Brother goes ink-tank INKvestment for home and small business users
4.6Overall Score

Brother has introduced its first ink tank models that take away the sting of replacement ink cartridges often costing more than the printer did. Ink tanks are all about total cost of ownership – or INKvestment as Brother has coined.

Brother invented the term INKvestment but it did not invent ink tank printers first. Epson has long had Eco-tank printers. These are gradually replacing the older cartridge style printers. Canon has its Endurance range. HP has its PageWide business printers with speeds up to 70 ppm.

I am only alerting you to your options. Inkjet ‘ink-tank’ can be more cost-efficient and replace lasers in the right niches.

The Brother INKvestment Tank MFC-J1300DW and DCP-J1100DW compact all-in-one separate the printhead from the ink cartridge. The printhead lasts the life of the printer, and you merely replace ink cartridges. Brother says this is far more convenient that tipping ink bottles into a reservoir. We agree especially as we still have ink stains on the floor from testing other brands.

Stefanie Dixon, Marketing Manager SMB, Brother Australia said:

We engineered the Brother INKvestment Tank to help solve two significant printing challenges – unexpectedly running out of ink and having to replace ink soon after purchasing a printer. By providing up to one year of ink in-box without the need to replace cartridges, the new all-in-ones help entrepreneurs and home office users alike focus on all the other important things happening in their year.

Paul Saussey, General Manager Sales (Retail), Brother Australia said:

People don’t dislike ink; they dislike having to change expensive ink cartridges frequently and without warning. INKvestment Tank models change the way you ink. We have kept the benefits of a swappable cartridge – simplicity, cleanliness and familiarity but save money with the most economical print solution in its class.

GadgetGuy took a Brother INKvestment Ink Tank printer for a test drive and was suitably impressed with the results.

Brother INKvestment ink tank model MFC-J1300DW

The two models use the same print engine and components. The $329 MFC-J1300DW is a print, copy, scan and fax and the $289 DCP-J1100DW loses NFC and the fax (which few of us use anymore).

Setup – so easy

  • Unbox
  • Load the four cartridges
  • Plug in a USB-A cable, or an Ethernet cable, or connect to Wi-Fi network
  • For a PC download and install the computer software setup (Windows, Mac and Linux)
  • For a mobile device (Android or iOS) install the Brother app

Printing specs

10/12 ppm colour/mono for A4 (first print out in eight seconds) – will print borderless
15 seconds for a 4×6 photo print (smallest print size)
Resolution up to 6000 x 1200 dpi (typically print at lower than that)
Auto-duplex two-sided print (maximum paper weight 105gsm) but print speed slows to 3 ipm (inches per minute)
Paper 64-220gsm x up to 150 sheets in the cassette
Output tray – 50 sheets (care if printing long documents)
64-300gsm manual sheet feeder slot at the rear
Relatively quiet when printing – 50dB otherwise silent

A personal printer or for small workgroups

Eight seconds to first print is quite fast. Research shows most people only print one to three sheets at a time and print speed is adequate – 10/12 colour/mono pages in under a minute. Of course, this slows down if you double side it (3 ppm) and if you select higher quality resolutions.

Our advice – you would not select this speed if you regularly print longer documents or need higher resolutions for presentations (unless you are prepared to wait).

Print quality on 80gsm A4 bond (we liken that to printing on a sponge) gives acceptable prints for internal use. By that, we mean school/uni assignments, letters, spreadsheets and more. The text is crisp and black, and colours are relatively accurate in so far as a ‘sponge’ allows.

If you want better quality, you need to use a coated stock.

Officeworks have paper with a silken (matte) finish, 100 or 120gsm A4 in CIE 170 Whiteness. I also tried it on 135gsm digital gloss paper, and it was perfect for submissions and photos, albeit speed suffered.

We had some 210gsm silken finish copy paper, and it fed fine from the cassette.

Officeworks exclusively sell these Brother printers so pick up a pack of heavier stock to experiment. Just be a little careful – normal copy paper comes in 500 sheet reams. Thicker stock is usually about half that.

Also, pick up a pack of 4 x 6 photo paper. Photo prints were as good as a bought one but not as good as a dedicated photo printer that may use five or more print heads and inks.

If you experience a paper jam (and we did not), the device opens like a clamshell, and you can move the printer head if the jam is under it. The rear cover also opens. Overall it is easy to access the innards.