Brother MFC-J6710DW All-in-One Printer Review
By Sandy Berger on March 1, 2011
If you need a heavy-duty printer, Brother has one they would like you to consider. The MFC-J6710DW is made to appeal to anyone who does a lot of printing and needs to work with large documents. It is a large, do-it-all printer which can print, scan, copy, and fax paper up to A3 (i.e., 11 x 17 inches or 297 x 420 mm). We decided to take a look to see just how well it performed these tasks.
The Brother MFC-J710DW has a long name and makes a big impression. As shown in Figure 1, it comes in a really large box: be sure to get in shape before you lift it, the printer in the shipping box weighs in at almost 54 lbs (24.5 kg).
This printer is well-packed, as shown in Figure 2. As expected from the size of the box, the printer itself is quite large, measuring 21.3 x 19.3 x 13 inches (541 x 490 x 330 mm) and weighing 40.1 lbs (18.2 kg).
The contents of the box, shown in Figure 3, include a Start Here Guide, a User’s Guide, a software CD, a documentation CD, a telephone cable, and four ink cartridges in black, cyan, yellow, and magenta. These are listed as “starter” cartridges, but no indication is given as to how many pages they will print.
The printer itself is shown in Figure 4. The control panel area which runs across the front of the machine has faint lines of glossy black alternated with matte lines of black. The cover on the top of the printer which opens to reveal the automatic document feeder is shiny black plastic and the LCD screen and its surround are also of shiny black material. The rest of the printer is of heavy-duty matte black material.
Setting up this printer is fairly easy, but a little time-consuming. The instructions in the Start Here Guide are fairly good, but not perfect. There were several times that they were a little ambiguous and confusing. We suggest that you read the instructions carefully since there are a few things that are a bit unusual. For instance, when you install the ink cartridges, you must remove an orange protective casing that is in the printer. While most orange packing parts are normally discarded, the instructions tell you to save this part in case you have to transport the printer in the future. As shown in Figure 5, there is even a special area inside the printer to store this part.
Figure 5 also shows the ports for the USB and Ethernet connections. Unless you read the instructions, you may be scratching your head when looking for these ports. On this Brother, the ports are inside the printer rather than on the outside, which is the usual placement in most printers. As you can see, the cable needs to be plugged in and then inserted into the trough which leads it to the exterior of the printer. We have seen this in other Brother printers and have two complaints about this set up. First, it is unnecessarily intricate, and second, it often requires a longer USB cable than would otherwise be needed. With this printer you need a USB cable even if you will be doing a wireless installation, and none is included.
Installing the print cartridges is easy. A door in the front of the printer opens to allow you to position them easily, as shown in Figure 6.
Both the wired and wireless setups worked seamlessly when following the instructions. The wireless network was found and installed quickly and easily. This printer supports the wireless N standard so it gives you a speedy connection if you have N equipment. Of course, it is also backwardly compatible with slower wireless standards like G and B.
The connections for the telephone line are on the left side of the machine, as shown in Figure 7. In this figure you can also see the power cable.
Our only hang up came when installing the drivers and software on a Windows 7 machine. The first installation ended with an error, so we rebooted the machine and tried again. The software and driver installed properly the second time, but we were left with two installations of the printer, one working and one not. We simply deleted the non-working printer and everything was okay. However, something like this may be confusing to a neophyte.
The Settings area of the printer menu has many options. You can set the volume of the printer tones, the timing of the LCD sleep mode, whether to automatically change for daylight savings time or not, and the brightness of the LCD. You can even select from four different wallpapers for the LCD background.
Setting up the fax, like with most all-in-ones of this type can be a bit difficult. The J6710 supports Caller ID, Distinctive Ring, Voice Mail, and Call Waiting. Setting all of this up requires reading the manual and spending some time to get it right. This is especially true if you have an answering service, alarm system or other custom features on your telephone like. Here again, we found the instructions to be a bit confusing.
One of the reasons that this printer is so large is that it supports paper up to 11 x 17 inches (A3) in printing, scanning, copying, and faxing. As you can see in Figure 8, the scanning area is huge, measuring slightly larger than 12 x 17 inches. The back of the cover is hinged, allowing you to easily scan or copy from books and other thick material.
The J6710 has two paper trays which are shown in Figure 9. Each holds 250 sheets up to A3 in size.
There is also a manual feed slot that is inconveniently located on the back of the machine, as shown in Figure 10. This can be used for envelopes and thicker media since it offers a straight-through paper path.
Most of the functionality of this printer is controlled by front panel, shown in Figure 11. On the far left is the on/off button. Next to that is a numeric keypad that controls the telephone keys. With the addition of the nearby “shift” key it has 16 numbers, which gives you access to 16 stored numbers. Below that are keys that control a variety of things. From left to right, they are Duplex Copy, N in 1 Copy (to make poster copies), Fax Preview, Hook (for faxing), Redial/Pause, Paper Setting, and Tray Setting. Although some of these keys like the paper and tray settings are extremely useful, the entire array of keys that are used for different function, but are mixed together, can be ultimately confusing.
Next to these keys are the Mode Keys which include Fax, Scan, Copy, and Photo Capture. In the middle of this panel is a 3.3” widescreen color LCD that can be used navigate menus and preview faxes. The screen tilts to accommodate different viewing angles.
