What would you consider revolutionary in the design of an inkjet printer? How does, printing across the page, rather than down it sound? That’s it, printing every A4 page in landscape mode. If it doesn’t sound like such a big deal, you should have a word with Brother, who is very excited to have perfected just this innovation in its MFC-J4510DW.
Several things follow from the move. The footprint of the machine is reduced, as the paper trays only need to project by the width of an A4 page, rather than its length and it should print faster, as the print heads make fewer passes across the paper to complete each page.
So why hasn’t every company done it? It’s to do with paper grain and the way the fibres lie. Try bending a sheet of A4 top to bottom and then side to side. It’s much easier side to side, because you’re bending with the grain. This means the paper is also more likely to jam in a printer, so Brother has developed a technique of ‘rippling’ the paper during the print process, to get over the problem.
The Brother MFC-J4510DW is smartly designed in black and white, with broad, consciously-designed seams between each of its parts. The top is completely flat, even though it contains a 20-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), whose feed tray folds up from the top.
The control panel hinges up from the front and consists of a 93mm touchscreen, with a touch-panel numeric pad beside, for entering fax numbers. This is a single touch screen, no gestures, but the screen is sensitive enough to make navigation straightforward.
To the left of the control panel, a cover folds down to show SD, MemoryStick and USB/PictBridge sockets and below is a 15-sheet paper tray which, of course, you load with A4 paper in landscape mode. At the back is a fold-out single-sheet feed, which is awkward to use because of small, imprecise paper guides.
You seem to have to load photo paper in portrait mode to get the rear feed to work, as it kept printing our test photos the wrong way round when we inserted them long edge first, but it does allow print of A3 pages, a sheet at a time. The Brother MFC-J4510DW should only be used as an occasional A3 printer, though.
Bundled software includes Nuance PaperPort and Brother’s MFL-Pro Suite. The ink cartridges, available in two capacities, clip into place from the front, in typical Brother fashion.