Brother claims a slightly faster throughput for the MFC-J4710DW, at 35ppm for black and 27ppm for colour, than from the previous two models we’ve reviewed. Under test, though, we saw little difference and nothing like these speeds.
Our five page text print gave 8.3ppm, which is good for an inkjet, and this increased to 11.5ppm on the 20-page document. In duplex mode, standard on this device, it still managed 5.9 sides per minute. The five-page, A4 text and colour graphics test gave 3.2ppm and, slightly oddly, the five-page, A3 document completed 11s faster, mainly because there was less of an ink drying pause on the larger sheets.
15 x 10cm photo prints took between 1:05 and 1:17, depending on the source of the print and these are good times, though some Canon and Epson machines can beat them.
The print quality score is based not just on Brother’s usual fairly rough black text print, but on the colour copy output, too. Text is very faint and colours look washed out. What’s odd is that increasing the density level one notch improves things a lot, so you wonder why Brother chose the Normal setting it did. The machine reverts to its default setting when you switch it off.
Colour graphic prints on plain paper are bright and clear and A3 prints are as good as on smaller sheets. Photo prints on Brother’s BP71 paper are good, too, with smooth colour transitions and plenty of detail.
The ‘ruffling’ of sheets Brother has to perform to feed A4 landscape sheets across the grain without jamming is noisy, though less so than with previous models in the range. We still measured 68dBA at 0.5m, though, which is loud.
Brother’s ink cartridge costs have dropped slightly and both the standard and XL versions are now a pound or so cheaper, if you shop around. This gives best-case costs per page of 2.7p for black and 6.2p the colour. These costs are very competitive and show that in many cases inkjet print more than rivals laser.
This is the best of Brother's new range of small-footprint, A3 all-in-ones we've looked at. That's partly because of its full A3 capability and partly because of useful extra features, such as the full duplex scan head and good card and device connectivity. A3 paper handling still looks a bit ‘occasional’, though, and default copy settings give poor results.