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Brother MFC-J1205W Printer Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8.1
Reviewed Jul 30, 2021 at 11:27 am
Brother MFC-J1205W Picture
7.5
Family
5.7
Small/Home Office
8.5
Student
6.9
Black & White
7.3
Casual Photo
Type All in One
Technology Inkjet
Wireless Yes
Color Yes
SuperTank
No

The Brother MFC-J1205W is an all-in-one printer that's best suited for families and students. It uses Brother's proprietary INKvestment Tank ink system, a hybrid between high-yield cartridges and supertank printers, for great page yields at an outstanding cost-per-print. It feels very well-built, with easy access to potential paper jams and ink cartridges, and it has a flatbed scanner with hinges that raise slightly for scanning thicker items. Unfortunately, there's no automatic document feeder, and it prints disappointingly slowly overall. Although it produces decent-looking photos with passably accurate colors, there's a bit of grain and some banding that's more apparent in lighter areas.

Our Verdict

7.5 Family

The Brother MFC-J1205W is a good printer for family use. The cost-per-print is superb, it prints decent-looking photos with acceptable color accuracy, and the Brother Mobile Connect app is outstanding. There's only a flatbed scanner, but its good scan resolution and color depth should be good for casual use. Unfortunately, you can't print directly from external storage.

Pros
  • Produces decent-looking photos.
  • Outstandingly low cost-per-print.
Cons
  • Can't print via Bluetooth or directly from external storage.
5.7 Small/Home Office

The Brother MFC-J1205W is a disappointing printer for small or home offices. Although its black and color document yields are great, and it warms up decently quickly to print the first page, it doesn't have an automatic document feeder and prints black text documents slowly. There's no Ethernet port, but you can connect to a network via Wi-Fi.

Pros
  • Great page yields.
  • Feels very well-built, with a removable power cord.
Cons
  • Prints disappointingly slowly overall.
  • No automatic document feeder.
  • No display screen.
8.5 Student

The Brother MFC-J1205W is excellent for students. The cost-per-print for both black and color documents is outstandingly cheap, and it warms up decently quickly to print the first page. It also has a flatbed scanner so you can digitize notes or textbook pages, and you can print via Wi-Fi Direct or wirelessly through a router. However, it doesn't support printing via Bluetooth nor directly from external storage.

Pros
  • Outstandingly low cost-per-print.
  • Supports printing via Wi-Fi over a router and Wi-Fi Direct.
Cons
  • Can't print via Bluetooth or directly from external storage.
6.9 Black & White

The Brother MFC-J1205W is decent for black-and-white printing, with a remarkably low cost-per-print and a very good black page yield. Although it warms up decently quickly to print out the first page, it prints pages very slowly, so you might have to wait a while for long documents. Unfortunately, there's no automatic document feeder, and double-sided printing is a manual operation.

Pros
  • Outstandingly low cost-per-print.
  • Great page yields.
  • Feels very well-built, with a removable power cord.
Cons
  • Prints disappointingly slowly overall.
  • No automatic document feeder.
  • No display screen.
7.3 Casual Photo

The Brother MFC-J1205W is satisfactory for casual photo printing. It supports 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" glossy photo paper formats, and the cost-per-print for photos is remarkably low. Produced photos look decent, but there's a bit of grain, and some banding is apparent in lighter areas. Although colors are only passably accurate, this printer should be fine for everyday use.

Pros
  • Produces decent-looking photos.
  • Outstandingly low cost-per-print.
Cons
  • Colors are only passably accurate.
  • Can't print on 2" x 3"โ€“format glossy photo paper.
  • 7.5 Family
  • 5.7 Small/Home Office
  • 8.5 Student
  • 6.9 Black & White
  • 7.3 Casual Photo
  1. Updated Jul 30, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Jul 28, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
8.0
Design
Build & Design Quality

The Brother MFC-J1205W feels very well-built. There's easy access to potential paper jams via a door on the rear and to the ink cartridges in the front. You also don't need to turn the printer on to access or replace the cartridges. You can push the output tray all the way in to make the printer more compact, and the front cassette is removable, with sliders that adjust to different paper formats. The power cord can be detached, which makes it easy to replace if it gets damaged. Unfortunately, the USB port is located on the printer's left side, under the scan lid cover, and is very recessed, as seen here. This will shorten the usable cable length by about six inches if you plan to plug it in directly to your computer.

Design
Dimensions
Height 6.3" (16.0 cm)
Width 17.1" (43.5 cm)
Depth 14.0" (35.5 cm)
Weight
12.8 lbs (5.8 kg)
0
Design
Display Screen
Display Screen No
Display Screen Size
N/A
Touchscreen No

The Brother MFC-J1205W doesn't have a display screen, but there are five buttons with a set of LED lights that indicate the current settings or when the corresponding function is in operation. The paper button sets the paper size and paper tray settings, and the Wi-Fi button adjusts the Wi-Fi connectivity. You can press the 'Mono' and 'Color' Copy buttons at the same time to start scanning in either black and white or color, depending on the currently set scan setting.

