Ink-jet printer manufacturers know that the single, most common complaint about their products is the high cost of ink. They’re finally starting to address the problem with higher-capacity ink tanks and other tricks.
The new Brother MFC-J985DW-XL multifunction printer is one example of this trend. In a form of pay more now and save later, the device comes with what Brother claims is a two-year supply of ink — based on an average of 300 printed pages per month.
But low-cost ink isn’t this home and small-business, print/copy/fax machine’s only selling point; it also has extensive flexibility and a host of connectivity options.
Extending the definition of ‘All-in-one’
Hello. My name is Michael, and I’m a printer junkie. Over the years I’ve used and reviewed dozens of printers. Until recently, my favorite was the Canon PIXMA MX700 (more info), a multifunction device (MFD) that’s still chugging away in my home office. But, like almost all ink-jet printers, the cost of printing is unconscionably high. Feeding it ink feels like buying expensive wine for unpleasant guests.
I now have a new favorite MFD: The Brother MFC-J985DW-XL (see Figure 1; more info) is both versatile and effective at reducing printing costs. Here’s the high points, based on my hands-on review.
An easy and quick setup: The XL has the usual selection of connectivity options — USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, near-field communication, and SD card (for direct photo printing). Because my workspace is already a nest of cables, I started out with Wi-Fi-only printing. The printer’s built-in software, accessed from a 2.7-inch touchscreen display, handled the link to my iOS and Android mobile devices. Connecting to a Windows PCs, via either wire or Wi-Fi, requires installing drivers and applications supplied on an included CD or downloaded from a Brother webpage.
To set up Wi-Fi printing, I simply entered my local-network SSID and password into the XL’s 2.7-inch touchscreen display. I was then ready to print from my tablet and phone — the entire process took maybe five minutes. Loading paper into the 100-sheet paper tray was a bit less easy: it required pulling the tray completely out of the printer. Directly above this tray is a second tray that’s reserved for up to 20 sheets of photo paper.