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Brother MFC-J805DW review

If you’re sick of paying for constant ink refills, the Brother MFC-J805DW is the printer for you thanks to its innovative INKvestment system.

Brother MFC-J805DW all-in-one printer
(Image: © Brother)

Our Verdict

The Brother MFC-J805DW printer might not be a looker, but it’s got it where it counts. It prints high quality documents and even photos, and the innovative ink system means it’s the most cost efficient printer we’ve seen.

For

  • Great ink capacity and efficiency
  • Mobile printing
  • ADF

Against

  • It's ugly
  • Slow photo printing

The Brother MFC-J805DW might not be the prettiest printer that you’ve ever laid eyes on, but it has a party piece that we think will help you see past its 90s office aesthetic - an epic ink capacity. Brother calls the system here its INKvestment Tank System and it allows the Brother MFC-J805DW to run for around a year without needing any ink replacements (based on an average of 150 pages printed per month). If you’re looking for the best all-in-one printers and don’t want the hassle of constantly checking and replacing your ink cartridges, this is the one for you.

It’s got all the other usual trimmings that you’d expect too. ADF, scanner and copier, wireless connectivity and printing from mobiles devices. In fact, there really isn’t much to complain about with the Brother MFC-J805DW. We just wish it wasn’t so darn ugly.

Brother MFC-J805DW review: Print quality

When it comes to print quality, the Brother MFC-J805DW impresses on all fronts. Text documents print off with sharp edges that make the writing crystal clear, while color printing for images and graphics is also equally impressive. Tom’s Guide noted some slight visual banding on close inspection of color images in its review, but this was only visible when looking close up. Print speeds are decent too, with the Brother MFC-J805DW just about hitting its target of 12 pages per minute for black and white pages and 6 pages per minute for color.

Brother MFC-J805DW all-in-one printer

(Image credit: Brother)

The Brother MFC-J805DW is also great as a photo printer, at least when it comes to print quality. Again, Tom’s Guide noted that photos printed with good color saturation and range of tones. This issue with photo printing on the Brother MFC-J805DW is the excruciatingly slow speed, as it took nearly eight and a half minutes to print a single letter-sized photo.

Brother MFC-J805DW review: Features

Like most of the printers we’ve looked at, the Brother MFC-J805DW is an inkjet printer, so you’ll need to keep it topped up with ink by buying replacement cartridges. Unlike most others though, you won’t be doing that very often thanks to Brother’s rather amusingly named INKvestment Tank system. This unique tank design allows for larger ink cartridges and more efficient usage of ink when printing, without sacrificing the relatively small size of that you’d expect from a home printer. 

Brother states that this results in a cost per page of less than $0.01 per page in black and less than $0.05 per page in color. By comparison, PCMag noted that the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 costs you about $0.22 per page in black and less than $0.88 per page in color. That makes the Brother MFC-J805DW the obvious choice if printer ink economy is a priority for you.

The Brother MFC-J805DW also comes with some other extra features that we liked, including the 20 sheet capacity automatic document feeder for scanning, copying, and printing. This capacity is lower than some others in this price range, but it's still a nice time saving feature. It has a 150 sheet paper tray capacity, with an output tray capacity of 50 printed sheets. Overall, it has an OK capacity that would suit the home or a small office, but it will struggle in a large office environment.

Brother MFC-J805DW all-in-one printer

(Image credit: Brother)

You can print wirelessly from your devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops. Other smart features include the ability to scan and copy directly to cloud storage systems including  Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. There is a 1.8-inch color display for operating the printer directly too.

Brother MFC-J805DW review: Price and warranty 

The Brother MFC-J805DW has an MSRP of $159.99 and this comes with up to a year’s worth of ink in the tank (based on an assumption of 150 pages printed per month at a 60/40 split between black/color printing. For most households, the Brother MFC-J805DW will live up to that one-year’s ink promise as 150 pages is plenty, but for a small office, you’re probably going to use up the ink a little faster.

You get a two-year warranty with the Brother MFC-J805DW along with free online, call, or live chat support for the life of the product. This is a good level of support, as many printer’s only offer one year cover.

Should you buy the Brother MFC-J805DW? 

The Brother MFC-J805DW is a fantastic printer that can manage just about any task. It prints high quality documents and images at a good speed (for the most part, photo printing is glacial). The INKvestment system is the real killer feature here though, and it makes the Brother MFC-J805DW one of the most ink efficient printers on the market. The only major downside is the drab 90s office aesthetic, but if you want to save money on a great printer, that’s a small price to pay.