Tag: A3 multifunction printers

Epson has an A3-capable EcoTank printer that ticks all the boxes

Article Epson EcoTank WorkForce ET-16500 Multifunction A3+ printer product picture courtesy of Epson Australia

Epson Launches First Double-Sided A3+ 4-In-1 Inkjet EcoTank Printer | PC World

From the horse’s mouth

Epson Australia

EcoTank WorkForce ET-16500 A3+ Multifunction Printer

Product Page

Press Release

My Comments

Epson have previously released a range of piezo inkjet printers that implement their own continuous-inking system. This feature, known as EcoTank, has large-capacity tanks installed on the side of the printer and you add more ink to the machine’s ink supply by topping up these tanks from bottles of ink that Epson makes available. Here, the idea is to do away with the need to frequently replace ink cartridges when they run out.

But now they have refreshed this product lineup with all but two of the low-end models being equipped with auto-duplex printing. They have now taken things further by releasing the ET-16500 EcoTank multifunction which prints both sides on A3, Ledger or Tabloid paper and scans both sides of an original that is of any of these paper sizes.

This printer, which sells in Australia for AUD$1599 also offers the expected multifunction abilities like copying or G3 PSTN colour fax functionality. It also supports Google Cloud Print and can work with the Epson Connect Web / mobile printing subsystem, with it connected to your home or small-business network using 802.11g/n Wi-Fi or Ethernet technology.

It can turn out print jobs at a rate of 18 pages per minute according to the ISO standard and has two 250-sheet trays to hold the paper.  As well, the inks and printing system that Epson use are intended to give a quality equivalent to most laser printers. Let’s not forget that the ink tanks in this model are ultra-high-capacity to allow for increased printing of A3 or similar paper sizes. Some of these features may tempt you to buy the printer and see it serve as your organisation’s small office-based printing press.

But there are certain questions regarding output-tray or ink-tank capacities along wiht the time to print both sides of a page which can call out the issue of having this machine serve as that small-run printing press. On the other hand, you could simply focus the Epson towards signage, short print runs and the like as part of your promotion strategy especially where it has the high-capacity ink tanks and the EcoTank continuous-inking system.

Product Review–Brother MFC-J6720DW A3 colour inkjet multifunction printer


I am reviewing the Brother MFC-6720DW A3 colour inkjet multifunction printer which is the latest in Brother’s A3-capable multifunction inkjet printers

The model I am reviewing is the second-tier model in Brother’s new A3 multifunction range with the Brother MFC-J6520DW economy model having only one paper tray and the top-shelf Brother MFC-J6920DW having single-pass duplex scanning and NFC / Wi-Fi Direct mobile connectivity

Brother MFC-J6720DW A3 inkjet multifunction printer

Print Scan Copy Fax /
Paper Trays Connections
Colour Colour A3 Colour Colour 2 x A3 USB 2.0
Piezoelectric Ink-jet 2400 dpi ID copy,
Book-optimised copy
Super G3 Ethernet, 802.11g/n Wi-Fi
Auto-duplex A3-capable ADF T.37 Internet faxing multi-purpose tray IPv6 dual-stack



Brother MFC-J6520DW: AUD$279 (Single paper tray)

Brother MFC-J6720DW: AUD$299 (Two paper trays)

Brother MFC-J6920DW: AUD$429 (Two paper trays, single-pass duplex scan, NFC support)

Inks and Toners

Standard High-Capacity Extra High Capacity
Price Pages Price Pages Price
Black AUD$43.79 600 AUD$54.95 2400
Cyan AUD$28.16 600 AUD$31.95 1200
Magenta AUD$28.16 600 AUD$31.95 1200
Yellow AUD$28.16 600 AUD$31.95 1200

It is also worth noting that the Brother LC-133 series ink cartridges, which are standard-capacity cartridges for these printers are compatible with most of Brother’s newly-released consumer and small-business inkjet printer range whether as standard cartridges for some models or high-capacity for others. This may allow you to buy and run different Brother inkjet printers from that range yet be able to buy the same lot of cartridges to replenish them which can be a bonus if your supplier does sell them in quantity at a cost-effective price.

The printer itself


Brother MFC-J6720DW A3 multifunction inkjet printer

Brother MFC-J6720DW loaded with documents

Like most of the recent Brother multifunction printers, the trend is to place the network and USB computer-connectivity sockets within the machine and have the machine open up in a clamshell manner to expose these sockets. But Brother also moved the telephony connections used for regular telephony-based faxing to this same area. This can confuse some users who are installing the printer for the first time or moving the printer to a newer location.

