Brother claims ISO speeds for the MFC-J870DW of 12ppm for black print and 10ppm for colour. Our 5-page text print gave 7.5ppm in normal print and 9.4ppm in draft mode. This increased to 10.2ppm for normal print on the longer, 20-page test piece, though, which is not far off the claim and is a fair speed for this class of printer.
The black text and colour graphics print returned 5.6ppm, which isn’t even close to the 10ppm quoted, but compared with similar machines, isn’t a bad speed. Copies took 23s for a single colour page from the glass and 1:15 for five pages through the ADF. Neither speed is impressive.
A 15 x 10cm photo print from a PC took 1:48, which is fine, but over 4 minutes from SD card, PictBridge camera and Samsung Galaxy Mini Android phone. These are excessively slow times and Brother is investigating our results.
The quality of the photo prints is well up with the competition, with accurately muted, natural colours and bold primaries, when needed. On plain paper, things aren’t quite as clean, with some graininess in areas of solid fill and fading when copying colours. Black text is dense and solid, but not quite as precise from the peizo electric heads in this machine as from the best of the thermal inkjets.
The ink cartridges are available in two capacities and using the high yield versions gives page costs of 3.3p for black and 7.9p for colour, both including 0.7p for paper. The black print price is similar to many of the printer’s main competitors, but the colour costs is up to 2p lower than from some direct rivals.
For the money it makes a good case for itself. Direct competitors to this machine are all-in-ones like the Canon PIXMA MG6350 and the HP Photosmart 7520, both of which produce sharper text on plain paper, but neither is as well equipped to handle all the requirements of typical family or SOHO use.
You certainly get a lot of all-in-one for your money with this printer. It’s very well specified, with wireless print including NFC connection, duplex print, separate plain and photo paper trays, CD/DVD direct print and touchscreen controls. You can print from memory cards and PictBridge cameras, too. It's not as fast as the latests HPs, but it's a very good all-round printer.