Customer Reviews: Brother - Wireless All-In-One Printer MFC-J475DW
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on September 27, 2014
Brother J475 Review and comparison to Canon MG5520

After a long loyalty with Brother spanning 10 years I broke ranks and have used Canon the last four years or so, because the under $100 Brother units of the very recent past compromised color print quality. And I kept going through Brother printers in less than two years but I'm a heavy user. After switching to Canon I didn't see any difference in how long they lasted, just how they performed daily.
Thankfully with the J475 here, the color print quality is top-notch and I can no longer see an obvious advantage with Canon for photos and image printing. Brother has leveled the playing field with amazing, sharp color imagery.
The J475 is very comparable to the Canon MG5520 but you do get a fax with Brother and a multi-sheet page feeder for copies which is really nice.
Both of these printers will work well in your home office environment, so I'm going to compare the MFC-J475 to the Canon MG5520, both good printers available as of this writing for under $100, as follows:

The Brother has less expensive factory ink, although this may not be a big factor because both Brother & Canon have good aftermarket ink available on Amazon that are cheap. Test out a few brands and go with seasoned reviews on ink. For Canon I really recommend using Sophia Global on Amazon. They're one of the few companies that consistently offer good compatible ink tanks in the same packaging a year after year and aren't reselling other people's ink. I never have problems with their ink. For some reason they don't carry every brother model but aftermarket ink does exist for brother, you'll just have to try a few vendors with good longstanding reviews for the model you need.

Both printers are about the same size, weight, and footprint. If you're buying another printer online, make sure you check the size and weight because some of these multifunction machines are incredibly large and heavy. Not an issue with either of these models. Small-office friendly.
Brother is way easier to set up, and much easier to use via the control panel. Scanning is a breeze and it prints fast & well with black & white. Where Canon wins, is speed of color printing. If you print lots of color or mostly color, go with the Canon hands down because its just plain faster output, much faster. Again I didn't see much of a difference in image quality between the two printers where in the past Canon has always won out. The Canon does yield better print quality in "draft" (fast) mode than the Brother. Might be important for those of you that print in draft to save ink but still want a usable output. If color with speed is your thing, Canon wins. Both printers can be heard while printing, but the Brother is quieter. Perhaps 50% quieter. However see below notes about QUIET MODE for Canon.
Both printers offer a wireless and wired print option, the USB connection on the Brother is hiding under the cover next the fax & phone jacks. I found the Brother slightly easier to install and hook up via wireless, and my Canon installation did not like the fact I had an identical Canon printer installed (Windows 7).

Brother wins for copying, simply because of the easy control panel and digit keypad. It also is quieter than the Canon in normal mode. The LCD menu and getting around is also much more intuitive with Brother. And you get a multi-document feeder so you can copy five pages by feeding them into the top panel all at once (with Canon you'll be lifting the glass cover and doing each sheet separately!) All this without loading tons of bloatware and extra software on your system. Both Canon & Brother install software, but Canon loads a crapload and their scanning interface is outright slow, and terribly hard to use! And it's been this way for the last few Canon models I've had. I don't recommend the Canon at all for scanning. The quality is fine, it's the user interface and software which will have you swearing and throwing things. It's slow cumbersome, and hard to work with the finished files regarding saving, etc. Brother wins out big here for scanning & copying ease. To scan a photo, you do it all from the little LCD and select "scan to email, document, or image". If you scan to image, it quickly scans' the photo and the image pops up on your computer ready to save. This same process is much more convoluted and slow with the Canon.

If you are constantly loading different types of paper in the machine, like plain paper, glossy paper, and different shipping labels for you ecommerce Ebay & Amazon sellers out there, you'll like the Canon slightly better. This is because there is no annoying tray to pull out to get to the paper. You simply load the paper in the exposed slot. Brother has you pull out a tray. I will say Brother made the tray easier to pull out & push back in with this model compared to earlier printers, but some people who are changing paper alot will prefer no tray to pull out and push back in.
Both printers have an access door in the back and bottom panel to access paper jams.
One MAJOR flaw in the Canon - they made the darn output tray too short. So if you print more than one page, the printed output will fall off the printer on the floor. Insanely bad engineering by Canon! I have fixed this issue by taping a piece of cardboard to the output tray extending it by about two inches. No more dropped printouts. Unbelievable that Canon missed this. This is not a deal breaker, but it is not an issue on the Brother which has a large and completely retractable output arm that catches all the printouts.

