Print speed and quality tests
I have no idea how Brother was able to get the MFC-J825dw to print at rate of 35 ppm in black but that is the main advertised print speed for this device as well as 27 ppm in color. If you look a little harder, you’ll also find advertised ISO print speeds which are much more accurate.
When printing our 40-page black and white text document in the standard print mode, the MFC-J825dw printed at an average rate of 12 ppm with a first page out in 12 seconds. When printing mixed documents (black and white text with some color), the MFC-J825dw printed at an average rate of 9 ppm and when printing full color documents (no text), the average rate was closer to 6 ppm.
Print speeds were quicker in draft mode with an average of about 16 ppm with a first page out in 8 seconds. Still that’s dramatically slower than advertised. What’s weird is that I felt like both the normal print speeds and draft print speeds were very competive with similar models in the MFC-J825dw’s class and saw no need to inflate the numbers.
The MFC-J825dw includes automatic duplexing but it’s very slow. It took over nine minutes to print my 40-page black and white text document double sided at an average rate of 2 ppm (4 front and back).
Photo print speeds in standard print mode were very quick for an inkjet, in fact some of the fastest speeds I’ve seen from a review unit. The MFC-J825dw printed 4×6 color photos at an average of 18 seconds a print and 8.5 x 11 inch color photos in under a minute.
I thought the MFC-J825dw did an excellent job with black and white text documents and mixed color documents, and was much improved in the photo quality department compared to the MFC-J6710dw.
The quality issue of lines running through full color documents and photo prints on the MFC-J6710dw have been corrected on the MFC-J825dw and the color photos were glossy and vibrant with excellent detail. The MFC-J825dw didn’t handle black and white photos as well; the subjects weren’t as clear and some detail was lost.
Brother also seemed to correct the paper jam issue I noticed on the MFC-J6710dw with some help from the separate photo tray I’m sure. But I was able to pop in 8.5 x 11 inch photo paper into the cassette and had no problems with spooling.
Overall, I thought Brother improved dramatically when it came to print quality on the MFC-J825dw and the only major issue I had were with the inflated advertised print speeds.
Ink control tests
In our tests, we exhaust (printing until the color runs out) a new set of cartridges. In this case, exhaustion means the printer will not print another quality document without a replacement. We print at a ratio of three pages of black and white text to one full page of color. We decided on the 3:1 ratio because we felt that the average user is printing more text than color.
The Brother MFC-J825dw included four standard starter cartridges: LC71BK, LC71M, LC71Y and LC71C. Brother also offers high yield capacity ink cartridges for the MFC-J825dw: the LC75 (CMYK). However, we did not test those cartridges since they were not included in the original packaging.
At the ratio of 3:1 in Brother’s printing mode, the MFC-J825dw printed about 203 pages before the printer elicited a status message alerting me that several ink cartridges wer running low.
At 316 pages, identical status messages popped up alerting me that the magenta ink was completely out and that I could change the cartridge, revert to printing in black and white, or cancel the print job.
I like that Brother alerted me (customers) to low ink early as well as gave an option to print in black and white once a color cartridge expired.
I had zero paper jams during testing, another area Brother made great strides in regarding the MFC-J825dw.
The Brother MFC-J825dw is Energy Star qualified and I found during my tests that it uses an average to a below average amount of energy compared to other AIO inkjets in its class.
Warm-up is quick and the highest spike I saw during that 30 second period was around 21W of energy before dropping into ready mode where the MFC-J825dw is pulling about 5W of energy.
When printing black and white documents in the standard print mode, the MFC-J825dw pulls 16-12W of energy. When printing in color, the printer’s speeds drop, but so does the energy use to a range of 14-9W of energy. When printing photos, the energy use drops further, into the range of `11-9 W
When the MFC-J825dw is sleeping (the LCD is dark), the energy use is quite low, around 2W.