Brother MFC-J5330DW

Score

Pros

  • Fast print speeds
  • Useful twin paper sources
  • Decent running costs

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Single-sided scanner only
  • Average print quality

Key Features

  • Review Price: £148.00
  • A4 copy, scan and fax
  • Up to A3 print
  • Duplex print up to A4
  • Touch screen controls
  • 50-sheet ADF

What is the Brother MFC-J5330DW?

Brother is known for its speedy A4 landscape prints, and that innovation has allowed it to extend that speed to larger sizes.

The MFC-J5330DW is an A4 all-in-one, but it can also take A3 paper in a single-sheet feed at the rear, or by extending its main paper tray, with up to 250 sheets at the front. This extends its versatility, with it capable of printing posters or A4 newsletters, folded down from A3.

Brother MFC-J5530DW – Design and Features

This machine is a big, black box, larger than some of the competition, partly due to the need for printing A3 pages and A4 sheets from top to bottom – rather than side to side. It has a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) at the top, which hinges back to reveal an A4 flatbed glass.

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In front is a fold-out control panel, with a 68mm touchscreen. This is a resistive touch sensor, which is fine, although it isn’t as responsive  as a typical capacitive unit. There’s a physical number pad to the right of the screen for dialling fax numbers and three further buttons for back, home and cancel.

Brother MFC-J5330DW
To the left of the control panel is an USB port for plugging in USB drives, and to the right is the cover of the ink cartridge compartment. Each cartridge slides easily into the machine, making maintenance super quick.

Connection is via USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi, with the last of these being the most flexible. As well as providing easy connection for PCs, Macs, iOS and Android devices, it enables the machine to scan to and print from the cloud, independently of any intermediary.

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Brother provides a copy of Nuance PaperPort 12, which is a capable application for document management and scanner control. There are also drivers for  print and scan, and freely downloadable apps for iOS and Android devices. The printer doesn’t include NFC connection, but the apps pick up the MFC-J5330DW without issue simply using Wi-Fi.

Brother MFC-J5330W – Performance and Print Quality

Brother rates the MFC-J5330DW at 22ppm in mono and 20ppm in colour. Under test, we saw 11.1ppm mono in our five-page test, rising to 16.2ppm in the 20-page, longer document. These are respectable speeds, even though they’re not that close to Brother’s claims. The draft speed for a five-page document was even higher, at 18.7ppm, and the duplex 20-page document gave a better than average 11.8 sides per minute.

Brother MFC-J5330DW 2

A single-page colour copy came through in an impressive 11 seconds and five pages of mono text from the ADF took just 33 seconds. 15 x 10cm photos took between 1min 12secs and 1min 51secs, depending on source and the quality selected. Again, these are good results.

Print quality has always been a bit contentious, since Brother considers it pretty good, and the number of printers the company sells shows that customers feel much the same. But when I compare results with those from machines with thermal printheads – such as Canon and HP – text isn’t as sharp and colours aren’t as bright.

That’s on plain paper. When printing photos, on each company’s own-brand photo paper, there’s far less difference between Brother and other makes. Colours are bright where they should be and pleasantly pastel in landscapes. Detail is good throughout.

Brother MFC-J5330DW 3

Noise levels from this machine are decent, with a maximum figure of 63dBA measured at 0.5m. As always, the figure peaks when new sheets are being fed.

Should I buy the Brother MFC-J5330DW?

There are several machines in the same price range as the MFC-J5330DW, such as Epson’s £130 Workforce WF-7610DWF, which has a larger touchscreen and comparable print costs, and offers A3 copy and scan as well as print – but it’s noticeably slower.

At around the same price as the Epson, HP’s Officejet Pro 7740 offers a very similar feature set to the Brother, with A3 print but an A4 scanner. With that said, it isn’t eligible for HP’s Instant Ink subscription service, so print costs are higher than they are here.

Running costs for this Brother machine, at 1.7p for mono and 5.2p for colour, are better than average for the class of printer.

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Verdict

The MFC-J5330DW is a solid all-in one. Print quality is fair, however, rather than spectacular – and although this is a decent multi-function device overall, the competition is strong.

Score

Score in detail

  • Print Speed 8
  • Features 8
  • Value 7
  • Print Quality 7