Business printers need to be versatile. This is a foregone fact that cannot be debated. What this fact means is that all Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are willing to go the distance to make their devices as versatile as possible. With the J5720DW, Brother has succeeded quite well. The Brother MFC-J5720DW is one of the OEM’s much appreciated Business Smart models. As the name of the series suggests, this is a printer that facilitates business by being as flexible and versatile as possible.
First and foremost, it is a multifunction printer; something that automatically makes it ideal for the business set-up. This means that it can print, copy, scan, and fax. Even with those functions, this device is quite flexible. For instance, you can not only print from your PC with this device but also fax directly from it. Similarly, the device will allow you to print directly from a memory card or USB flash drive. You can even scan straight into those detachable storage devices.
Flexibility aside, the Brother MFC-J5720DW offers a number of other features and functionalities. Whether these functionalities and features will fit your specific requirements, you can find out by reading this review.
Strengths of Brother MFC-J5720DW
The greatest strength of the Brother MFC-J5720DW is its paper handling capabilities. In fact, most of this device’s versatility is the result of its paper handling versatility. This is a colour inkjet multifunction printer that can print up to tabloid size. This means that if you need to print in A3 size, then this device will be a good option.
You might say that there are many A3 colour inkjet printers out there. There aren’t but even if you compare the Brother MFC-J5720DW to the few that are there, you’ll find that not many of them offer the volume capabilities that this one does. The J5720DW has two 250-sheet paper trays. Combine this with the 80-sheet multipurpose tray and you have a device capable handling up to 580 sheets without replacements. This doesn’t even include the single sheet manual feeder located to the rear of the device.
If scanning is a big deal for you, paper handling excellence is relevant there too since the device comes with a 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder. Incidentally, the scanner is another strong point of the Brother MFC-J5720DW.
The scanner in this device is capable of automatic duplexing. In most printers that offer duplexing, you’ll find a dual pass system. In this device, though, the automatic duplexing feature, whether for printing or scanning, is single pass. If you’re familiar with printing, then you’ll realise that this is a massive time saver.
Another positive that you’ll get with the Brother MFC-J5720DW is connectivity. The device offers all modern connectivity options ranging from Ethernet and USB 2.0 to Wi-Fi and even Wi-Fi Direct. The last two add mobile connectivity directly with mobile devices as well as third party services such as One Note, One Drive, Evernote, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Needless to say, complete Android and iOS functionality has also been provided.
What will clinch your decision to buy this device, however, will be the costing. If you’re looking for a multifunction device in this printer segment, then we expect that your printing needs are relatively heavy. This means that running costs are important. Fortunately, this device is good on that front too. Amongst inkjet printers in the same segment, the cost of using this device is comparatively quite low. With genuine cartridges i.e. cartridges manufactured by the OEM, you’ll be able to get every page for about 10.4 cents. You can take that cost even lower by using generic cartridges manufactured by third party manufacturers. With such compatible cartridges, you’ll end up paying about 8.2 cents per page.
Finally, we feel that even the appearance of the Brother MFC-J5720DW should be included in this section. The build and design of this device is simplistic which is why it is beautiful. There is no elaborate colour scheme. The printer sports simple black with an accent of grey and curved edges.
Weaknesses of Brother MFC-J5720DW
The Brother MFC-J5720DW is a wonderful option for those who need high volume A3 inkjet prints. The main reason for this is that there are far too many positives with this device than negatives. With all that, we just mean to say that the weaknesses of this device are not as significant as its strengths. Let us explain.
The biggest weakness of the Brother MFC-J5720DW has to do with its cartridges. The device has colour and black cartridges. Now, the problem is that if even one colour or black cartridge runs out, then the printer refuses to operate. Consider. You want to print a text document with this device but your cyan cartridge has run out. You don’t really need cyan for a monochrome print but you still won’t be able to print without replacing the empty black cartridge.
This almost feels like a needless blockage to make the user replace spent cartridges but there is a reason why this limitation exists. The print technology used in high-quality output printers requires the use of some colours even in black prints. This allows monochrome prints of those printers to be more nuanced and vibrant.
For example, shades and gradients become clearer and more effective in monochrome prints if other colour inks are also used. Therefore, you can see this limitation as the price you pay for exceptional monochrome prints. This is the only characteristic of the Brother MFC-J5720DW that can be considered to be a weakness. Everything else is simply nit-picking. For your benefit, though, we will nit-pick.
Both, the speed and output quality of this printer are decidedly mediocre. With printers that are expected to churn out a lot of prints, you expect good print speed because without it, you’ll be waiting far too long. Unfortunately, with this printer, you can expect a bit of wait at speeds of 20 pages per minute (ppm) for monochrome prints and 18 ppm for colour prints.
The output quality of this device is in the same boat. The Brother MFC-J5720DW is rated for a maximum resolution of 6000 x 1200 dots per inch (dpi). While this rating is in the upper range for devices in this market segment, the actual output quality is again mediocre. Text prints and photos are vibrant with this printer as expected but graphics leave a lot to be desired since they look washed out.
Key Features of Brother MFC-J5720DW
There are a few other features such as dimension, weight, and add-ons that you may want to look at if you’re considering buying this device. The Brother MFC-J5720DW is a fairly compact device. It measures about 308mm in height, 345mm in depth, and 490mm in width. While you can probably place this device on a desk, you’ll have to ensure enough clearance at the top to account for its height. You’ll also have to ensure the sturdiness of the table because the Brother MFC-J5720DW weighs more than 14 kg.
The device also comes with an inbuilt memory of 256MB for supplementing the print engine and a colour LCD touchscreen for greater usability. The TFT screen measures about 9.3 cm and is quite useful. You’ll be able to print from and scan to a number of third party services directly from the touchscreen. You’ll be able to access memory cards and USB drives directly from the touchscreen as well. There’s also directly compatibility with PictBridge cameras. There are at least two software suites that you’ll be getting with this device. The first is the OEM’s Control Centre 4 and the other is a document management software programme called Nuance PaperPort 12.