Brother rates the MFC-5895CW at 35ppm printing black and 28ppm printing colour. We presume these are draft speeds but, even so, they’re very optimistic. Under test, we saw a maximum draft speed of 8.6ppm and normal mode speeds vary between 4.0ppm on shorter, black text documents, and 4.4ppm on longer ones. These are both slow, in comparison with rival machines.
Things aren’t much better printing colour, with an A4 speed of 2.6ppm and an A3 speed of 1.7ppm. Compare these with 4.2ppm and 2.7ppm from the HP Officejet 7500A and you see this is a printer around 60 percent slower.
There’s no respite when it comes to photo printing, either. 15 x 10cm prints took around 1:40, which is OK though not speedy, but when it comes to an A3 photo - one reason you would choose an A3 printer - it took 14:27, one of the longest times we’ve seen for any printer. This really is a slow print engine, particularly when it comes to large paper sizes. We also saw paper misfeeds on both our standard multiuse paper and on Brother’s glossy photo paper – unusual with a new printer.
Black print looks a little fuzzy, particularly on emboldened text, but is serviceable enough. Draft print is a lot fainter than normal mode, but may still be useful for…well, drafts. Colour print on plain paper is rather insipid and even more so on a colour copy. Photo prints, though, are above average in Photo print mode, though there’s better dark area detail in the much slower, Highest quality.
The four ink cartridges are available in two capacities and using the high-yield versions gives page costs of 2.8p for black and 6.7p for colour. These are reasonable figures, not best-of-class, but costs you should be able to live with.
While Brother’s MFC-5895CW offers most of the features you might want from a small and home office all-in-one; print, scan, copy, fax and photo download, it doesn’t excel at them. In particular, A3 photo prints are slow enough to make them impractical in some circumstances. It feels as if the print engine needs a revamp to be up with the competition.