Other than that, this printer worked well when it came to setting it up. But Brother still needs to work on the computer software so it doesn’t time out and throw an error message if it can’t find the printer quickly enough or prefer to use the operating system to discover the hardware.

This printer, like the other Brother A3-capable inkjet multifunction printers uses a paper tray that extends to a large size for A3 or collapses for A4 and smaller paper. As well, you load the ink cartridges in a compartment that is at the front of the machine, moving away from the need to lift heavy lids to replace them. Personally, I would like the printer to identify if multiple new cartridges are being replaced at a time which can come in handy if you were doing a few large printing projects and you needed to replace a lot of cartridges.

Walk-up functions – can be started from printer’s control surface

I have done quite a few copying jobs such as some family trees for someone who lives with me and this has yielded high-quality copies although it doesn’t print to the absolute edge and can clip the original at the edge. As well, it “copies to memory” so that you can remove the original document before the copies are printed which can come in handy with multiple-copy copy jobs. Even the ID copy function worked properly with you having to keep the card in the same corner when you turn it over.

Like with most of the recent Brother printers, there could be an option for the printer to keep the same settings rather than timeout to default settings. This would make things easier if you were doing larger copy, scan or fax jobs where you have to spend some time organising the original documents to be worked with. Luckily there is the ability to “preset” common setups as shortcuts which can make this workflow quicker and easier.

For that matter, when you copy, fax or scan from the glass platen rather than the automatic document feeder, you have to position the original lengthways. This confused me initially due to using the Brother MFC-J4710DW which was the first to use landscape printing and required the original in “portrait” mode.

The fax functionality works both with the regular telephone, offering Super G3 with a best case of colour A3 or T.37 store-and-forward with monochrome A4 faxing. If the standard was extended, it could support JPEG colour faxing. The T.37 store-and-forward faxing function is available with a free firmware update from Brother’s Web site.

Like other recent Brother inkjet printers, these printers implement the Web Connect functionality which allows them to be used with a lot of hosted services like Dropbox and Facebook. This comes in to its own with the “download-to-print” functionality for photos or PDFs that these services can offer.

Computer functions

The software that Brother supplies with this printer and most of the other printers gives up too easily when it is searching for the device. It could use the host operating system’s hardware-discovery methods to find the printer.

As for printing, it can turn out most jobs quickly but you would have to set the print driver to the “best quality” if you want to turn out “presentation-grade” colour work.

The A3 functionality comes a long way for larger graphics work including most signage but use the “Booklet” printing with A3 and you turn out a double-sided four-page A4 booklet which could save you money or give you a desktop-publishing bonus.

For operation speed, it turns out most most business documents very quickly but takes a slightly longer time to turn out “best-quality” work. Even turning out the A4 booklet on A3 paper came out properly and quickly.

I have printed some test photos and noticed that this printer does work heavier on the yellow and turn out a darker image. There is still a bit of a redder flesh-tone in people’s faces and this may have an impact with turning out best-quality brochures. For a small-business inkjet printer, these don’t beat the previously-reviewed HP OfficeJet 8600a as a high-quality photo/brochure printer.

Limitations And Points Of Improvement

One area I would like to see improvement take place is with the software where the onus for discovering the printer is placed on Windows rather than the printer’s software.

These Brother printers like the MFC-J6720Dw could implement a straight-through paper path for their automatic document feeders, especially with machines that have the single-pass duplex scanner. This makes them easier to trust with documents that are on fragile paper. Similarly, they could benefit from increased flash memory or a dedicated SDXC card slot for “fax vault” functionality, caching of print queues and similar functionality.

Also a midrange Brother A3 multifunction printer could still implement A4 duplex scanning with A3 one-side scanning as has been achieved with the prior generation of Brother A3 multifunction printers such as tbe Brother MFC-J6910DW that I previously reviewed. This is while a premium model could still support the full-duplex operation for all paper sizes.

Similarly Brother could work on these printers and the rest of their business inkjet printer range to make them answer HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8600 multifunction printer when it comes to printing brochures, flyers and similar marketing collateral. They could achieve this by making the colours more vibrant in most printing modes especially with coated or gloss / matt paper and being able to handle multiple sheets of special-media paper whether in the manual-bypass tray or the paper drawer.

