The Brother MFC-J6520DW is an all-in-one inkjet printer with scan and copy functions, an automatic document feeder and built-in faxing. It works with Windows and Mac OS. This printer is a wide format model that can print on 11x17 paper, giving you the ability to create large photographs or spreadsheets. The capacity of the main paper tray is 250 sheets, a generous size. It can accept paper up to 72# basis weight, much heavier than what's typical. There's a second tray for full-size paper, allowing you to load letterhead paper, for instance. There's an automatic document feeder to let you copy or scan a stack of pages in one operation. The printer has a small 1.9-inch display screen with a touchscreen interface. The Brother MFC-J6520DW has a memory-card reader. It has USB PictBridge for direct printing from cameras. You can connect directly to a PC with a USB cable, or to your network router either wirelessly with WiFi or with an Ethernet cable. This model has built-in faxing, can store incoming faxes if the paper runs out, and can send faxes from an attached PC. The Brother MFC-J6520DW measures 9.6 inches high by 21.7 inches wide by 23.1 inches deep.
NetworkingThe printer may connect to a home network either via an Ethernet (E) or a WiFi (W) connection. Ethernet is the common wired network and WiFi is the wireless format commonly found in laptop computers. Many printers also support Apple AirPrint (A) and/or Google Cloud Print (G).
E, W, A, G
WiFi Auto-connectAn installation feature that links a printer to a home network by copying the settings from a computer that is already linked to the same network. Avoids typing passkeys and pressing WPS buttons.
WiFi DirectProvides a wireless connection for local printing from a mobile device like a smartphone, even if the printer and smartphone are not joined to a home network.
PictBridgeThis feature allows direct printing (without the use of a computer) from any brand of digital camera to any brand of printer. It relies on a USB connection. More recently, Wireless PictBridge has appeared on some models.
Auto-duplex printingCan print automatically on both sides of the paper.
Automatic document feeder
Automatic document feederLets you automatically load multiple-page documents into an all-in-one printer for scanning or copying.
Auto-duplex scanningCan scan and copy automatically both sides of the original document.
Built-in faxFor an all-in-one printer, a built-in fax modem that lets you fax what you've scanned without the need for assistance from the computer's own communication hardware.
Individual color cartridges
Individual color cartridgesMost inkjets use a separate cartridge for each ink color. But some models instead have a tri-color cartridge that supplies three colors from one unit. Individual color cartridges allows you to individually replace only the color that runs out, rather than tossing out a tri-color cartridge that may have some ink left.
Refillable ink tank system
Refillable ink tank systemRefillable ink-tank inkjet printers dispense with pricey replacement cartridges in favor of refillable reservoirs replenished with a bottle of ink.
Flatbed design for scanning and copying
Flatbed design for scanning and copyingMost all-in-one printers have a glass scanning bed with a lid you can fully raise in order to scan books and other thick media as well as flat originals. Items scanned can also be faxed. But some models, usually portables, use a sheet-fed scanner which is trickier to use.
Can print if color empty
Can print if color emptyCan still print (usually in black and white only) if a color ink cartridge runs out. May require changing a setting, and leaving the empty cartridges installed. The printer may offer this option for a short time only. The option may not appear at all unless you've first installed the printer's full software package.
Swap black for photo ink
Swap black for photo inkThe photo ink for some inkjet printers comes in an extra cartridge. To use these photo inks, you must remove the black-ink cartridge and replace it with the photo-ink cartridge. To go back to printing text or graphics, you must do the reverse. This can get tedious. Models that hold all the inks simultaneously minimize the hassle.
Borderless photosThis feature lets you print photos that go edge-to-edge without a white border.
Auto-duplexingCan print automatically on both sides of the paper.
Memory-card readerIndicates whether the printer has a built-in memory-card reader. If so, this feature lets you print image files from a digital camera's memory card without using a computer. You can also transfer the files to a computer.
Water-resistant photosWhen printing on glossy photo paper, water-resistant ink will not run or smear if it gets wet.
LCD viewerPrinter has a built-in LCD screen for viewing and editing images from a memory card. The screen is small, usually only 1 to 3.5 inches, and editing capability is very limited.
Individual color tanks
Individual color tanksMost inkjet printers use a separate cartridge for each color. Others have tri-color cartridges with three colors in one. Individual color cartridges let you replace only the color that runs out rather than tossing a tri-color cartridge that may have some ink left.
Product typeModels are directed at specific segments of the consumer market. The SOHO or Small Office-Home Office type model is intended for higher-volume printing than the Personal type.
Printing methodIndicates which technology a printer uses to create an image onto paper or other media. Most printers use inkjet technology, printers intended primarily for text use laser technology.
Standard-sheet capacityHow many sheets of standard-thickness (20-lb.) paper can be stored in the printer's input tray.
HeightMeasured in inches, the height of printer when it is open and ready to use, with trays extended and paper in trays.
WidthMeasured in inches, the width of the printer when it is open and ready to print with paper loaded.
DepthMeasured in inches, the depth of printer when it is open and ready to use, trays extended and paper in trays, and allowing for rear connectors.
Text speed (ppm)
Text speed (ppm)Our measure of how fast the printer can print pages of monochrome text.
Text costThe ink-related cost of one page of black text.
Graphics costThe cost of printing one page of a colorful chart or web page, in cents.
Maximum paper size
Maximum paper sizeThe maximum size paper which the printer can accept for printing.
Maximum paper basis-weight
Maximum paper basis-weightAll printers can accept standard-thickness/stiffness paper, referred to as 20-lb. basis weight. But many accept thicker/stiffer paper. The basis weight actually corresponds to paper density, which affects thickness and stiffness.
PlatformWhich operating system(s) will support a given printer. Most printers can work with both Windows and the Macintosh, although models differ on which versions they require.
Windows, Mac OS
Number of cartridges
Number of cartridgesThe number of cartridges or tanks of ink or toner that the printer requires. Some printers which promote photo-printing may use more than 4 cartridges.
Number of colors
Number of colorsThe number of colors of ink or toner that the printer requires.
Ink cost/monthEstimated cost (in dollars) for ink or toner in a month of typical use, based on our tests and how our readers told us they print. For inkjets: 23 text pages, 9 graphics pages, 2.4 large photos, 3.6 small photos, and 3.5 photos on plain paper. For lasers: 62 text pages, 24 graphics pages, 1.7 large photos, 1.9 small photos, and 2.3 photos on plain paper. Photos cost the most, text documents the least, so your results may vary from these figures, but they are useful for comparing models.