Brother MFC J680DW Review

The Brother Work Smart MFC-J680DW is a jack of all trades among home and office printers, combining better-than-average print quality with a fairly full feature set. It may not be the best home all-in-one printer in every dimension, but it’s a capable printer that has a lot to offer.

Our Verdict

The Brother Work Smart MFC-J680DW does a little bit of everything, with capable document printing and scanning, but it’s a little more expensive to use than other printers.

For

  • The document printing and scanning functions performed well in our testing.

Against

  • Slightly higher ink prices make it less affordable than similar printers.
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Easy-to-access cartridge slots make it convenient to replace empty ink cartridges, and Brother's unique cartridge design features a protective cover over the ink nozzles that reduces the chance of spills during installation.

Easy-to-access cartridge slots make it convenient to replace empty ink cartridges, and Brother's unique cartridge design features a protective cover over the ink nozzles that reduces the chance of spills during installation.
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The printer has a relatively high cost per page, but had better-than-average quality for document printing and scanning in our testing.

The printer has a relatively high cost per page, but had better-than-average quality for document printing and scanning in our testing.
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This multifunction inkjet printer offers good all-around performance and a solid feature set, with web-connected features, direct printing from USB storage and media cards, and wireless printing for both Apple and Android devices.

This multifunction inkjet printer offers good all-around performance and a solid feature set, with web-connected features, direct printing from USB storage and media cards, and wireless printing for both Apple and Android devices.

The Brother Work Smart MFC-J680DW is a jack of all trades among home and office printers, combining better-than-average print quality with a fairly full feature set. It may not be the best home all-in-one printer in every dimension, but it’s a capable printer that has a lot to offer.

Unlike the top performers, like the HP Officejet Pro, which averages more than 15 pages per minute (ppm), the Brother Work Smart was a little slow, humming steadily along at 10 pages per minute for both black-and-white and color documents. That may not be a big issue if you only print a few pages at a time, but if speed is a priority, you might want to look at a faster printer. Speed aside, the print quality was almost as good as the best all-in-one printers we reviewed.

While the printer did just fine with documents, photo printing suffered because the machine slightly damaged the photo paper. A few of our test prints had crimping damage along the leading edge of the paper, and that’s reason enough not to recommend it for photo printing.

Ink expenses are also fairly middle of the road, costing 16 cents per page using standard-capacity ink cartridges. That’s a tad higher than the 15-cent average we saw in our review, but you can save money by opting for high-capacity cartridges, which lower the cost to 12 cents per page. That’s a lot more reasonable, but it’s still a far cry from the most economical printer.

The printer has a standard 100-page paper tray, which is par for the course, and a secondary tray just for photo paper. The tray holds up to 20 pages and sits on top of the main tray, sliding into position to switch from regular paper to photo paper. That sliding function is a little finicky, so you might need to do it a few times to get a feel for the right positioning.

There is an automatic document feeder built in to the lid of the scanner, but it folds out of sight when not in use. The feeder tray accepts up to 20 pages at a time, so you can scan larger documents. Scanner and copier quality was better than average in our testing, and you can scan documents directly to online services like Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.

You can also print directly from both memory cards and USB storage, thanks to a built-in card slot and USB port. You can preview photos on the printer’s 2.7-inch touchscreen and print directly from any PictBridge-enabled camera. All of these features are geared toward letting you print without first dumping files on a PC.

Like all wireless all-in-one printers, the Brother MFC-J680DW has Wi-Fi networking and Wi-Fi Direct for connecting directly to devices. Thanks to Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print, it is compatible with both Apple and Android devices, and it has Mopria-certified support for other devices. Brother also offers functions like remote printing and scanning to your device through a proprietary app.

Brother covers the Work Smart MFC-J680DW with a standard one-year warranty, which includes free phone support for the life of the product. Brother also offers support through email and live chat on its website. Online support materials include a searchable user manual and answers to frequently asked questions.

For a good mix of quality printing and helpful features, the Brother Work Smart MFC-J680DW is better than average, but it does have a few problems; it damaged photo prints during our testing and costs a bit more per page than many of the best inkjet printers. That said, it prints and scans quality documents, is compatible with mobile devices, and has an appealing feature set.

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