos on glossy paper are outstandingly bright and vibrant, though fine details aren't always as distinct as they could be. colour and monochrome scans can be rough or dark.
Ink prices for the MFC-J625DW are decent with the standard-size cartridges, and better with the higher-yield tanks. The standard £19, 300-page black is 6p per page, with the £12 300-page cyan, magenta, and yellow coming out to 4p per page; that's 18p per page for a four-colour printout. With the 600-page XL cartridges, black pages (£24) are 4p per page, and colour (£15) 2.5p. Thus a four-colour page is 11.5p per page.