This is due to inkjet printing being material-flexible due to the absence of heat in the printing process. It would be highly relevant with the Brother A3 inkjet printer range because of that paper size appealing to noticeboard or shop-window use or to creation of A4 booklets when the printer is set up to print in “Booklet” mode on A3 paper.

Another way that Brother could “cut in” with their A3 printers woudl be to provide an A3 single-function printer that can answer a lot of the “wide-carriage” A3 inkjet printers offered by Canon and HP or a DCP-series A3 multifunction printer without fax abilities to come in to its own as a cost-effective A3 multifunction when A3 faxing is not on the agenda.

Conclusion and Placement Notes

Any of us who handle large documents regularly would find this latest range of Brother’s A3-capable multifunction printers earning their keep. For most of use, the Brother MFC-J6720DW would come in handy especially if we are also using it as the main printer. The MFC-J6520DW costs $20 cheaper but I would consider it a false economy due to having to switch paper when you want to print on a different paper size. The MFC-J6920DW, which costs significantly more, is for those of us who copy or scan a lot of double-sided documents or want the ability to work with Android-based mobile devices in a standalone manner.

You could easily partner one of these printers with Brother’s HL-4150CDN or HL-4570CDW colour laser printers or the cheaper HL-3150CDN or HL-3170CDW for a high-performance colour desktop-publishing setup for your small business or other organisation. This is where you can use the laser printer with laser-capable media for high print runs while you use these inkjet printers for smaller print runs, large A3 documents, double-sided single-sheet A5 flyers or A4 multi-page booklets on A3 paper and similar work.

Product Review–Brother MFC-J6910DW A3 multifunction printer


Previously, I reviewed Brother’s first A3 multifunction printer, the MFC-6490CW, which was one of the first multifunction-class printer that can turn out documents on this large paper size. Estate agents, architects and the like have been licking their lips at these machines because of the availability of a compact desktop multifunction printer that can print out those building plans on the sizes of paper they are accustomed to for these documents.

Since then, HP had introduced a single-tray A3-printing multifunction in the form of the OfficeJet 7500a but Brother have worked further on the idea of A3 printing in the small office which I had talked about in my industry interview with them. This has manifested in the latest run of A3 multifunction printers which the MFC-J6910DW that I am reviewing represents as the fully-equipped model.

There are cheaper versions of this model that neither support duplex scanning nor have a touchscreen LCD display. As well the cheapest model in the range, the MFC-J5910DW can only scan A4 pages where as the other single-tray unit, the MFC-J6510DW can scan A3 pages. The model just below this unit, the MFC-J6710DW has the two paper trays and can scan A3 pages. But they all can do things like print on both sides of A3 pages.

This machine is infact the printer that was used in Brother’s latest TV-commercial series about using A3 paper as a tool to “expand your business horizons”. This is to use the paper size to realise more impact with customers or business partners by benefiting from larger text or room for detail. It may be also worth looking at this article that I wrote on making more use of A3  and similar sizes in the office when you read this review.

North-American readers should think of Ledger paper when I mention A3 paper in this review because of the fact that the paper sizes are just about the same and this printer can scan and print on this paper size. It will also scan double-sided on Letter or Legal paper, which is similar in size to A4 paper.

Brother MFC-J6910DW A3 inkjet multifunction printer

Print Scan Copy Fax /
Paper Trays Connections
Colour Colour Colour Colour 2 x A3 USB 2.0
Piezo-action Ink-jet 2400dpi resolution ID copy
Optimised book copy,
Super G3 Multi-purpose tray Ethernet, 802.11g/n WPS Wi-Fi
Auto-duplex Single-pass duplex ADF – duplex for A4 onlyA3 scanning T.37 email-based faxing (requires free
download from Brother)
IPv6 ready



Recommended Retail Price: AUD$379


Standard High-Capacity
Price Pages Price Pages
Black $39.95 600 $53.95 2400
Cyan $27.00 600 $33.95 1200
Magenta $27.00 600 $33.95 1200
Yellow $27.00 600 $33.95 1200

The printer itself

Setup and Network Connectivity

Brother MFC-J6910DW A3 inkjet multifunction printer - data connections

Where to plug in the USB or Ethernet cable for wired connections

If you are connecting the Brother MFC-J6910DW printer to your computer or network using Ethernet or USB, you have to open the access lid and snake the cable through to sockets installed within the printer chassis. But the phone connections for the fax functionality; as well as the power connection are exposed connections on the left side of the printer. This can be very daunting for people used to a group of sockets on the back of the printer.

