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The Value of an 11″x17″ All-in-One Inkjet

We just received a Brother MFC-J6910DW 11″x17″ All-in-one printer/scanner/fax machine at work.  Its primary value is for electrical schematics: letter size schematics are hard to read; color ledger sized print-outs are so much easier to read.

The Brother isn’t perfect; for example, the output tray is a little cheesy (basically, there isn’t one: the paper is output on top of the #1 paper tray).  But the value is incredible; ledger-sized color lasers are well over $1,000, while the inkjets are less than $300.  Features include:

  • Semi-reasonable ink prices (based on manufacture’s claims, the MFC-6910DW is ~$0.035/page, while the WF-7520 is ~$0.06/page).  Third parties make much cheaper compatible cartridges.
  • Two 250-sheet paper trays.
  • Automatic duplex printing
  • USB and network (wired or wireless) connections
  • Automatic duplex scanning for letter size paper using the ADF
  • 11×17 scanning and copying.

I was also very impressed with the Epson WF-7520, which has similar features.  You’ll need a lot of space for either model.

I plan on doing an update after we’ve used the beast for a couple months.  If you’re designing automation equipment, and are stuck with a letter-size printer, I highly recommend taking a look.

Update 2/5/2013: the Brother was a good buy; it’s so capable we only use a subset of its features.  Here are some assorted comments:

  • The XXL ink tanks are definitely worth it; they really do last a long time.
  • The scan to USB thumb drive feature is very handy.
  • It’s not as fast as a traditional copier, but it’s faster than the HP All-in-ones we have.
  • The output “tray” is still cheesy.
  • We have to be careful loading letter paper, or it will jam frequently.  If we make sure the paper has been fanned, and place load it carefully, then the printer rarely jams.
  • Sometimes it’s difficult figuring out how to get it to do what you want, e.g. automatically scale from letter size original to ledge size copy.
  • I haven’t tried photo quality on it, and doubt I will — we have a Canon ink jet for photos.

 

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