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Brother MFC-J6945DW A3 4-in-1
As must be appreciated, as this a full A3 machine, it is both weighty (at 24kg) and occupies a fair amount of office space. It is 58cm wide by roughly 70cm deep when one takes into account the bypass hopper at the rear and the amount that the A3 paper tray projects at the front. Although the machine is only about 38cm high, in use it needs additional headroom. In fact, the total height increases to 67cm with the ADF (automatic document feed) raised to expose the platen. However, this will not generally be an everyday occurrence as, in most cases, one will just place originals for scanning or copying in the ADF. Overall, the machine is not overlarge for what it is able to do. Nevertheless, once in place, one will probably not really want to move it.
Although there is a choice of USB, Ethernet or wireless connectivity (as well as NFC such as Apple Airprint) I chose to use WiFi as I only needed to place the machine near a power point on a separate table without having to worry about having data cables around that could be tripped over.
Although the machine is equipped with a built-in analogue fax, no fax connection cable is provided in the box as standard in the interests of eliminating material waste. (This seems a sensible approach in view of the fact that fax is decreasing in importance these days.) Should you need this cable, according to the documentation, it can be obtained FOC just by contacting Brother (www.brother.eu). This, I am assured, can be via live chat, phone or the email/web form.
There are two 500 sheet capacity paper trays. The upper would generally be used for A4 and the lower for A3 even though both have adjustable guides from A3 down to the 10 x 15cm photo size. When used for A4 a tray sits fully within the body of the machine, even though a tray will project forward from the body of the machine when loaded with A3 paper. There is a cover over this projecting portion of the lower tray to keep the paper stock clean when used for A3. The bypass on the rear of the machine has a 100 sheet capacity.
It can print double-sided automatically in A4 and A3 and has the claimed speed of up to 35 and 27 pages per minute for mono and colour respectively. This appears to be about right however the makers cite 22ipm mono & 20ipm colour based on ISO/IEC 24734 and so provides a means of comparison with other machines. Document printing quality is more than adequate for business usage for both black and for colour. When printing the usage monitor provides a paper-low warning as well as an indication of ink remaining based on either an ISO standard or on the actual printer usage.
Printing directly from one’s iPhone or Android device was both straightforward and fast.
Even though photos just take ages to print the quality was very acceptable even though this is a 4-ink machine rather than a photo printer.
The hinged control panel can be set to a comfortable angle to view the 95mm colour LCD touchscreen and the control panel. This is useful as, when copying, there are a wide range of options including A3/A4, single/double-sided, number copies and degree of enlargement/reduction (if any).
The provided Brother iPrint & iScan utility is often more convenient for setting up printing and scanning parameters than using the touch screen as the various options are more clearly displayed. These can be, for example, single/double-sided (using the ADF) and whether colour/mono as well as choosing the resolution to suit one’s needs. However, when using the screen one can set up a series of “short cuts” for regularly used tasks and so, in addition to saving time, one is less likely to get it wrong.
Overall, I found that this versatile machine has been designed to meet the varied needs of the business user –whether it be the smaller user or for a workgroup. This is not only in the range of tasks that it will carry out but also in the way it takes into account practical day-to-day issues. For example, as referred to above, it provides a warning when paper is low – rather than “out”.
With a list price of £514.80 including VAT but available on Amazon for £317.78, the machine appears to be competitively priced and, for the heavier user, larger capacity cartridges are available. However, as one unpacks the machine one sees a note in the Quick Setup Guide that the supplied ink cartridges have an approximate yield of 75% and 65% for the black and colour cartridges respectively. In view of the fact that this is a business machine, rather than a home machine where the vendor aims to compensate for the low initial price of the machine by making its money from the sale of cartridges I thought that this is rather mean of Brother but, however, just a niggle rather than a deterrent from buying a good all-round machine.
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