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Brother MFC-J870DW boasts NFC and many more features, but performance is just average

Melissa Riofrio | Aug. 21, 2013
The Brother MFC-J870DW is affordably priced, and it comes with a long list of features. Its performance is just average, however, so it’s a buy for quantity rather than quality.

When we switched to photo paper and the Best-quality setting, however, it took more than five times as long—111 seconds—to print the same image. Copy speed for a plain-text document was slow (3.2 ppm). On the Mac platform, text printed faster—9.6 ppm—while a four-page PDF file printed at a sedate 1.6 ppm, and a full-page, high-resolution photo printed at typical 0.5 ppm. Scan speeds were faster than average.

Output quality was also acceptable. Plain text was more dark-charcoal than true black, and it was just slightly fuzzy around the edges—in other words, stereotypical inkjet quality. Color images printed on plain paper looked yellow and dotty. Switching to photo paper eliminated all flaws except for a persistent yellowish cast. Scans of line art and black text were very nice, but harsh shadows marred color scans.

Reasonably priced ink is always good
Brother's prices for replacement ink cartridges for the MFC-J870DW are a little better than average—and that's not guaranteed in this price range. The 300-page, standard-size cartridges include a $15 black (5 cents per page) and $10 cyan, magenta, and yellow (3.3 cents per color per page). The 600-page, high-yield cartridges are a $25 black (4.2 cents per page) and $15 cyan, magenta, and yellow (2.5 cents per color per page). A page with all four colors would cost a slightly cheaper than average 15 cents with the standard-size cartridges, and an economical 11.7 cents with the high-yield cartridges.

The Brother MFC-J870DW deserves credit for being progressive, adding NFC ahead of its competition—and arguably, ahead of customer readiness. The printer's actual performance remains unremarkable, however, so you have to decide whether you want more features or better quality. The HP Officejet 6700 Premium offers better performance, if not quite every bell and whistle.


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