Most business owners and regular computer civilians alike view printers in general as a necessary evil. They are large and oddly shaped, taking up room in almost every direction with paper trays and feeders. They’re also heavy, expensive to buy, and expensive to feed with ink cartridges. Most are pretty slow, not very versatile beyond three functions (scan/copy, fax, and print), and, overall, downright ugly. Some even smell funny after a while.
Brother International has changed all that with a very unique, imaginative, efficient, and very well-thought-out design for all-in-one printers. The Business Smart series color inkjet all-in-one printers resolve all the tradeoffs involved in choosing a component for the office or home.
Usually, one chooses between several desirable features, but settles for certain limitations. For example, if you need a fast all-in-one unit, it’s most likely going to be huge and clumsy. Opting for a more compact unit means forgoing many features. In either case, low printing costs are a pipe dream at best. Rather than composing variations on old themes, Brother’s Business Smart printers are a ground-up design, starting with the company’s development of Landscape Printing Technology.
Landscape Printing Technology literally reorients color inkjet printing. The approach involves changing how a page is stored and printed from portrait to landscape. In so doing, the printer’s footprint is significantly reduced, particularly in the horizontal plane.
The company also created a unique print engine and increased the size of its print heads to boost print speeds. Additionally, a redesign of the ink cartridges enables more space savings as well as impressively higher page yields. As per Brother, the series delivers the fastest in class print speeds and offers the smallest in class footprint. Other standard features include wireless and mobile printing, automatic two-sided (duplex) printing, and the ability to print documents measuring up to 11 by 17 in.
Brother’s flagship model in the series, the MFC-J4510DW, targets small and home office and businesses users (see the figure). Specs include Landscape Print Technology, standard print speeds up to 20 ppm (black) and 18 ppm (color), Fast Mode speeds up to 35 ppm (black) and 27 ppm (color), super-high-yield ink cartridges, a 3.7-in. swipe touchscreen display plus touchpanel, mobile-device compatibility with Google Cloud Print, Brother iPrint&Scan, Wi-Fi Direct, and Cortado Workplace, easy-setup wireless 802.11b/g/n and wired Ethernet networking, Web connectivity with Facebook, Picasa Web Albums, Flickr, Evernote, and Dropbox, and a 150-sheet paper tray with a 20-page automatic document feeder for faxing, copying, or scanning.
Available this October, the MFC-J4510DW carries an estimated street price of $199. It also includes free support for the life of the unit. Additional models in the series will be introduced later this year.
I attended a one-on-one demo of the MFC-J4510DW and got a glimpse at some of the higher-up models yet to be released. Aside from being highly impressed with Brother’s attention to both high performance and those minute details that the user will subconsciously appreciate, I would see no reason for any small or home business to go the laser-printer route unless they need to bulk-print text files. Other than that, the Business Smart series will leave most comparable laser printers choking on their own particulate.