The Brother MFC J615W is an affordable Multifunction Center which has the capability to Print, Scan, Copy and Fax. It combines a high-resolution print head with a scanner and fax machine in a compact package suitable for the small desks typically found in SOHOs and newer offices.

At 6000×1200 dpi, the MFC J615W does not offer the highest print resolution on the market, but during testing, it was found that this resolution was more than suitable for typical office documents and business graphics. Many users found that text was crisp, with charts and graphs failing to show perceptible aliasing. Documents were well aligned to the borders of the page, even when printing from the paper tray. The quality of printed photos was suitable for home use, though we would definitely recommend a higher-end dedicated photo printer for commercial or professional use. Unlike HP printers, the MFC J615W does not have a replaceable print-head, making it prudent to use original ink which does not clog the nozzles even after prolonged usage.

The scanner on the MFC J615W is obviously designed for standard A4-Letter documents and is not large enough to accept anything bigger. The thing that stood out about the scanner though, is its Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), capable of holding up to 15 pages. When in copy mode, the MFC J615W is able to churn out pages at roughly 23ppm* for monochrome, and 20ppm for colour.

It was nice to see the inclusion of fax functionality on a printer in this price range, although Brother did not go one step further and include telephone functionality. Nevertheless, it simplifies office logistics by having both print and fax on the same machine, reducing the need to purchase various makes and models of ink refills. The MFC J615W supports Fax Broadcasting, which entails the printer quickly scanning a document into memory, then faxing it sequentially to various predefined numbers.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the MFC J615W is the onboard wireless print server, which enables the MFC to function as a network printer when connected to a LAN or WLAN network. It is no longer necessary to print documents from a single computer, as users may print, scan or copy from whichever computer, notebook or cellphone they are using, so long as the said device is connected to the network.

While network printing has long been a staple of large organizations and offices, the inclusion of an integrated print server and the near-ubiquity of home networking in 2010 truly brings the convenience of network printing to the mass market. While the MFC J615W is not the first to offer such a feature, it is most certainly not the last, and we should expect to see other manufacturers releasing a wider variety of networked MFCs in the near future.

*ppm stands for Pages per Minute (of a standard test-page)

What’s to Like

  • Large, 3.3″ TFT LCD Display with a clear and uncluttered user interface.
  • Direct compatibility with various media cards (via a media card reader), USB Flash Drives, and PictBridge (allowing direct printing from PictBridge-enabled digital cameras).
  • Has Fax functionality, with a fast in-built 33.6kbps modem.
  • 4 separate cartridges for CMYK which can be replaced individually when required.
  • Fast and reliable automatic document feeder for scanning and copying multiple A4 pages.
  • Paper Tray and by-pass capable of holding 20 sheets of 4″x6″ photo paper.
  • Print quality was excellent, with documents and photos rendered sharply; colour rendition was surprisingly accurate for a printer in its price range.
  • Documents remained well-aligned to the edges of paper despite loading from the paper tray.
  • iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) and Android devices can print photos directly to this printer simply by downloading an application.

What’s Not to Like

  • Vague setup instructions, which can be daunting to new users.
  • Ports and cables are well hidden but poorly indicated, making them difficult to find and access.
  • Setting up and configuring wireless printing functionality, somewhat counter-intuitively,  requires the printer to be connected to a computer via USB cable.
  • Some internal plastic components (namely, the prop holding the cover open during ink changes) look flimsy and probably should be handled with care.

Verdict

The Brother MFC-J615W is a budget Multifunction Center with Print, Scan, Copy and Fax capabilities integrated into one compact and good-looking machine, which would sit neatly on any desk. It is a powerful workhorse-type which prints crisply and scans well, and it’s small physical footprint allows it to fit comfortably into tight spaces.

Although perhaps a little daunting to set up, the printer is otherwise reliable and easy to operate, extending wireless printing capabilities to the mass market.

In conclusion, the Brother MFC-J615W is highly recommended buy, especially for families and SOHO enterprises who require an affordable yet feature-rich MFC colour inkjet.