Oh Brother, an Easy-To-Install Wireless Printer
What Is It? The Brother MFC-J451DW is an all-in-one multifunction printer, fax, scanner and copier. It is part of the redesigned Brother Business Smart series but is ideal for a home or home office. It has a small footprint and a big set of features. Of course it offers both wireless and USB connectivity. It has a photo center on the front panel which accommodates USB flash drives, and SD cards and the larger Compact Flash cards (CF). It has a document feeder, and a single sheet feeder that can handle paper sizes to 11″x 17”. The Brother comes with a software suite that handles many functions right from your computer, including relatively easy scanning.
The MFC-J451DW is very fast, largely because the software was designed to print the page in landscape orientation, meaning it moves through the printer in about 2/3 the time of a portrait. No, that doesn’t mean your
documents all come out in landscape format. The machine can handle 150 sheets of plain paper, triple what many other machines can hold and more than adequate for large reports, or tax returns. Print quality is good, even for photos on non-Brother photo paper.
Is It Boomer Friendly? – The controls on the MFC-J4510DW are all on a very readable front touch screen panel. Major functions have icons. And you can set up as many as 18 shortcut icons for things you may do regularly. Access to the ink cartridges is very easy. You just open a door on the right side and they are all there. No need to get into the machine or wait for a carriage to center. The cartridges themselves are very easy to pop in and out. The Quick Setup Guide is printed in reasonably large font. You may well need reading glasses or a magnifier for the more comprehensive Basic User’s Guide, but I found it very comprehensive and easy to follow.
Frustration Factor – Generally I find setting up a new printer, especially a wireless printer, one of the most time consuming and frustrating tech chores I regularly face. It took 1 hour and 27 minutes from the time I opened the box until I printed my first page. That included a complete software installation and setup of the wireless network. I did not set up the fax part of the device since I don’t have a traditional phone jack. While the process was time consuming, especially the software loading, it all went without a hitch or a hiccup. Connecting to my wireless network was a two button affair, one on my router, one on the printer. No need to type in SSID codes, or WPA passwords. A real breeze. Communications with my word processing software took a few seconds, but once it started the printing was fast.
Is It Worth The Money? - The suggested retail price on the Brother MFC-J451DW is just under $200. You can find dozens of all-in-one printers on the market with a variety of features from about $70 to almost $500. That puts this Brother unit slightly below the mid-point in price range. But the feature set is impressive, the speed is impressive, and the setup was downright flawless, if a bit time consuming. And in the long run, it’s the cost of the ink that’s really gonna get you on any machine. We found original Brother ink cartridges for about $15.00 for 600 pages of color (you need three), about $20 for black. HP cartridges were running about $30-$35 for black, and as low as $9 for individual colors. And one final note that may put this machine a little higher on your list: it comes with lifetime telephone tech support.