Both have a color LCD on the front of the unit, the Brother is smaller but much easier to use and navigate so I prefer it. It also gives you a color read-out of ink levels on the LCD. The Canon instead has an annoying pop-up on your computer monitor about ink levels each time you print. So every time you print, you get to see the ink levels and sometimes the pop-up window interferes with other things I'm doing while typing or switching windows.
If you work at night and dont want to disturb people, the Canon has a cool "quiet mode" that prints in stealth quiet fashion. Its really almost completely silent when it prints. I'm sure the tradeoff is a bit slower function but I haven't noticed it. I don't see this option on Brother, but in normal operating mode the Brother is quieter than Canon. The Brother though has an auto sleep mode though where the screen goes dark (you can set when & for how long this happens) so there is no annoying bright light on. The Canon has a pretty bright blue light in front that stays on even when the printer is inactive, unless you power it off. You'll have to shut it off to get it to go dark, I keep mine covered up with a piece of paper. If you keep a printer in the bedroom or other place you want dark at night, you'll appreciate the auto sleep function on the Brother where the entire console goes dark automatically, and all you have to do is press any button or execute a printout and the printer immediately comes to life with no waiting.

For longevity - I dont know who makes a better product, in the past I'd probably give the nod to Brother. But I print alot and for me the image and text quality generally declines after about a year, but I print alot, probably more than the typical home-office user. I also always use aftermarket ink, this may or may not contribute to the life expectancy but even so I make it up in savings on ink even if I have to replace a printer every year. Honestly at well under a hundred bucks, I'll take the better performing machine for my needs as the replacement cost isn't enough for me to worry about.

WIFI (UPDATE 9-18-15) Both printers work fine over WiFi and wireless printing but this is dependent on your router! I've had an older router (4-5 years old) and both these printers worked intermittently with this setup sometimes poorly and unresponsive. HOWEVER AFTER UPGRADING MY ROUTER both printers perform flawlessly wirelessly. Sometimes there is a bit of lagtime when switching printers in your print dialog box, but its not a big deal. I've always felt its better to hook up printers hardwired but rest assured with a newer router you won't have any issues, and my router is in the next room away from 2 of my printers and still no issues. You do need to make sure your router is in range and the signal percentage isn't too low otherwise you can have weird or slow performance set in with your printers and you won't know it's the router. I do think eventually printer manufacturers will do away with USB connections on some models to save money, so if you're looking at this review for a future model just make sure it has the connection you need. These models in this review support both USB and wireless printing.

These are both really good quality printers that are going to work well for printing, copying, and photos. You probably can't make a mistake getting either one if you read the below. I've broken the "winner" down by task below, as these printers excel at different things with different features. Let's face it, both of these are under priced considering the quality as both companies will make up their profit on their ink tanks (especially high priced Canon ink). Aftermarket ink is readily available for both models.
If you are doing lots of color printing I'd go with the Canon for sure, its just plain faster (even in fast mode, the Brother is still dog-slow for color in my opinion). For black and white they are both fast.
For lots of scanning or copying, or printing mainly in black & white (or if you need a fax) go with the Brother for sure - it highly excels over Canon in these areas. Canon is cumbersome with scanning and has no fax function. Brother also includes a cool sheet-feeder for copying multiple pages, a 'plus' for any office.
The Brother is quieter in normal mode, but the Canon has a neat "night" or quiet mode which prints almost silently and can be set by you.
Canon excels at color printing by far, if you're doing any measurable amount of color printing, go with the Canon, its just much faster without giving up quality. The Canon likes to drop paper printouts on the floor because the output arm is way too short, which is highly annoying (if you keep the Canon further back on a desk away from the edge this shouldn't be a big issue but the Brother still has a better output tray.)
Also keep in mind the Canon has an exposed paper tray (nothing to pull out) so quicker paper loading if you're switching paper types often, (but this is more prone to dust and foreign matter falling on the paper if you aren't using it regularly).

If I think of anything else I'll update the review, and feel free to ask any questions. Thanks for reading.
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on December 28, 2013
Overall this is a solid performer for being one of the lowest priced MFC printers out there, but there are some compromises.

