If you’ve followed me for long, you know I have a soft spot for Brother printers, having owned several and recommended them for many years.  It’s my default brand here at Gadget Central and throughout my family, and among most friends who take my advice for best bang for your printing buck.

If you want a spot-on color AIO (All-in-One) with a surprising and deep list of useful and beneficial features, read here about the all-new Brother MFC-J825DW, retailing for a suggested $150. I’ve just had some me-time with one of these and I am impressed.

Remember to shop wisely for the best price, which in my experience is usually amazon.com.  However, as this is being written, this NEW model has not yet hit retailers. For those for whom the MFC-J825DW will work best – students in dorms, home workers and small office environments, it would be worth it to wait a few weeks for it to hit at retail.

With that out of the way, highlights include a small footprint, always a plus.  I think this printer does everything a small unit can possibly do, and a bit more.  Copy, print, scan and fax, of course, but the full story awaits below.

It is easy to use and easy to set up its built-in wireless networking – at home and anywhere where a router is used.  This means users will be up and running fast, though there are others that can also hit the ground running as can this model.  And with wireless networking, this AIO is ripe for sharing.  Think about this in a dorm as a shared printer for multiple users!  Dorm-room printer sharing is usually just a bit different, however.

If your student’s college allows a router to be used in a dorm room and set up in a traditional way, as one would do on the outside, this will work perfectly, by doing the simple wireless configuration.  As many colleges do not allow Internet-connected routers in dorms (it’s a policy with merit, I assure you), then there is a work-around.  Just be sure a router may be used IF it is NOT connected to the Internet.  Use the router simply as the wireless hub through which the printer is connected – NO Internet connection is needed.  To print, the user would select the router as the apparent wireless connection, though losing Internet connectivity temporarily, and then the printer will be available. Wireless routers, the simplest ones for purposes such as this, are readily available for under $50.  You may wish to ask the computer geeks through the student store for hook-up assistance, if needed, but you can find great deals on the router itself online at the usual places, including my favorite, amazon.com.

Users are not limited to printing in the usual fashion.  This printer is also on board to use modern technology to allow wireless printing from smartphones using free apps along with AirPrint, Google Cloud Print (for computer users with Google Chrome browser), Brother iPrint & Scan and Cortado Workspace. (Look them up.)

Ink cartridges are simply accessible through the front – this model features FOUR separate cartridges, meaning only the cartridge/color that is low needs to be changed. This is another convenience feature.  Speaking of ink, this model can use the 600-page, high-yield Brother black ink cartridges, another convenience and economic saving.

Dedicated function keys on the touch screen allow users to send scanned pages or images, or photos on an inserted media card (in the built-in media reader) directly to Facebook, Google Docs, Picasa Web Albums, FLICKR and even Evernote accounts.  Nice!!

Print directly from PictBridge-enabled digital cameras as well as from inserted USB drives in addition to inserted camera memory cards.

Worthwhile extras, right?  But wait, that’s not all, folks!  Even at its low price, it also includes a couple of surprises.  First, the MFC-J825DW features built-in automatic duplex, or both-sides printing.  That’s right. Save trees and print on both sides of a sheet of paper with settings in the print dialog box of your computer’s Brother print drivers that are installed during product setup from the enclosed CD, and updated online as needed.  This means users do not have to turn paper over and re-insert to print on both sides. I love this feature and I am pleased to see it as a growing trend on more and more printers. Now, we just need to train ourselves to make use of it.

Next is even more surprising.  I have long advised against printing paper labels on optical media.  They can come off and ruin the device into which the disc is inserted.  The MFC-J825DW features a special tray used for holding a printable optical disc.  Now, we can print – in high quality color – directly upon blank, printable CDs and DVDs, even Blu-ray discs.  Software is included for Macs and Windows PCs for this purpose.  Use photos, create graphics or be otherwise creative to permanently print on these discs.  Isn’t that handy!  There are but a few printers available today for this purpose, though most blank media comes ready for the job. Now we can use it for its intended purpose.

In my limited and brief hands-on with this hot new Brother All-in-One, I have been quite pleased.  Oh, and there’s a 15-page ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) to add to the mix of worthwhile capabilities.

Brother ink can produce excellent color photos as well as perfectly fine black text documents.  In draft mode, which they term Fast Mode, this printer is said to deliver up to 35 ppm in black and 27 ppm in color.  In its best quality printing mode, specifications call for up to 12 ppm in black and 10 ppm in color, though these figures are NOT exact as to what you may get.  Overall, for its cost and size, these are respectable outcomes.

The main paper tray can hold 100 sheets of standard paper and the photo bypass tray can accept up to 20 sheets of 4 x 6 glossy photo paper.  Color printing looks very good, indeed!  I also like that it can accept Brother’s high-yield black cartridge good for up to 600 pages.

Make up to 99 copies at a time.

Faxing is with all the usual and customary features, though I would assume few students would use this capability.  Small office and home office workers may be a different thing.  Faxing is so passé isn’t it?  Send a PDF in email instead!

Round it out with a two-year warranty and Brother’s excellent FREE phone support (in my experience) for the product’s life and I think the package is a worthwhile investment for those who want a color AIO printer with BIG features.  I am not aware of competitive products with similar features at anywhere near this price.  As stated above, I have been pleased with Brother products for many years. This one is sure to not disappoint, either.

Here is one more piece of advice for those interested in a high performance, outstanding quality, value-packed, easy to use, economical to operate monochrome (black & white) laser printer for home, dorm or small office.  BUY BROTHER as I do.  For this crowd, go to the Brother page on these units.  Find the model that suits the needs best, starting at well under $100 (shopping online as recommended)!!!  Now, as always, put in the model number in your search engine and find your best price, usually at amazon.com, by my experience.

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