Brother has addressed just about the most frequent complaints about home and small office printers with the MFC-J985DW by concentrating on the priciest thing about printing-ink. Within Brother’s INKvestment series, the MFC-J985DW sips ink such as a hybrid car, with efficient ink use that puts most opponents to shame. It doubles down on that efficiency by offering low-cost, high-capacity refills offering the very best cost-per-page value of any home inkjet we’ve ever tested.

We put the MFC-J985DW through its paces and discovered that it had been solid overall in terms of functionality, although it’s better aimed toward text than images.

Design: Compact and functional
The MFC-J985DW is compact and functional, with a black, boxy frame which should blend in nicely in virtually any office setting. The only onboard interface is a 2.7-inch color touchscreen on a narrow front panel that conveniently tilts up to 45-degrees for quick access from above, or lays flat for storage. The paper tray, which stands up to 100 sheets, slides out completely from leading and opens up.

Of all printers we’ve tested, it can be the most counterintuitive paper tray designs, nonetheless it does allow for another supply of smaller photography paper to be stacked involved with it as well. Lastly, there exists a third paper prey on the trunk which only holds one sheet at the same time but can accommodate heavier stock than either of the inner trays.

Normally ink may be the biggest financial pain point in using printers, which means this sort of efficiency makes the MFC-J985DW the very best value available in the market.

Another unconventional touch that people definitely appreciated about the MFC-J985DW is that its ink cartridges are placed behind a tiny panel on leading of the printer. This spares you from having to open up the complete apparatus and insert them directly onto the printing heads like the majority of home inkjet printers. The change feels almost unnecessary as a result of how wildly efficient the MFC-J985DW has been ink, you merely won’t need to replace it very frequently.

On the other hand, another panel hides the memory card slot and USB port, making them both discreet yet accessible. The computerized document feeder at the top also neatly folds in out of view for when you don’t require it.

Setup Process: Fast and straightforward
Establishing the MFC-J985DW was an easy and straightforward process that largely entailed removing it from the box, removing several bits of tape, and plugging it in. The printer powers up automatically and directs you on the touchscreen with step-by-step instructions for filling the paper tray and inserting the original supply of ink.

After inserting the ink, the printer automatically undergoes a short cleaning process to make certain the printing heads are to be able. This took approximately 5 minutes, and it printed a test alignment page. All told, it took twenty-five minutes from opening the box to downloading the correct drivers, and printing our very own test page from a networked PC.

Printing Quality: Sharp text, but beaten up photos
The MFC-J985DW shined most in printing text documents. Though it will not produce the richest, darkest blacks that we’ve seen, the effect was exceptionally sharp, making crisper information on small and italicized typefaces than we’ve seen in comparable printers and all-in-ones. There have been also no notable artifacts, ink spots, or distortions in virtually any of our test documents. It’s rated to print up to 12 pages each and every minute for monochrome, though used we found it hit nearer to 8 or 9 pages. It supports computerized duplex printing at minimal cost to speed.

It felt like we’d hardly dented the high-capacity ink supply after our rigorous testing process.

Graphics were less impressive, in both speed and quality. Gradients and regions of smooth shading in photographs had a definite graininess relative to a few of the more image-focused inkjet printers we’ve tested. Colors were also noticeably washed-out on our test photographs, developing a touch too warm rather than as vibrant as we’d have liked. It’s rated for printing up to 10 pages each and every minute on color, but we found anywhere near this much slower used, hitting nearer to 2 pages each and every minute with this test graphics.

Scanner Quality: Nothing to send a letter home about
Scanning with the MFC-J985DW was adequate, if unexceptional. Scanned photographs lost hook amount of detail and vibrancy, but a comparable as all-in-ones. It offers both a 12- by 9-inch flatbed scanner and an computerized document feeder that holds 20 pages. It generally does not support programmed duplex scanning with the ADF, though it does accommodate scanning two-sided documents through on-screen prompts with the flatbed. You may easily scan to email, PC, a linked thumb drive or memory card, or right to printing. Although the resulting quality of the scans was average, it did achieve those results quicker than comparable consumer-grade all-in-one scanners.

Fax Quality: Solid performance
The fax quality of the MFC-J985DW lines up using its scanning and printing capabilities, obtaining high efficiency for simple documents at hook cost to fine-grained quality in more descriptive images. It includes a total memory as high as 500 pages as a buffer in the event of any printing issues, and works equally over a phone line (with a typical 33.6kbps modem) or by using a PC.

Software/Connectivity Options: Useful features, but somewhat crude
The MFC-J985DW supports the typical suite of connection options: Ethernet or directly connecting via USB, in addition to the Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and Mopria mobile printing apps. Brother’s own iPrint & Scan iphone app permits nice touches like scanning right to your mobile phone’s storage or remote ink level monitoring.

The app’s UI (tested on an iPhone) is barebones but clean and legible. We did think it is had some trouble finding each of the images inside our phone’s placed images, however. The analogous suite of PC tools are functional, but somewhat, they feel somewhat crude and outdated in comparison with HP’s software suite.