Design
In The Box

  • Quick Setup Guide
  • Product Safety Guide
  • Power cord
  • Starter ink cartridges:
    • 1x LC404 BK
    • 1x LC404 C
    • 1x LC404 M
    • 1x LC404 Y

7.6
Design
Cartridge
Photo Cartridge
No
Number Of Color Cartridges
3
Black Cartridge Model
LC404BK
Tested Black Page Yield
62 prints
Estimated Black Page Yield
1,178 prints
Color Cartridge Model
LC404 C/M/Y
Tested Color Page Yield
34 prints
Estimated Color Page Yield
766 prints
Third Party Cartridge
No
High Yield Cartridge
No
Drum Unit
No Drum Unit

The Brother MFC-J1205W uses Brother's proprietary INKvestment Tank ink system, which uses expanded-capacity ink cartridges together with internal ink storage tanks. You can easily access the ink cartridges on the front right side, and the printer doesn't need to be on to replace the cartridges.

6.2
Design
Scanner
Scanner
Yes
Scan Flatbed
Yes
Scan Sheetfed
No
Automatic Document Feeder
No
Duplex Scanning
No
Scan Resolution
1,200 DPI
Scan Color Depth
24 Bit
Flatbed Scan Size
8.5" x 11"
Fax
No
Copy
Yes

The Brother MFC-J1205W has passable scanning features. There's only a flatbed scanner, but the scan resolution and color depth should capture fine details when digitizing photos. The scan lid's hinges also raise slightly for scanning thicker items like magazines. There's also an interpolated scan resolution feature that goes up to 19,200 DPI, which should result in an extremely high-detailed, crisp image. Unfortunately, since there's no automatic document feeder, it'll take a long time to scan multi-page documents.

If you're looking for an INKvestment Tank printer with better scanning features, consider the Brother MFC-J4335DW.

Printing
9.6
Printing
Cost-Per-Print
Black Cartridge Price
24.99 US$
Color Cartridge Price
40.99 US$
Black Only Printing
0.021 US$/print
Color Printing
0.054 US$/print
Photo Printing
0.142 US$/print
Ink Subscription
No

The Brother MFC-J1205W's cost-per-print is fantastic. The INKvestment Tank system, which uses expanded-capacity ink cartridges together with internal ink tanks, yields a great number of pages before the cartridges need replacing. Even then, the ink isn't very expensive. You can buy the color cartridges individually or together in a bundle if you want to save some money.

Keep in mind that even if you print only in black, most inkjet printers continue using the color cartridge for servicing tasks, so you may still need to replace it eventually.

5.5
Printing
Printing Speed
Black Only Text Document
8 PPM
Color Document
6 PPM
Photo Printing Time
70.0 s
First Page Out Time (Black Only)
10.4 s
Duplex Printing
Manual
Input Tray Capacity
150 pages

The Brother MFC-J1205W's printing speed for black and color documents is poor. However, it warms up decently quickly to print out the first page, so you shouldn't have to wait around for short print jobs to finish. If you're printing a double-sided document, the printer will prompt you on your PC after printing one side to flip the printed pages so that it can finish printing the other side. Brother specifies that the output tray can hold up to 50 sheets.

6.3
Printing
Color Accuracy
Average Color dE
10.51

The Brother MFC-J1205W's color accuracy is acceptable. It should still be fine for casual photo prints or for adding colors to reports and graphs, but it isn't suitable for tasks that require professional-grade color reproduction.

7.2
Printing
Photo Printing Quality
Borderless Printing
Yes

The Brother MFC-J1205W produces decent-looking photos with good colors. However, there's a little bit of grain, and there's also vertical banding across the photo that's more apparent in lighter areas.

We base these results on the actual physical photo, not the scanned image provided for reference above, which may not represent the printer's photo print quality.

Printing
Printing Size
Letter (8.5" x 11") Yes
Legal (8.5" x 14") Yes
Tabloid (11" x 17") No
A6 (105mm x 148mm) Yes
A5 (148mm x 210mm) Yes
A4 (210mm x 297mm) Yes
Photo (2" x 3") No
Photo (4" x 6") Yes
Photo (5" x 7") Yes
Mobile App And Connectivity
7.0
Mobile App And Connectivity
Connectivity
Ethernet
No
USB Input To Computer
Yes
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi via Router
Yes
Wi-Fi Direct
Yes
External Storage Support
No
Apple AirPrint
Yes
Mopria Print Service
Yes

During testing, we found that although we installed the full printer software package available directly from Brother, the printer driver would not install, even after multiple attempts. As a result, we couldn't print over our network via Wi-Fi and made our measurements by printing over Wi-Fi Direct instead. This could be due to a faulty driver download that may have since been resolved. If you're having the same issue, or if you managed to install the printer driver without any issues, let us know in the discussions.

