Brother MFC-J6510DW review

22 Feb 2011

Massively improved print speed and quality, and very low running costs. The scanner isn’t perfect, but it’s a superb deal

Brother MFC-J6510DW
Price when reviewed: 
230(£230 inc VAT)
Buy it now for 
5

Brother is alone in actively pushing A3 all-in-one inkjets, which has given its existing range several years of success, despite some flaws. Rather than rushing out more models to capitalise, Brother has instead taken the time to fix those weak points for this update.

On test we have the cheapest of three new models, the Brother MFC-J6510DW. For £192 exc VAT it offers 802.11n Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB connections, a 250-sheet input tray and 35-page ADF, plus full fax capability. Best of all, it will scan and copy at (or enlarge to) A3 size. This makes it a bit of a beast – you’ll need a 540 x 489mm area on your desk to house it – but you’ll soon forget that as you put it to work.

That’s because Brother has made monumental improvements to its A3 print engine. Gone are the crawling 5ppm mono and 2ppm colour prints; the MFC-J6510DW churned out text at rates of 11ppm and 7.5ppm respectively. It produced a best-quality photo in one minute at 6 x 4in, 1min 57secs at A4, and the all-important A3 photo rolled out in just 3mins 43secs. Compare that to over 17 minutes for the previous print engine.

Print quality is also greatly improved. Colours have tremendous vibrancy and real depth to shadows, gradients are perfectly smooth, and our only minor complaint was a tiny amount of speckling in solid areas of colour. As long as your photos are of a high enough resolution you won’t notice from a sensible viewing distance.

Brother MFC-J6510DW

Documents look good rather than stellar, with a lack of depth to blacks and crispness to edges. And the scanner is similar, with a softness that reduces the impact of the vivid colour capture. This carries over to copies, giving text and images a slight fuzziness, but while far from outstanding, it’s acceptable next to all but the best-quality rivals. And it’s quick, taking just 19 seconds to scan an A3 photo at 300ppi.

There’s not a lot Brother can do about the sheer size of the MFC-J6510DW, but it could still do with a little design work. The 3in screen and menu system in particular feel clunky – if you can up your budget to the top-end model you’ll get a touchscreen to ease the pain. It’s also noisy, at times whirring and squeaking so much it sounds more like a Star Wars droid than a printer.

But they’re minor complaints that shouldn’t detract from an all-in-one that’s much improved. The purchase price is affordable, and if you shop around for the high-yield ink you can get running costs of just 1p for mono and 4.7p for colour. That’s very low, so if you have the desk space to fit it in your office this is about as good an A3 deal as you can get.

Details

Price ex VAT £192
Price inc VAT £230
Performance 5
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 5

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 6000 x 1200dpi
Integrated TFT screen? yes
Rated/quoted print speed 35PPM
Maximum paper size A3
Duplex function yes

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page 1.0p
Cost per A4 colour page 4.7p

Power and noise

Peak noise level 50.0dB(A)
Dimensions 540 x 489 x 257mm (WDH)
Peak power consumption 26W
Idle power consumption 4W

Copier Specification

Copier rated mono speed 23cpm
Copier rated colour speed 20cpm
Fax? yes
Fax speed 33.6Kb/sec
Fax page memory 400

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time 1min 1s
A4 photo print time 1min 57s
Mono print speed (measured) 11.1ppm
Colour print speed 7.5ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? no
Input tray capacity 250 sheets
Output tray capacity 50 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? yes
PictBridge port? yes

Flash media

SD card reader yes
Compact Flash reader no
Memory Stick reader yes
xD-card reader no

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported? yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported? yes
Operating system Windows 98SE supported? no
Other operating system support Mac OS X 10.4.11 and above; Linux

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