Initial setup was simple and I greatly appreciate the lack of bloatware (as opposed to HP printers). It prints and copies very fast, is efficient with the ink, and OEM replacement cartridges are among some of the lowest priced in the market.

Resolution isn't the greatest, but it is as advertised.

So far, though, I have a few gripes:
1) Setup from disc failed to properly load the "ControlCenter" app, which enables initiation and customization of functions from the PC. I will note that finding Brother's recommended solution (to uninstall all of the scanner driver files, which are sprinkled across your system's libraries) was easy and informative. But it was an addition 25 minute process.
2) Scanning is insanely slow! It takes 1-1.5 minutes from launch of the ControlCenter to the moment the scanned image is produced on your computer screen. When you factor in my next issue (#3), you're looking at a time span that makes scanning of multiple items in a session unappealing. I'm used to total scan times in the ~30 second range on an HP Photosmart.
3) Scanning output isn't as intuitive as other printers. This is the trade-off with the lack of bloatware. In this instance, the scanner isn't smart enough to detect an image's boundaries and constrain the output scan to those. There are pre-defined settings, but it takes awhile to sort through and memorize them all for easy/quick retrieval.

Overall, the compromises are worth it relative to the lack of hassle the machine generates relative to anger-inspiring devices from HP>
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on August 12, 2013
I have owned this printer for a short time and am happy with it so far. I picked it up for $69 at best buy on a tax free weekend. The first unit I purchased had an issue or two. It was misfeeding about 1/5, and though this is costly it was not the major reason I called customer service for Brother. Without going to sleep, if I let it set more that two minutes between prints it would go through a 3-5 minute warm up procedure. =0|. Knowing I only had about 15 days to turn in the unit if I didn't get this hashed out I went in to the Store and was prompted not to even bother figuring it out and bring it back. I am very glad that I did.

The new unit is fast and makes one sweep of the mechanism even from a rest before making my print (a delay of only 5sec) very doable. The wireless set up and printer settings were complete in under 10 minutes. It took me longer to remove all the old drivers and printer form my system preferences than to add this printer. Print quality is good and though I have not tried photo paper yet I am still impressed.

And I like the idea of only replacing the ink well that is empty in stead of replacing all of them just over one empty well...really. what a waste of money.

Love the printer, so far, and like being able to support a local company.
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on August 18, 2013
I like this printer because it works well and has important features. Prints come clear and fast. The wireless set up is easy, the fax works flawlessly, the copy machine too. I haven't tried the scanner yet, but I'm sure it will perform to satisfaction. The features that I like the most about this printer is its speed, the wireless capabilities (I can easily print from several laptops around the house and from tablets), the automatic feeder, and the double-sided printing. The automatic feeder is a great feature for me because it makes it easy to load originals to either copy or fax. The double-sided printing saves me paper and space. It also offers several printing preference options to save ink, including a "ink saver" mode. Overall, it's a full feature, good quality, solid printer.
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on July 17, 2015
Brother should have been upfront about the fact that you will be unable to use a black only ink cartridge with this unit and 3rd party cartridges are unrecognizable to the printer. Even though it states on their website that the printer can be used with black ink only it cannot. The very expensive color ink cartridges must all be in place, they cannot be low or empty or this printer will not function at all. The printer will also tell you the ink is low and refuse to print even though the cartridge is more than 1/4 full of ink. To add insult to injury, in Feb. 2015, Brother issued a firmware update making sure that 3rd party cartridges cannot be used with this printer forcing the consumer's hand to buy Brother brand cartridges only. Shame on Brother for gouging consumers in this underhanded way.
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on December 19, 2014
For cartridges, I go on eBay and search lc103.. They are a lot cheaper and just find one near the top with a lot of sold.. They work perfectly and are 1/10th the price of the store or amazon for brand name..

When the color is out and you want to print in black and white, it won't let you.. This is really annoying.. but to bypass it you can take out the ink and cover the little ink tank with duct or electrical tape.. this will show all the colors as full and let you print in black and white again..

