Brother is fairly honest about the latest additions to its range of inkjet printers, making it quite clear that the DCP-J774DW is very much aimed at home and smaller office users who only have ‘low volume’ printing needs.
On that score, the DCP-J774DW does perform well, providing a high-quality, multi-function printer with respectable speeds and useful features for around £100. Brother also points to the low-cost of its replacement ink cartridges – but here the devil is in the detail, and the DCP-J774DW really does seem to be best suited to homes with very light printing needs, rather than small business users who need to keep an eye on daily running costs.
Brother DCP-J774DW: Price
Brother lists the price of the DCP-J774DW at £100 ex VAT (strange given it isn’t aimed at businesses).
In any case you can’t buy it directly from Brother’s website, and if you follow the link through to Amazon then you can buy the DCP-J774DW for £100 including VAT.
It’s a three-in-one printer that provides printer, scanner and copier features, but there’s also an alternative (and older) four-in-one model called the MFC-J895DW that also has a fax and automatic document feeder for business users, costing only £15 extra.
For more alternatives, see our list of the best printers.
Brother DCP-J774DW: Features And Design
The DCP-J774DW is certainly well suited for use at home. The printer’s low-profile design stands just 151mm high, 400mm wide and 341mm deep, so it’ll fit easily onto a shelf or desk if space is a bit tight.
It crams in plenty of useful features, though, including 1200x1200dpi printing (interpolated to 6000x1200dpi), and 1200x1200dpi scanner and copier.
The printer provides both USB and Wi-Fi connectivity, along with AirPrint for Apple’s mobile devices, and Brother’s own iPrint&Scan app for Android – and even Windows Phone too. RIP Windows Phone.
It also does two-sided (duplex) printing, and although the 100-sheet paper tray is relatively small, there’s a second 20-sheet tray for photo paper, and you can also feed in single sheets of paper through a manual feed at the back of the printer.
Our only real complaint is that it’s a bit noisier than we might have liked, making a quite noticeable whirring noise as the print mechanism travels from side to side.
Brother quotes speeds of 12 pages per minute when printing text on plain office paper, and 10ppm for colour documents, although there’s no speed quoted for postcard (4x6inch) photo prints.
Our tests did come quite close to those speeds, reaching 11ppm for text documents, and 8ppm for colour. It’s not the fastest printer around, but those speeds are still respectable for a printer in this price range, and should be perfectly adequate for most home users.
Text quality is excellent, with smooth, sharp characters that rival laser-quality and won’t let your business down if you’re working from home. Colour graphics and photo prints are very good too, and our postcard prints took 55 seconds to produce, which again is fairly reasonable for a printer at this price.
Brother points to the reduced price of its ink cartridges, with a value pack containing all four standard size cartridges – cyan, magenta, yellow and black – costing just £33.60 (£8.40 per cartridge).
That sounds good – but the catch is that these cartridges only last for about 200 pages, which means that mono text documents work out at a hefty 4.2p each, and 12.6p for colour documents.
It’s hard to recommend the DCP-J774DW with those running costs, although you can also buy larger ‘XL’ cartridges that provide better value.
A value pack containing all four XL cartridges costs £51.60 (£12.90 per cartridge).
Page yields are still relatively modest, though, at 400 pages for both mono and colour printing, but that does at least bring text pages down to 3.2p per page, and 9.7p for colour.
Those prices are still at the higher end of the average costs for inkjet printers, but they’re tolerable for a home printer that is only needed for ‘low volume’ work (as Brother recommends).