To the left of the screen are the Navigation keys which include Volume, Phone Book, Menu, and Clear. Next to that is a Dial Pad used to dial telephone numbers and as a keyboard for entering information into the machine. At the far right are the Stop/Exit key, the Black Start, and the Color Start keys.
The LCD screen also gives you visual status information. As shown in Figure 12, it shows whether the fax preview is on or off, how many faxes are in memory, the wireless status, the current receive mode for the fax, the memory status, and an ink indicator.
The Brother MFC-J6710DW offers 4-in-1 (print, scan, copy, fax) capabilities. It handles all of these on a variety of paper sizes up to to A3 (i.e., 11 x 17 inches or 297 x 420 mm). In our testing it all sizes of paper went through the printer with ease.
Black and white print quality was very good and the printer is fast with speeds up to 35 ppm black and 27 ppm color in the fastest mode. Color pages printed with the default settings were extremely washed out. To get good color representation you have to play with the settings including using the “Vivid” mode. If you do that, color pages and photos print with good color vibrancy and reproduction. You can even print borderless photos.
This printer has an excellent automatic duplexer for printing two-sided documents and you can use the duplexer even on the largest A3 paper. An auto document feeder holds up to 35 sheets and allows for unattended fax, scan or copy. When printing or copying multiple copies of multiple pages with the auto document feeder, you can elect to either sort or stack the documents – a nice feature.
This all-in-one has a front side USB port and front side slots for media cards, as seen in Figure 13. It can handle Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro, Secure Digital, and Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC). The printer is PictBridge enabled. You can view, print, crop, or enhance photos right from the memory card. You can also create a slide show on the printers LCD and can scan directly to your media card.
The scan, fax, and copy modes have good functionality. For copying, this includes many sizing options and the ability to copy both sides of the paper automatically. The fax capabilities are exceptional including the ability to view, enlarge, and reduce a fax.
For scanning this includes the ability to scan to a file, to a media card, network FTP, or to an image file. You can also scan directly to the default email on your computer or to OCR. Scanning to OCR in Windows put the text into Windows Notepad with very good results. You can also change many options in the software.
The software that controls the scanning and OCR is PaperPort SE with OCR by Nuance. Even though this is a lite version of PaperPort, it is excellent software for controlling and sorting your scans as well as changing formats and putting the scan through OCR to turn it into text. The Mac version includes Presto! PageManager for Mac.
If you purchase this printer, we suggest that you read the Software User’s Guide that is included in the CD and can also be found online. You will find the software very useful when you investigate all it can do. For Windows, there is also some additional software that you can install including BookScan & Whiteboard Suite that enhances and corrects scanned book images and FaceFilter Studio for enhancing photos.
Unfortunately, we had some paper jams when using this printer. Most of these resulted from not getting the paper loaded properly. Proper loading took a little effort. We found the paper trays a bit difficult to use. As shown in Figure 14, the cover of the paper tray fold back across the back half of the tray, but you cannot remove it. Depending on the size of the paper, sometimes this results in having to get fold the cover back and forth while trying to get the paper guides to their correct position. Fortunately, the tray has markings to guide you. Unfortunately, we still found this a bit difficult.
Also, you have to remember to pull out the paper guide to catch the paper as it ejects from the printer. As shown in Figure 15, this guide adds another 5-6” to a printer that is already monster-sized.
One very nice thing about this printer is that there are high yield and extras-high yield cartridges available. The extra-high yield cartridges are rated for 2,400 pages in black and 1,200 pages in color. The current cost at Staples is USD 31.99 and USD 19.49, respectively. This puts cost per page at 1.3 cents of US dollar for black and 1.6 cents of US dollar for color, which is very reasonable.
This brother comes with a three-year limited warranty and toll-free technical support for the life of the product. It was refreshing to find the Brother telephone number printed clearly on the first page of the User’s Guide. There is also 24/7 online help for the product.
The main specifications for the Brother MFC-J6710DW all-in-one printer include:
The Brother MFC-J6710DW can print, copy, scan, and fax documents up to A3 (i.e., 11 x 17 inches or 297 x 420 mm) and it has an automatic duplexer that will let you use both sides of the paper. It is easy to set up wirelessly (802.11 b/g/n) and also supports wired Ethernet and USB.
Even in small businesses, fax is becoming passé, but if you need to have fax capabilities, this is one of the few printers with a comprehensive fax feature along with large paper capabilities. The dual paper trays hold 250 sheets each. Although the manual paper feed is inconveniently placed, it is available for envelope and heavy media use.
The printer also has a 35-sheet document feeder and slots for media cards. The scanning features are excellent with the PaperPort and OCR software. The over-sized platen can handle A3 scans. It can also handle books of just about any size and is even hinged to accommodate books and comes with software to clean up scanned book images.
The Brother MFC-J6710DW provides very good, speedy prints in black and also does well in color, providing you are willing to tweak the settings a bit. In fact, that you will find that you will be tweaking the settings a lot on this printer – this is because it has so many settings to tweak. This is good for anyone who wants to create their own printed masterpieces, but may be a drawback for those who just want a quick print job without thinking about it.
If you need four-in-one capabilities and large paper handling this printer may be for you, provided you have plenty of room and a sturdy base to hold it.