It's a good printer once you find cheap ink that works good for you and fix the color ink problem..
I wish they let you print in black and white by default when color is out.. seems like a scam

after couple of years i upgraded to laser and much happier because this printer use to jam all day long with my shipping labels.. Laser technology is much more advanced and better.. Decent printer unless you print with shipping labels
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on January 3, 2015
If the color ink is out it will not let you print in gray scale / black & white even though the black ink is full. If not for this I would love the printer. I don't know if this is typical of Brother printers but I will not buy anymore Brother products. It is pretty quite and otherwise works great.
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on February 4, 2014
I have to say, I bought this printer for a steal. I oftentimes look at reviews prior to making such an investment because I want to know beforehand of any discrepancies or issues with the printer or available warranties. Quality, performance, and functionality also play a huge role. I'm specific to reviews on the actual product (more about that in a moment). I do my fair share of Amazon orders every month, and take care in both reading reviews and leaving them as well.

I just bought this printer, BUT I didn't purchase it through the Amazon. I purchased it at Best Buy. The cost was over $35 more through Amazon. Total cost through Amazon: over $90. Cost at Best Buy: $50 (including ink).

I was pleased to see that no additional equipment or accessories were needed. It what was all inside the box. Most printers are WiFi capable anyway, but many still require an Ethernet cord. All this required was an outlet. Simply put, I plugged it in and was done. I haven't set up the WiFi yet, but I'm looking forward to using it for school projects and various other small home office type tasks. I can print from my tablet (I have the 7 inch Samsung Galaxy Tablet III), and my iPhone 4. The printer comes with software to download to your computer, and an App to download to other wireless devices. So far as I can tell there is no limit, everyone at home can download the App and print wirelessly. The ink cartridges were simple to install, especially with the simple step by step photo instructions provided. This process was done practically on it's own. I never thought I'd invest in multi-cartridge printer ever again after my previous experience, but technology had advanced since the last time I bought a similar one (different brand, 6+ years ago). If you focus on printing only black and white documents, you save an incredible amount of ink. In fact, the black ink for this printer sells for $15 (again, Best Buy).

Now, about the shady reviews: it's the same scenario I've seen many times. This printer isn't meant for a large company/bigger office use. It's most effective as a personal desk printer at a desk, or even as a fax line, but it's not meant for large capacity printing. I see people waste money and posting negative reviews when they assume they are saving by purchasing a home office/personal printer expected to keep up with the high demands of a large office. The result would be going through massive amounts of ink and paper. You will also find yourself on the market to purchase yet another printer as this one will burn out due to overuse. So, if you are looking for the same type of printer to be used on a larger scale, I encourage you to research and invest in the next step up on the same printer. Amazon has a full line of products to fit your budget, and the descriptions will tell you in which capacity the printer can handle (whether it's meant for office use or personal, they have it). Lastly, the review should be on the product itself and it's performance. Yes, a review that includes taking a trip to a local repair store does testify to the performance of the printer, but not when the review deviates on a long rant about the terrible customer service. Amazon reviews are meant to be used to inform potential customers about the actual product.
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on November 7, 2014
So frustratedl. It shuts down, and shows as offline. It cannot be contacted wirelessly, and it has no wired controls. Turning it off and on again doesn't help. Resetting the wireless settings sometimes helps, sometimes doesn't. Often I'll come back hours later and my print job will have printed, in the middle of the night. There are no online help pages that give me any assistance, and there's no phone support on this product. I'm returning it, I"m totally disgusted.
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on January 9, 2014
I had an Kodak printer but hadn't used in a while and when I tried to remove the ink I broke the carriage, which turns out to be a common issue if it sits for a while. So I was looking for a highly rated printer and checked out Amazon and the local stores as well, and this unit kept coming up. So since I did own an older 420cn that still functions, but lacked the wireless I need now, I purchased this one to replace my broken Kodak. It was easy to set up and the driver disc was easy to install on one of my laptops, but my newest thin HP lacked a drive, so to Brother support I went and downloaded the driver, set up was a snap. What I liked about the printer is the print cartridges load from the front and not to the carriage. Now I do not have to open the top of the printer and maybe I won't break this printer. prints fast and the cartridges are cheaper than the HP's I've owned in the past. The lcd screen is a little small but can be seen with my glasses, so not to big of an issue. The 875DW version is the same except that it has a touch screen and no buttons. So I decided to save a little and go with buttons. I'm pleased with the printer so far. The other consideration that helped me decide was the availability of ink cartridges from local retailers and Amazon, seems everyone has them in stock with Amazon's price a little lower than the retailers....SOLD!
Thanks Amazon for another quality product and service!
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