The printer works with wired and Wi-Fi networks and is future-proof with IPv6, as expected for a business printer. It does support expected Wi-Fi setup functions like WPS “one-touch” setup.

Walk-up functions

The ability to print directly from the memory card or a digital camera works properly but the paper reserve you can use is whatever is loaded in the upper tray or manual feed slot. I would like to see this improved by allowing one to select whichever paper tray to use or if they print using PictBridge, the printer checks both paper trays for the specified paper size and type.

It has the expected copy functions, with the ability to enlarge an A4 document to A3 which is commonly expected of A3 copying devices. This is done by setting the Enlarge function to 141% and setting the paper size to A3. The ID copy function is very tricky to operate for new users because you have to use the “N-in-1” option to set the ID copy for the job. As well users wouldn’t know where to place the identification document to be copied for each side of that document.

As far as copy fidelity goes, the copies come out slightly paler than the original. It also doesn’t use the memory to quickly scan subsequent pages using the automatic document feeder while the copies are being turned out.

The fax functionality supports Super G3 faxing with colour over regular phone lines as well as T.37-compliant fax over email. This IP-based “fax-over-email” functionality is limited to handling A4-sized monochrome documents. At the moment, this function is enabled through a free download program from Brother’s support Webpage for this unit.

Brother MFC-J6910DW A3 multifunction inkjet printer control panel

Control panel with touchscreen

This printer is equipped with a full-duplex automatic document feeder that scans both sides of the page at the same time, rather than reversing the paper over a roller to expose the other side for scanning. The main benefits that I have seen from this is that the documents are scanned very quickly and the ADF is more reliable because there isn’t any extra paper handling involved. This feature is only avaliable for A4 or smaller documents.

Computer functions

I would prefer that you download the latest driver software for your computer’s operating system from Brother’s Website for this printer rather than install the software that comes on the supplied CDs; as I have preferred when new computer hardware is installed. This is more so with this unit because when I installed the driver software from the CDs on to my Windows 7 PC, there was a weird error message towards the end of the install routine and the driver wasn’t in place.

During printing, the software runs very lean and isn’t demanding on your computer’s resources. Even if you start a scan job from the MFC-J6910DW’s control panel, there isn’t much demand on the computer for the necessary scan monitor software. For that matter, a duplex scan job had both pages on the hard disk simultaneously. As well, you can set the printer up to scan to network (or Internet) storage resources as long using standard file-transfer protocols.

The Brother print driver’s user interface still has that excellent “at-a-glance” view of the settings that you have specified for that print job. This is something that I have seen consistently with all of Brother’s printers since I reviewed the HL-4150CDN colour laser printer.

Use with Brother iPrint&Scan (Android)

If you use the Brother MFC-J6910DN with the Brother iPrint&Scan mobile-printing app, you can print PDFs and photos from your device. It can accept A3 print jobs if the document is a PDF.

But, as I have seen from my Android copy of this program, the program’s current version doesn’t support printing of photos on A3 paper, nor does it support duplex and booklet printing for PDF documents. On the other hand, this app can scan both sides of a document that passes through the duplex automatic document feeder.

Paper and ink handling

Brother MFC-J6910DW ink cartridges

Ink cartridges loaded up front on this printer

This Brother MFC-J6910DW multifunction printer, like the other Brother inkjet printers and the HP OfficeJet 8500a Plus allows you to change the ink cartridges by opening a door on the front rather than lifting a heavy scanner lid. But because the printer, like other Brother and Epson inkjet printers uses piezoelectric inkjet technology, you have to make sure you  have a spare cartridge on hand when it lets you know it is low on ink for that cartridge and be ready to replace the cartridge when the ink volume looks very low. This is to avoid a loss of print quality due to airlocks in the ink system.

It can handle heavy print runs, including auto-duplex print runs, without failing. The auto-duplex function works to the edge for A4 and lower paper sizes but requires a margin at the top and bottom of an A3 document. This can be of concern when you use this function to print out A4-size booklets on A3, which it still can do well.

I would like to see Brother add some improvements concerning the ability to use the lower tray for photo-paper or poster-print jobs. Similarly there could be the ability to load the manual feed tray at the back with up to ten sheets of paper and have that considered as a separate paper source. This can improve the workflow for multi-page photo prints or poster-print jobs.

