Brother Previews Business Smart AIO Series

by Reads (4,802)

The three small-footprint color inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printers in Brother’s upcoming Business Smart Series will be as innovative as they’re touted to be, judging from a preview of the MFC-J4510dw, presented by Brother this week in New York City.

At the press preview we attended in Manhattan on Wednesday, Brother showed off the very craftily engineered AIO in scenarios reflecting the three markets Brother is honing in on: home offices, small businesses, and enterprise workgroups.

Brother also gave a glimpse at a prototype of a dual-tray model, to be released at some point after the shipment of the single-tray MFC-J4510dw in October. A third Business Smart model is also in the works, but Brother is keeping mum right now on the details of the third printer.

The forthcoming MFC-J4510dw is able to print out on paper sizes up to 11 x 17-inches, despite the fact that its footprint is just about the same as that in dimensions, said Joyce Santos, Brother’s director of product planning, during hands-on demos.

Brother sees the Business Smart Series as competing against HP Office Jet printers in the 6600, 7600 and 8600 series, along with some comparable models from Epson and Lexmark, Santos said.

Beyond offering a footprint up to 35 percent smaller than its rivals, the first Business Smart model provides the fastest print speeds in its class, outputting at speeds of 20 ppm in black and 18 ppm in color (IS0). Also topping the list of its many standout features is a 3.7-inch Swipe Touchscreen Display, complete with “smart” screen shortcuts for various printing, faxing, scanning, and copying tasks.

As we found out in a series of hands-on demos, Brother’s new Swipe touchscreen is much different from other printer touchscreens. Instead of requiring you to touch on a series of touchscreens to perform a function, the Business Smart screen lets you slide your finger smoothly from one task to the next, as though you were scrolling across the screen of a mobile gadget.

In designing the Business Smart AIO, Brother eyed a machine that can fit comfortably on a home desktop or an office bookshelf, while also appealing to the ever-growing numbers of smartphone and tablet users, Santos told us.

Crafty Engineering

To reduce the depth of the AIO, Brother invented a technology called Landscape Print, which calls for pages to be output in landscape mode, as opposed to the traditional portrait mode.

The new inkjet printer uses a Brother-engineered “Curl” technology to prevent the ink saturation issues that might otherwise crop up in outputting in landscape mode. Brother also redesigned its software drivers to accommodate landscape printing, Santos said.

For faster output, the company increased the size of the print head while doubling the number of nozzles over previous models in this class.

To achieve high output per cartridge, Brother’s engineers created a new cartridge design which has less plastic on the walls of the cartridge. The MFC-J4510w uses one black ink jet cartridge and three color ink jet cartridges.

Brother estimates that the cost of the ink jet cartridges will work out to 7.6 cents per page for color printouts and 2.3 cents per page for black-and-white printouts, according to Santos.

Also among the impressive specs? Built-in USB 2.0 and SD memory card slots; a 20-sheet automatic document feeder; an 11 x 17-inch document bypass tray; auto duplexing; built-in networking and Internet cloud connectivity through Ethernet and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi; and printout from mobile devices through support for a range of technologies such as Apple AirPrint, Brother iPrint&Scan, Google Cloud Print, Wi-Fi Direct and Cortado Workplace.

Hands-On with the MFC-J4510dw

In a bit of hands-on with the MFC-J4510dw, we checked out features like printing from a mobile device, the Swipe display, and screen shortcuts.

Although we weren’t doing any official clocking, a doc residing on an Apple iPad seemed to print out almost instantaneously using Airprint and the Brother iPrint&Scan mobile device app over a Wi-Fi connection.

Also as we discovered, Brother has designed the Swipe display so that functions appear on the screen only if they make sense in terms of what you’re trying to do.

For instance, a number pad for “numbers of copies” shows up when you’re in copy mode, but not otherwise.

We also tried out a screen shortcut called “Letter Ledger,” which lets you expand the size of an 8.5 x 11-inch document for output on to 11 x 17-inch paper by touching a single icon on the screen.

To print out on the ledger-size paper though, you need to manually insert the larger paper and use the 11 x 17-inch tray.

The resolution of the resulting 11 x 17-inch printout looked great.

Set to be sold at Best Buy and office superstores, the MFC-J4510dw will carry an initial MSRP of $199.99. Brother will offer a choice of “high yield” and “super high yield” cartridges for use with the AIO.

Pricing for the high yield cartridges will be $24.99 for a black cartridge; $14.99 for each of the three color cartridges (cyan, magenta and yellow); and $41.49 for a three-pack color set. The super high yield cartridges will be priced at $29.99 for a black cartridge; $22.99 for each of the three color cartridges; $54.99 for a black two-pack; and $63.49 for a color three-pack. Each color three-pack will include one cyan cartridge, one magenta cartridge, and one yellow cartridge.

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