The DCP-J525W is a multifunction device from Brother. This product provides scan, print and copy functions from a single unit. There is a choice of USB or wireless connectivity when setting up this device with the host computer.
With the A4 flatbed scanner mounted on top of an inkjet printer with 40MB of RAM, the DCP-J525W is predominately black in colour with dimensions of 405 x 160 x 378mm (W x H x D). While most of the unit adopts a matte finish, the lid of the A4 scanner combines a reflective sheen with a pattern of closely positioned dots. Sloping slightly down from the edge of the scanner lid is a panel containing a 49mm colour touch screen LCD and buttons for Home, Stop/Exit, Mono, Colour and Power. Although you can raise this screen at an angle, I found it easier to read when it was kept flat to the surface.
Positioned below this control panel is the 100-sheet paper tray which slots into a wide opening. This opening acts as the paper output and makes use of the input paper tray as its support. The DCP-J525W power lead attaches to the left side of the unit. As it does jut out a little you will need to make sure that same additional width space is catered for when positioning the unit.
To the right of the paper input/output is a concealed compartment into which you slot the four inkjet cartridges used by this product. Cartridges for black, yellow, cyan and magenta are supplied with the unit. The supplied cartridges hold approximately 80% of the amount you get when you purchase replacements. For some reason the printer failed to recognise the inkjet cartridges when I first inserted them. However by removing and then re-inserting them, the problem disappeared and the printer could continue with its set up routine and print out a test page.
While you do not need to delve into the bowels of this Brother unit when inserting the ink cartridges, you will need to do so when it comes to attaching the USB cable either as a permanent connection or temporary to help when setting up a wireless connection. The supplied MFL-Pro Suite software will lead you through this process as part of its installation process. As well as setting up the appropriate connection, the MFL-Pro Suite software will install the necessary drivers and accompanying software. A system restart will be required before you can make productive use of this multifunction device.
The Brother print driver supplied with this product gives you the choice of Fast,Normal, Fine or Best quality. Running my usual print tests featuring a 101-word document with and without some colour and a small image produced the speeds listed in the following table.
While Fast mode produced a slightly faint print that made it unsuitable for really important documents, it was fine for other purposes. The other three print settings could be used for all tasks although one mode did have an annoying hiccup. Whenever I selected to useNormalmode for a print run, whether in monochrome or with colour, there was a distinct pause before each page was totally ejected from the printer. This effect, which has been reported to Brother, did not occur with the other quality settings.
Using the supplied Brother software, I ran tests for printing photos. You are given the option to select the paper size and type plus choose a layout if more than one image is involved. A 10 x 15cm image with a white border took 12 seconds to print and the same image printed at A4 size was completed in 36 seconds. Print quality was excellent especially at the speed at which the images were printed. When using the unit’s photocopying facility I was disappointed at the quality of the printed page with an A4 sheet taking 25 seconds.
Brother has added new functionality to several of its multifunction devices including the DCP-J525W model. You can now communicate with the Brother unit using a smartphone. Free apps are available for downloading for the iPhone, Android and Windows phones. For testing purposes I used the Nokia Lumia 800, a Windows smartphone, with the Print&Scan app.
Initially I was unable to make a contact between the Brother unit and my smartphone. Despite a sore throat, a member of Brother’s support team was able to resolve the problem. I had been sent a DCP-J525W model that had not been upgraded to the latest firmware and so an update was required. This problem will not affect retail units of this model which should contain the latest software.
With the problem solved I was able to sent images from my smartphone to the Brother device for printing. Settings can be assigned from the smartphone for print size and paper quality. I did encounter an error message on the smartphone that appeared during the printing of an A4 colour image on glossy paper. This message stated that a problem had occurred but I could opt to continue printed. The resulting print produced in 2 minutes 10 seconds was fine. The app also works in the opposite direction with the DCP-J525W sending the results of a scan to the smartphone.
Apart from the problem with the pause before paper was ejected in a print run using theNormalsetting (this is being looked into by Brother), I was happy with the performance and most results achieved with the DCP-J525W. Brother has priced this unit at £117.60. Replacement cartridges cost £19.19 for black and £11.99 for each of the three colours.
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