Print quality

The Brother MFC-J6910DW yields very sharp text from regular document print jobs, but some spot colours don’t come out strong on plain paper. I even printed the PDF file of the London Tube and Rail Map on A3 as a test to assess its prowess with complicated maps, plans and diagrams and it did yield a crisp image with legible station-name text. This is because a lot of users who buy this printer will be making it turn out those floor plans, maps and similar diagrams on to big sheets of A3 or Ledger paper as part of their livelihood.

Brother MFC-J6910DW A3 inkjet multifunction with A3 pages

This unti does scan and print A3 pages

When you print photos on this Brother printer, the pictures yield a darker contrast and don’t exhibit strong colour saturation. If the picture is of a person, the flesh tones don’t come out very pale.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

The Brother MFC-J6910DN has could benefit from improved advanced-copy functions like an easy-to-use ID-copy function with marked out “master areas” for this function on the edge of the scanning glass. It could also benefit from a user interface that can support “one-touch-copy” functions for particular common tasks like A4-A3 enlargement, A3-A4 reduction or ID copy.

As I have said before, this printer can benefit from flexible paper handling options like the use of both trays for special-printing jobs or the ability to feed multiple sheets of paper in the manual feed slot on the back of the unit.

People who have used HP and Canon printers may find that the Brother MFC-J6910DW, like other Brother printers, misses out on “stationery-cupboard-in-a-box” printing functionality like “Quick Forms”. This is where the printer can print out paper like checklists, calendars, ruled notepaper or graph paper by you operating functions on the control panel. Some of us may consider it an unnecessary frill but it can come in handy if you need ruled paper at a moment’s notice.

This Brother A3 printer, like nearly all home, SOHO and small-business printers, could benefit from being able to use commonly-available SD cards as upgradable high-capacity system memory. Here this could allow for quick fail-safe printing, faxing and copying from these devices, with the ability to upgrade the memory for those devices that have higher workloads. It is also more relevant with this printer as it handles A3-size documents which will typically be graphics-rich.

Conclusion and Placement Notes

This current series of Brother A3 multifunction printers has what it takes to bridge the A3 paper size to the multifunction printer. I would recommend the Brother MFC-J5910DW as a general office printer for work environments that are cutting their teeth on the large paper sizes. An example of this is the cafe owner who is wanting to get started with double-sided A3 “specials lists” that they attach to those plate-glass windows.

The MFC-J6510DW would work well as a complementary A3 scan-copy-print “specialist” printer alongside that colour-laser multifunction printer which is serving as your A4 document workhorse.

But I would specify the Brother MFC-J6910DW as an “all-round” document workhorse for people who have fully cottoned on to A3. I would even team this with the Brother HL-4150CDN colour laser printer if you want a “two-box” full print solution for quickly turning out short-order flyers and other high-volume short-order A4 work. The less-expensive MFC-J6710DW could also answer the “all-round” document workhorse if you are willing to forego A4 duplex scanning or a nice touchscreen.

Considering printing on A3 in the office

Note for North-American readers: The paper size I am talking about here is the A3 paper size which will be roughly equivalent in purpose and size to the large “Ledger” paper. Printers capable of printing on the A3 paper size will be capable of printing on the “Ledger” paper size.

We are about to see the printer manufactures make cost-effective network-enabled printers including multifunction units that print on A3 paper for use by small and medium businesses. Some of the manufacturers are positioning these machines at the graphic-arts industries but a few manufacturers, namely Hewlett-Packard and Brother, are pitching most of these machines, especially their entry-level A3 machines, at the general office space in a small or medium business.

Businesses and organisations of this calibre may resist the idea of using A3 in the general office space due to machine costs but there are many valid reasons for using this paper size in this space.

Why consider A3 in the office

General office life

The A3 paper size can come in to its own with spreadsheets and similar information that is presented for meeting participants to see during the meeting. It can also make things easier when it comes to looking over a large spreadsheet. Sometimes, it can be easy to use the computer to prepare a table with some data on to the A3 sheet but create the space for handwritten information like newer data or anciliary notes taken during the meeting.

Similarly, graphic works like graphs, charts and diagrams have more impact once they are printed on an A3 sheet. As well, if the chart has more detail it benefits from the larger paper size because people can read the detail more easily.

As well, if you turn out signs using your computer and its word-processor or desktop-publishing software, the larger paper size of A3 can allow you to make signs with more impact. Again this is because of the ability to use larger fonts and make best use of graphics and stylised text.

