Brother MFC-J895DW full review

Brother's MFC-J895DW is a thoroughly versatile multifunction printer that can handle a wide range of printing tasks at home or in a small office. However, the relatively high cost of replacement ink cartridges mean it's more suited to light use on an occasional basis rather than churning out lots of pages every day.

And, like several of Brother's 'home smart' printers, the MFC-J895DW is only available through Amazon, currently for £138 or $99.99 in the US, so there's not much room for manoeuvre on the pricing either.

Here's our review of the Brother MFC-J895DW, evaluating its capabilities as a printer for Mac and iPhone owners. We tested its print speed and quality to find out if it's the right choice for you. For more general buying advice, see Best printer for Mac.

Features & design

The Brother is a little pricey for a home printer, but it earns its keep with an extensive range of printing and connectivity features. It clearly has one eye on people who work from home, as it includes a fax machine along with its 1200 x 6000dpi printer, and 1200 x 2400dpi scanner and copier.

The main paper tray in the base of the printer holds 150 sheets of A4 paper, and there's a second tray at the back that allows you to insert glossy photo paper. And, to speed up scanning and copying chores, there's an automatic document feeder on the top of the printer as well.

The MFC-J895DW also supports duplex (two-sided) printing, with options for both 'long edge' and 'short edge' binding, which can be useful for printing smart-looking calendars, school reports, or the occasional business presentation.

The inclusion of features like the document feeder means the MFC-J895DW is a little bulkier than some of its rivals, measuring 420mm wide, 341 deep and 172mm high, but you can still sit it on a desk or shelf without too much trouble. And there's no shortage of options when it comes to placing the printer either, as it's very well connected and provides both Wi-Fi and USB, as well as ethernet for people - like me - who have an office in a back bedroom where the wifi is a bit dodgy. It supports AirPrint too, so you can use it with your iPhone or iPad as well.

Our only real complaint here is that installing the Mac software is a little fiddly. The CD provided with the printer can install the software for Windows PCs, but Mac users have to head off to the Brother website to find the Mac software. Then, for some reason, the installer program that you download only installs software for printing from a Mac, and if you want to use the scanner as well then you're told to go off and download the scanner app from the Mac App Store separately.

Fortunately, the Mac software works well, and once we'd downloaded and installed both apps we had no problems setting up the printer for use with our office iMac.

Brother MFC-J895DW review: Features & design

Print speed

Brother lists the speed of the MFC-J895DW at 12 pages per minute (ppm) for mono text and 10ppm for colour. Our tests actually produced slightly lower speeds of around 10ppm for text documents and 8.5ppm for business documents that contain both text and colour graphics, but those speeds are still perfectly adequate for light use at home or in a small office.

It's pretty speedy when it comes to glossy photo prints as well, producing a 4x6in postcard in just 25 seconds - which is actually faster than some of the more specialised photo printers that we've reviewed.

Print quality

Print quality is good too, with text being particularly crisp and smooth, so the MFC-J895DW won't embarrass you if you need to produce high-quality documents for work or a school report. Our glossy photo prints were also very attractive - especially for a basic four-colour printer - with good contrast that helped to highlight the strong, bright colours.

So the MFC-J895DW is more than capable of handling a wide range of printing tasks, from simple letters and school reports to glossy marketing brochures for a small business.

Running costs

It's hard to fault the performance and features of the MFC-J895DW but, as is so often the case, the thing that you need to look out for is the cost of the replacement ink cartridges.

Brother's standard-size cartridges cost £8.39 each for the three coloured inks - cyan, magenta and yellow - while the black cartridge is quite a bit more expensive at £13.19. However, all four cartridges have the same 'page yield' of 200 pages, which means that simple text documents from that expensive black ink cartridge work out at a hefty 6.5p per page - well above average for an ordinary inkjet printer.

Colour printing with these standard-size cartridges is also relatively high at 12.5p per page. At those prices, we wouldn't recommend using the MFC-J895DW more than once a week, but Brother does sell larger XL cartridges that last for 400 pages, as well as a multi-pack with all four inks, which help to bring prices down a bit.

Bought on their own, the three colour XL cartridges cost £12 each - £36 in total - and last for 400 pages, which brings the cost of colour printing down to a more acceptable 9p per page. But, once again, the black ink proves expensive with the black XL cartridge stepping up to £16.80 for 400 pages. That does bring the cost down to about 4p per page, but that's still above average for simple black-and-white printing.

There's a multipack that contains all four standard size cartridges for £33.60, but that doesn't save you much either. Fortunately, the XL multipack comes to the rescue, with a total price of £51.60 for all four XL size cartridges, and that brings mono text down to about 3p per page, and colour printing to around 9.5p.

View all of Brother's cartridges for the MFC-J895DW here.

Verdict

There's no doubt that the MFC-J895DW is a versatile workhorse printer that can handle a wide range of printing tasks, and provides good connectivity for a home or office network, as well as Apple's mobile iOS devices.

Brother really needs to do something about the cost of its ink cartridges, as it's really only the XL cartridges and multi-packs that provide reasonable running costs for daily use. But as long as you stick to the XL cartridges, the MFC-J895DW is a good option for light use at home or in a small office.

Find the best price

Best prices today

Retailer Price Delivery  

Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide