This is a good idea from Brother: an A4-size colour multi-function printer that can take A3 sheets, twice the size, when you need bigger prints. It saves paying for a full A3 model and finding the extra desk space. Read our Brother DCP-J4120DW Review.
The trick is that the print carriage matches the long side of A4 rather than the short side. Ordinary-sized paper goes into the front tray sideways, which takes a bit of getting used to. When you want to use A3, you feed it in from the back by hand, one sheet at a time. This means holding the paper up to the slot until the printer grabs it, supporting it by hand as it’s pulled into the printer, waiting for it to finish, then pressing a button to say you’re ready to collect it from the front. The output tray is too small for big paper, so if the printer ejected it automatically it would fall on the floor.Printing a multi-page A3 document – for example, an A4 brochure to fold in half and staple – is far too much fuss to be practical more than once in a blue moon. If you just need to print an occasional poster, though, it does work, and even A3 can be printed right to the edge.
Photo enlargements would be another use of A3, but Brother isn’t the best photo printer, delivering slightly washed-out colour. It’s fine for text and business graphics, although text could be blacker. Scans came in a bit under-saturated, too, with muddy shadows. Both printing and scanning were fast, at 15.2 text pages per minute (ppm) in our tests, or 19ppm in draft quality, and 13 seconds for a 150 dpi A4 scan.Although we’ve seen it sold for less, the J4120 isn’t particularly cheap at current dealer prices. That does include a 2.7in colour touchscreen, Wi-Fi, a memory card slot (for photo printing only) and duplex (double-sided) output, and at 4.1p per colour page, using XL cartridges, its running costs are very reasonable. With A3 as a bonus, it’s not a bad deal.
We like the principle, but printing on A3 is very fiddly and having to load normal paper the wrong way round isn’t ideal. Worth considering only if you definitely need a compact printer with emergency A3.
6,000×1,200 dpi maximum print resolution • 27ppm colour and 35ppm mono quoted speeds • 2,400×1,200 dpi maximum scan resolution • USB • 802.11n Wi-Fi • 29x48x16.3cm (HxWxD) • 8kg