Most helpful critical review
94 of 103 people found the following review helpful
Great promise, poor execution
on June 17, 2013
Brother MFC-J4710DW All-In-One Printer
Wow, this printer is so packed with great features and capabilities, I was disappointed to have to return it. But the serious problems completely overshadowed the promised features.
* Wireless (or wired)
* Pretty fast
* Double-sided printing
* Double-sided scanning
* Two input paper trays
* Can print up to 11 x 17 inches! This is possible by an innovative "sideways" design in which a document is printed 90 degrees opposite from what other printers do.
* Free phone support for the unit's life
* Many delicate-feeling plastic parts, such as adjustments, little paper guides, doors, and the paper trays themselves. I never felt confident that these parts would hold up over a long life, such that breaking any of them could cripple functions.
* Can't print normal legal-sized envelopes without leaving a nearly 1" gap on the left edge. I spent some 50 minutes on the phone with tech support people at Brother about this! They tried numerous options. They even used the "Let Me In" software to take control of my computer and try it themselves. After asking me to place samples of the bad printouts on the scanner glass, they were even able to take control of the scanner so they could see for themselves what the result looked like. Nothing worked! The closest they could get was to change settings so that the return address started at about 1" from the left edge. That worked, but it's not professional looking and would look even worse if I tried to add a logo there. (On the other hand, printing on an old HP printer worked just fine.)
* Printing envelopes smeared the ink
* Printing envelopes had text glitches, such as characters badly formed and bars in the bar code not separated properly. I suspect this is due to the different feel of a normal legal envelope versus plain paper
* Multiple paper jams, in just a few days of working with this machine. This is especially annoying since ...
* ANY AND ALL error messages, such as a paper jam, required pulling the plug! In this situation, I could find no way to "clear" the messages without a complete power-down. Pressing and holding the power button had no effect. I had to actually pull the plug, and since the cord is permananetly attached to the machine, this required crawling on the floor each time.
* Print dialog on the Mac has two distinct "Paper Handling" popup menu items. One was the real command, the other led to nothing.
* Print dialog on the Mac made it very difficult to specify the tray to be used for paper. It's there, but a lot of hunting is required. Although it's more buried than necessary on the PC printer dialog, it's much more accessible than the one they have for the Mac.
* The relationship between the settings on the printer for what kind of paper is in the trays and the settings in the print dialogs on the computer is by no means obvious. I kept on getting printouts directed to the wrong tray. Especially annoying is that only the top tray can be used for special papers (e.g., envelope or photo stock) so it's important to get the printer and computer to correctly agree on what's where. Perhaps the answer is in the 196-page flimsy manual printed in tiny type, but I cherish my eyes too much to wade very far through that.
* When printing a PDF from the Mac, there were *LONG* delays (two minutes, perhaps) after clicking the print dialog's OK button and anything happening. Printing a PDF from the PC worked fast.
* Some text printouts appeared light, greyish
* Initial setup was excessively complicated
* Could not install from my Mac, since Java was required and that is no longer supported on that Mac. I had to use a PC to install.
* The install software announces that it is possible to setup for wireless printing without using a USB cable, but I could not find any reference to where such a thing is described
* The "Quick Setup Guide" (ha!) is 46 pages long!
* The full "Basic User's Guide" is a stunning 196 (yikes!) pages of TINY type in a miniature font, with flimsy, thin paper. Isn't it ironic that a printer would be documented with a poorly designed manual?
* Software appears to be a conglomeration of lots of separate modules, which is one of the things I disliked about HP in the first place.
* I could not figure out how to scan a PDF to the Mac. I was able to do this to a PC.
The innovative sideways printing technology and the boatload of features on this printer are very appealing and desirable. But too many practical problems keep it from fulfilling its promise. Maybe Brother's next versions will deliver the promise better.