9.5
Mobile App And Connectivity
Mobile App For Home Use
Mobile App Yes
App Name Brother Mobile Connect
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Photo (JPEG, PNG)
Yes
PDF
Yes
Microsoft Office Files
Yes
Text Files (TXT)
Yes
Webpages (HTML)
No

The Brother MFC-J1201W is compatible with the Brother Mobile Connect app, which has a refreshed interface and is compatible with newer Brother printers. You can print, scan, and copy directly from the app, check ink levels and order supplies, and perform maintenance tasks like checking the print quality and cleaning the inkjet heads. The maximum scan resolution on the app is only 300 DPI, which is much lower than the 1,200 DPI you can get on a PC, but it should still be okay for essays and reports. Unlike the older Brother iPrint&Scan app, it doesn't support printing web pages.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Brother MFC-J1205W, which comes only in white. There's also the Brother MFC-J1215W, which is the Walmart-exclusive version with the same specifications, which we expect to perform identically though we haven't tested it. However, the MFC-J1215W doesn't appear to come with a warranty card in the box. At the time of writing, the Brother MFC-J1205W is only available for purchase in North America. You can see our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Printers

The Brother MFC-J1205W is a budget-priced printer that uses Brother's INKvestment Tank system, a hybrid between expanded-capacity ink cartridges and ink storage tanks. Its page yields are good, and the cost-per-print is fantastic, and it prints decent-looking photos. However, it only has a flatbed scanner, and it prints at a disappointingly slow speed overall.

For more options, check out our recommendations for the best inkjet printers, the best printers for home use, and the best printers under $100.

Brother MFC-J995DW

The Brother MFC-J1205W and the Brother MFC-J995DW both use the proprietary INKvestment Tank, a hybrid cartridge–tank system, for higher page yields and a lower cost-per-print compared to regular cartridge printers. However, the J995DW is a much better printer overall, with significantly better page yields, a much cheaper cost-per-print, faster printing speed, and much better-looking photos with more accurate colors. Also, it has a screen to navigate through functions, an automatic document feeder, built-in fax, automatic duplex printing, and an Ethernet port.

Brother MFC-J4335DW

The Brother MFC-J4335DW and the Brother MFC-J1205W both use the INKvestment Tank, a hybrid cartridge–tank system, for improved pages compared to printers that use traditional cartridges. The J4335DW is better for small or home offices and black and white printing, but the J1205W might be better suited for students. The J4335DW has much better page yields, a lower black text document cost-per-print, and far more accurate colors. It also prints much faster and can duplex print, it has an automatic document feeder and built-in fax, and an Ethernet port. On the other hand, the J1205W is smaller and produces much better-looking photos.

Brother MFC-J805DW INKvestment Tank

The Brother MFC-J1205W and the Brother MFC-J805DW INKvestment Tank both use the proprietary INKvestment Tank, a hybrid cartridge–tank system, for higher page yields and a lower cost-per-print compared to regular cartridge printers. However, the J805DW is a better printer overall, with significantly better page yields, a much cheaper cost-per-print, and automatic double-sided printing. Also, there's a screen to navigate through functions, built-in fax, and an automatic document feeder. On the other hand, the J1205W prints documents and photos faster, and it produces much more accurate colors.

Brother MFC-J497DW

The Brother MFC-J1205W's proprietary INKvestment Tank, a hybrid cartridge–tank system, gives it far better page yields at a significantly cheaper cost-per-print than the Brother MFC-J497DW. The J1205W also prints documents faster. However, the MFC-J497DW uses a screen to navigate through functions, has built-in fax, an automatic document feeder, automatic duplex printing support, and produces more accurate colors.

Brother HL-L2350DW

The Brother HL-L2350DW is a monochrome laser printer-only unit that's better at black-and-white printing, while the Brother MFC-J1205W is a color inkjet printer. The HL-L2350DW has a slightly better black page yield, and prints far faster, but it doesn't have any scanning features. On the other hand, the MFC-J1205W uses Brother's INKvestment Tank, a hybrid cartridge–tank system, for an outstandingly cheap cost-per-print. Also, it has a flatbed scanner, and can print decent-looking photos with moderately accurate colors.

Brother MFC-J895DW

The Brother MFC-J1205W is better for families and students than the Brother MFC-J895DW. The J1205W uses Brother's proprietary INKvestment Tank, a hybrid cartridge–tank system, which gives it far better page yields at a significantly cheaper cost-per-print. However, the J895DW prints better-looking photos with somewhat more accurate colors, and it prints faster. Also, it has a screen to navigate through functions, has built-in fax, an automatic document feeder, an Ethernet port, and automatically prints double-sided.

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