If you’re looking to keep the amount you spend on a new all-in-one printer, copier and scanner to a minimum, this inkjet deserves serious consideration. It doesn’t offer too many of the features you’d expect to find on more expensive inkjet printers, but trimming down on these extras keeps the price below £. Read our Brother DCP-J1200W Review.
Budget printer creates high-quality results, though running costs can add up
It can print, scan and copy, but – not being stuck in the 1980s – won’t fax. It has to be connected to a PC via USB or Wi-Fi network, because it has no Ethernet port. There’s also no touchscreen, it can’t print on both sides of a sheet automatically (though you can do this manually), and you have to scan one page at a time. However, it does offer high-quality colour printing and scanning, and comes with enough ink in the box for 720 black-and-white pages or 480 colour pages.
This is Brother’s smallest INKvestment model, and I must immediately point out that it isn’t compatible with the super-high-yield INKvestment cartridges that give up to 5,000 pages per cartridge.
It’s a fraction bigger than many A4 all-in-one devices because the cartridge compartment is larger and deeper than normal. It’s still quite compact, though, and its uncluttered off-white casing blend into the background more successfully than Brother’s other office inkjets.
The unusually large cartridges are housed behind a front flap where the printer bulges slightly on the right-hand side. Printed pages are ejected through the front slot, and below this is the main (and only) paper tray, which is capable of holding 150 sheets of A4 paper. Note the lack of a multifunction tray.
It isn’t as easy to use as a printer with a touchscreen interface, though the control panel on the top of the unit is simple to operate and the companion Brother Mobile Connect app is excellent, as long as you’re happy controlling your printer from your phone or tablet.
Print speed is relatively slow, however. We measured just under 16 pages per minute (ppm) when printing mono pages and 6ppm in colour. Still, it worked without a hitch during testing, with no smudges, misprints or paper jams, and print quality is excellent for the price. Plain-text documents emerged crisp and dark without any smearing, even at very small font sizes. It’s a match for a laser printer in terms of quality, even if it falls some way behind for speed.
Wi-Fi is built in, with Wireless Connect, AirPrint, Mopria and Brother Mobile Connect all catered for.
During setup (which takes around ten minutes), the printer trots out a test page so you can check the inkjet nozzle alignment. Our sample was aligned perfectly from the box. In daily operation, it isn’t as easy to use as an all-in-one with a touchscreen interface, but the control panel is nice and simple and the companion Brother Mobile Connect app excellent. For example, it makes the task of adding the printer to your Wi-Fi network painless. Simply press the Wi-Fi button on the printer and then search for its IP address using your mobile and let the app handle the rest.
The most notable missing feature is auto duplex mode. You can manually duplex, but it’s a pain. For a multipage document you have to print the odd pages first, then reload the pages, ensuring you have them the right way around, and in the correct order, so you can print the even pages on the reverse. I’m willing to bet you won’t get it right the first time. An auto duplex version of this model exists worldwide (the Brother DCP-J1200DW), but isn’t yet on sale in the UK.
The specification sheet for the DCP-J1200W has highs and lows. It can print on a range of blank media including envelopes, glossy photo paper and A4 paper up to 220g/m2 in weight. However, there’s room for only 150 sheets of paper in the main tray and 50 in the out tray before pages start spilling over. Its print speed is slow, as is usually the case with cheaper inkjets. Brother claims 16 pages per minute in mono mode and 6ppm in colour, and while it matched the mono speed in our tests, colour pages were a fraction slower.
Still, it performed without a hitch during testing, with no smudges, misprints or paper jams, and print quality is excellent for the price. Plain text documents emerged crisp and dark without any smearing, even at very small point sizes. It’s a match for a laser printer for quality, even if it falls some way behind for speed.
“It performed without a hitch during testing, with no smudges, misprints or paper jams, and print quality is excellent for the price”
Brother’s dye-based CMY inks aren’t the brightest, but they yield colourful documents with well balanced and consistent shading. They also work rather well on glossy photo paper to produce pleasant photographs. It can’t compete with the vivid images of a more expensive photo printer, but it’s impressive for a business-oriented model. Both the scan and print resolutions, meanwhile, offer enough dots per inch to ensure accurate photocopies.
In summary, then, this is a multifunction printer that gives pleasing results, so long as you’re not in a hurry.
The lack of a multipurpose tray, Ethernet port, USB host port and touchscreen are inconvenient, but it’s the inability to auto duplex that will be a deal-breaker for some. It also prints slowly, but if you’re in no rush and you don’t mind turning over each page by hand to print the other side, you’ll be rewarded with decent print quality at a decent price.
Brother’s inks aren’t the brightest, but they create colourful documents with balanced and consistent shading. They also work well on glossy paper to produce impressive photos. It can’t compete with the vivid images produced by more expensive models, but if you only need to print occasional photos it’ll do the job nicely.
The DCP-J1200W is compatible with Brother’s high-capacity cartridges. These can print around 750 colour pages each, and cost around £ per colour cartridge. This works out at around 2.2p per mono page and 6.8p per colour page, which is very reasonable for a cartridgebased inkjet. This isn’t as economical as the running costs of ink-tank printers, such as the Canon Pixma G650 , which achieves printing costs of 0.4p for mono and 1p for colour, but it’s good value for a cartridge-based model if you’d prefer to spend less up-front.
6,000 x 1,200dpi inkjet MFP four cartridges (CMYK) • 1,200 x 2,400dpi scanner • 150-sheet input tray • 802.11n Wi-Fi • USB-B data port • 435 x 359 x 161mm (WDH) • 6.5kg • recommended 50 to 1,000 pages monthly volume • 1yr limited warranty
An affordable multifunction printer, scanner and copier, which lacks some advanced features, but produces decent quality prints for the price
HP Envy 6020e
This printer also lacks a touchscreen but is more affordable, as long as you subscribe to the HP+ ink service