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Brother MFC-J1010DW review: Little to love

The MFC-J1010DW is a compact, do-it-all home office MFP, but it’s devoid of any flair

Brother MFC-J1010DW against white background
Price
£104 exc VAT
  • Affordable
  • Useful features
  • Dull photo print quality
  • Underwhelming scanning capabilities
  • Unappealing design

Brother’s impenetrable model numbers seem appropriate for its unexciting but capable home office MFPs. The grey MFC-J1010DW might sound dull as dishwasher parts – and the boxy, unadventurous design does absolutely nothing to dissuade this notion – but look closer and there’s a surprising amount going on under the surface.

For example, unlike many budget MFPs, it can fax as well as print, scan, and copy, which is a rarely-seen (if rarely needed) feature at this price range. Another pleasant surprise is that it’s topped with a 20-sheet ADF for faster bulk scanning jobs. There’s automatic two-sided printing, and although the ADF itself isn’t duplex, there’s manual support for two-sided copying. Add in Wi-Fi and a colour screen, and that’s not a bad spec for a little over £100.

However, features alone aren’t enough to make a good MFP, and performance counts for a lot. Happily, the MFC-J1010DW is reasonably quick when printing black only, delivering 15.3ppm in our test, and spitting out an A4 copy in 13 secs, or ten mono copies in a minute and a half. It’s much slower in colour, though, managing only 3.7ppm in our graphical test. It needed almost 30 secs for a single colour photocopy, and ten pages took more than four minutes.

Brother has fitted the MFC-J1010DW with a rapid scanner capable of capturing an A4 page at 300dpi in just 14 secs. It also needed only 24 secs to scan a 6 x 4in photo at 600dpi. Like many other Brother scanners we’ve tested, however, the results were only so-so: easily up to archival purposes, but lacking the sharpness and dynamic range of the best rivals. In particular, the MFC-J1010DW struggled to distinguish between darker shades.

While there’s little to criticise about this MFP’s print quality, there’s little to love either. Black text and mono photocopies were fine. Photos were good enough for occasional use, but this printer’s target market probably cares more about colour prints and copies on plain paper. Unfortunately, these lacked saturation, seeming dull compared to the best inkjet rivals.

Things aren’t all that much better when it comes to the cost of consumables, either. Brother makes an XL range of cartridges for the MFC-J10101DW, each with a useful 500-page capacity. Despite this, however, mono costs work out at an unimpressive 2.9p per page, while each colour page costs 7.9p.

With a useful features and decent performance, this isn’t a bad MFP for a home office, especially if you need a fax. It’s a shame that it doesn’t offer enough quality to really knock our socks off, but considering how supremely affordable the Brother MFC-J1010DW is, these issues are enough to overlook.

Brother MFC-J1010DW specifications

Format

6,000 x 1,200dpi A4 inkjet printer, 1,200 x 2,400dpi A4 scanner

Print speed

15.3ppm colour/3.7ppm mono

Display

4.5cm colour screen

Networking

802.11n (Wi-Fi 4)

Connectivity

USB

Print type

Duplex

Tray size

150-sheet cassette

Dimensions

400 x 343 x 172mm

Weight

8.3kg

Warranty

1yr RTB

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