The new Brother MFC-J5720DW multi function printer arrived here just in time for us to try something different: printing photos on canvas. Mind you this is not the only thing this multi-talented printer can do. It is really an ingenious device, with so many functions and features it took a few weeks to get to know it - and even so I haven't used all of its potential.
Let's start with installation. With standard USB, Ethernet and wireless 802.11b/g/n interfaces you can set it almost anywhere in your house or office. The wireless connection was very welcome as we could have it somewhere in our home office but out of the way, seeing the desks here are pretty full already.
Physical interfaces such as USB, ethernet and phone line (this is a fax machine too!) is available under the main cover, which helps keeping any cables hidden and tidy.
The printer connects to wireless networks protected with WEP, WPA-PSK and WPA2-PSK standards and 802.11b/g/n support means it can really work in any office without much problem.
The 3.7" touchscreen LCD is very handy when it comes to manually configure the printer connections, if like me you rather not use the WPS (One-Oush Wireless Setup) standard.
With two main trays holding 250 sheets each plus one multi-purpose feeder in the back you can really minimise the number of reloads. Add to this the double-sided printing you can use the Brother MFC-J5720DW in a home office/small office environment with minimum handling needed.
The Brother MFC-J5720DW supports a variety of paper sizes, including Letter, Envelopes (Com-10, DL), A4, A5, A6, and manual sizes from 3.5" x 5" to 11" to 17". You can also print on photo paper and as I found out in my tests use the borderless printing feature to print to canvas paper.
You can mix and match the trays, as the printer will ask which paper size is loaded on each try when you remove it to refill. This way you reduce the chances of the "paper size not available" if your documents involve a mix of sizes, which can happen if you deal with US-based businesses which usually have Letter as standard.
The built-in scanner supports up to 2,400 DPI and allows you to scan from its flatbed (8.5" x 11.7") or a document feeder. Most importantly you don't need a connected computer to scan documents as it allows you to configure pre-set destinations including email addresses, FTP servers, media cards (using the built-in multi-function card reader), USB memory keys and even file shares in your network - the last one was very well used here during our tests with lots of personal documents being transferred to our home server.
The same flatbed scanner can be used as a copier, printing documents directly from the original.
You can connect this printer to cloud services such as Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, OneDrive and OneNote. Connection is pretty simple and in my tests with OneDrive pretty quick. You just have to visit a page on Brother's website, login into your cloud service and you will be given a code to enter on the printer via its touchscreen. Once this code is entered you can then browse and select documents for printing directly on the LCD with no need of a connected PC.
Brother also made the MFC-J5720DW compatible with Google Print services and most importantly made available mobile apps for Android, Apple iOs and Microsoft Windows Phone. These apps allow you to open some files on your mobile devices and print, or scan directly into your mobile device.
I also found out that third party mobile printing apps can sucessfuly print documents from these devices to the printer.
The specifications says we can expect 35 pages per minute (ppm) of black&white pages or 27ppm on colour pages, up to 6000 x 1200 dpi. You can expect slower printing for borderless photo quality but results are really good. You might have to experiment a bit though to get the rfight balance of photo quality and photo paper as the printer offers up Brother photo paper options and a generic photo paper option. In my tests I used the Epson photo paper I have here and it worked really well, after changing the defaults. As for the canvas print, yes it worked a treat and managed to print a few photos that look great after mounting.
You can also access the printer via a web interface, which makes it a lot faster to configure. From there you can change everything you can do on the touchscreen LCD as well as configure address books, fax and scan options, user restrictions, paper try priority, etc.
This printer uses a 4-cartridge ink system (M, C, Y, Black), with easy access via the front panel. The documentation says the ink cartridges can print up to1200 pages colour or 2400 pages black, but the ink cartrdiges included in the box are marked "Starter Ink Cartrdiges" so I supposed these have lower output capacity.
The printer is silent when not in use, with less than 50dB noise output when operating. It is also low power, with 1.7W consumption when in sleep mode, 5W when in Ready state and max 31W when in copy mode.
All said in done (sorry, I didn't test its fax capabilities) this is a most capable printer for small offices/home offices.