The Brother MFC-J4540DW is Brother’s flagship model of their new home office line. We are seeing, in the past year or so printer manufacturers dedicate entire lines of products at the professional who is now working from home more than ever. The Brother MFC-J4540DW fit comfortably within this category.
|Two paper trays||Big footprint|
|High ink capacity||No cloud print solutions included|
Design and size
The Brother MFC-J4540DW is not the smallest printer but it is also not the biggest home-office all-in-one (AIO) we have used in the last month. Much of its bulk is made up of an extra tray (a different type/size of paper if required) and the new ink tanks, located behind the cartridge tray. The two paper trays offer room for 400 sets of paper.
The top of the printer has an automatic document feeder which will hold 20 pages of paper while the rare has the multi-media tray for insertion of media such as envelopes or headed paper. Being on the rear though you should be careful not to put it too close to the wall if you plan on using these feeders too much.
Lift the lid and you will find the extremely strange location of the ethernet and USB port. Although they are located in this strange area there is a nice channel to allow the cable(s) from each to be fed tidily out the back of the printer.
The left side of the printer houses the fax/telephone line as weel as the power socket/cable. It is great that Brother has located the power cable here as it allows for much better positioning of the printer in your home — ie. it can be pushed against a wall etc as required.
The front of the printer not only has the two paper trays but also the control panel complete with LCD display which is very responsive, a few hard buttons for navigating the LCD display and NFC so people can directly print to it without having to add the printer to their devices manually. The front also has the output tray which does stick out a bit so that’s another thing to be wary of when positioning it in your office.
The Brother MFC-J4540DW included most connectivity options you’d expect in a printer these days — Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi direct, USB, ethernet, fax and NFC. NFC was hit and miss (more miss than hit) with its use but the Wi-fi worked perfectly as did the ethernet and USB connections.
For NFC printing you need to have a phone that supports it but it is a slow process transferring the data from your phone to the printer. It is far easier to just scan the NCF tag which will lead you to the app store location of the Brother app. Install the app and add a printer using Wi-fi (you must be on the same Wi-Fi network for this) and you are good to go. All of that takes about one minute.
The box, for the standard version, includes three coloured ink cartridges and a black one which fill the ink tanks enough to print 3,000 mono and 1,500 colour pages which is a lot (one year apparently). There is also an XL version which provides larger cartridges in the box to provide for over twice this amount but to be honest I cannot see why you would need this considering just how many pages this can print with the standard sized cartridges included.
The printer is capable of dual-sided duplex printing with, according to Brother, a 20 single-sided pages per minute (mono) speed. Dual sided the specifications say 11 pages per minute. On my test the single sided mono achieved around 18-19 pages per minute and the duplex printing just under the stated amount as well. They were very close and I’m not sure why you would ever need a home-office printer to be faster than this anyway.
Of course, being an all in one it can easily fax, scan and copy as well. Scanning using either the PC or app was simple. The Brother mobile app is easy to use for scanning (and printing) with the possibility of saving the scanned page as a JPEG or PDF file and then immediately share from within the app to wherever you want (email, online storage etc).
Setup and operation
Setting up the printer was a piece of cake using the Brother app with the app doing most of the heavy lifting and guiding you in each step as required. You can also set up using the LCD display which is also fairly easy — although typing in a Wi-Fi password on the small display is a lot more difficult than on your phone.
Although I’ve seen some online suggest that printing online from anywhere in the world is possible — it was not for us and according to Brother it is not possible with this standalone AIO. to print from a remote location you will need to use a third-party software whom Brother partner with such as PaperCut.
The ink setup on the Brother MFC-J4540DW is super easy. Simply open the ink door on the right side of the front of the printer, insert the cartridges one at a time and they are good to go. The printer pulls the ink out of the cartridges and stores it in the ink tanks behind the cartridges such that even when the cartridges are empty there is still enough ink stored in the tanks to last more than 100 pages. While this is relatively “green” it isn’t as environmentally sound as the full tank-filling bottles that are supplied with the Epson Ink Tank printers.
The advantage of the Brother is the supposed lack of any mess as you are not tipping any ink into the printer and thus have less chance of ink spillage. In saying that the Epson solution results in zero ink spillage but I can see how this at least makes you feel more comfortable filling the tanks.
As mentioned above the printing was relatively quick for both colour and mono printing and also for duplex printing. The first page shoots out totally done in under 6 seconds which is one of the faster first prints for Wi-Fi printing around — a lot faster than the Epson. The rest of the pages shoot out incredibly fast and surprisingly fairly easily get up to around 20 pages per minute. My tests had it clocked at just under 20 pages per minutes but not far at all.
As for the noise, it isn’t as loud as some and if it was sitting next to you on the desk and someone printed to it you’d barely notice it — not just because of the noise but also because it spits out each page so quickly.
Scanning was extremely fast too — and easy. I used my phone to do most of the scanning testing and it was super easy — hit the scan button in the app and it will scan the document. Then you save it as either a JPEG or a PDF file and save and share to wherever you want.
Do I recommend it?
The Brother MFC-J4540DW is a great printer which is more business-suited than the Epson EcoTank ET-4850 we tested out last year. It has more options for varying print solutions along with a second paper tray. Its use is incredibly easy and fast making it a great solution for pretty much anyone.
There is no included cloud printing solution — ie. the ability to print from anywhere in the world — included out of the box as it is with the Epson. It is also not as environmentally green as the Epson but is still an improvement over the printers of yesteryear. The second paper tray and big in-build tanks and cartridge storage requirements result in a bigger footprint than the Epson but the Brother has its power cord on the wide of the machine leading to much more flexibility with positioning it in your home office.
If the printer is specifically for the home office and you have a decent sized home-office then this is one AIO printer you should be looking at. The Brother MFC-J4540DW also has the advantage of being decidedly cheaper than the Epson at just $329 from Officeworks. For more information head on over to the Brother website.