Promoting your organisation

A3 sign used to promote an event

A sign written on A3 paper to promote a community event in a cafe

Most organisations can benefit from A3 as a promotional tool because of its large size. They could make their own signage that is more eye-catching even when seen from a distance. As well, they can make A4 booklets with the help of their desktop-publishing software or even just the printer’s driver. This can be made more easier if the printer has auto-duplex capabilities that can work on both sides of A3 sheets.


Real-estate agents can use the A3 paper size for printing out building plans that they receive so that they themselves and their customers can read the plans easily.

They can offer “premium treatment” on the shop window for their premium campaigns by using A3 window cards for properties that they sell using these campaigns. This will then attract more customer interest from street traffic for these properties. As well, most of the real-estate agents become involved in community-driven promotion efforts and they could put their A3-capable printers to good use for the community.

Food and Beverage

A restaurant, cafe, bar or takeaway outlet can make very good use of the A3 paper size with their promotion efforts as mentioned during my interview with Heidi Webster from Brother. For example, the small outlets could promote those food or drink specials, new menu items or special events on their walls or windows just like the “big boys”. They can also make use of the paper size to produce easier-to-read menus that are stuck on their walls and windows.

Schools, Churches and Similar Organisations

Organisations that undertake educational activities can benefit from printing to A3 when they make their learning aids. They can take advantage of using larger text and make best use of stylised text and graphics in order to make the posters more attractive and convey the message more effectively. There is also room for the organisation to insert more detail yet provide for readability as illustrated above.

If these organisations host events, they can make the A3 paper size come in handy with signage that is to do with the event. This is more so with the timetables and schedules that need to be published or exhibited through the event. They can benefit from A3 due to being able to include more information or presenting the information in a larger typeface so more people are able to read it comfortably.

For that matter, a few years after I published this article, I talked with a church pastor who owned the Brother MFC-J5720DW multifunction printer which has A3 print abilities shortly after I published the review of that printer on this site. He and I talked about how this printer, kept at his home office at the manse, earned its keep when it came to printing material destined for the church’s noticeboard.

How to go about it

Dedicated A3-capable printer

A dedicated A3-capable printer may suit your needs better if you have an A4-capable printer that you use for most of your printing tasks. These come in two forms: a wide-carriage inkjet printer or a colour laser printer which can print on A3 or A4.

HP OfficeJet 7000 wide-format printer

HP OfficeJet 7000 wide-format printer

The former printer typically looks like a regular inkjet printer that is “stretched out” lengthways and has a wider carriage that accommodates the paper. Most of these are pitched at photographers and graphics-design artists and cheaper versions often are designed for direct connection. They typically use photo-optimised inks and these can be expensive to buy especially for office-based use. An exception to this rule is the Hewlett-Packard OfficeJet 7000 which I reviewed previously. This uses the OfficeJet inks which have higher capacity and are cheaper to run; as well as it being designed to work with a network.

The latter printer type is simply a network-enabled colour laser printer that has the ability to print A3 paper. Typically these machines will have two or more paper drawers which can be set up to house any size paper up to A3. They are typically positioned as mid-range colour laser printers that are pitched at larger businesses and therefore have a longer duty cycle. They can be good if you are considering the benefits of colour laser printing and A3 printing.

A3-capable multifunction printer

Another way to go would be to purchase an A3-capable multifunction printer which has integrated scanning, copying, faxing (with some machines) as well as printing. Previously this class of machine was very expensive and only available to large businesses in a similar manner to an office copier.

Brother MFC-6490CW A3 inkjet multifunction printer

Brother MFC-6490CW A3 inkjet multifunction printer

Now Brother have introduced compact A3-capable inkjet multifunction printers like the MFC-6490CW which I have reviewed on this site. They have been pitched at prices most small businesses can afford but there are cheaper varieties that can only scan up to A4 paper size. These units may be enough for the general office space because most documents that exist there are typically written on A4 or smaller paper. The machines that have A3 scanners may work better for graphics-arts industries as well as anyone who has anything to do with the building industry where there is a likelihood of handling building plans.

Since this article was produced, Brother, Epson and HP have competed with each other by offering at least one multifunction inkjet printer model in their small-business product range that can at least print on A3. Brother even took this concept further through the use of compact A4 multifunction printers which implement landscape printing that has the printhead work along the long edge of the paper. These printers do support A3 printing mostly through the user passing A3 paper through the manual bypass slot on the back but, in the case of newer two-tray variants like the MFC-J5720Dw, use a tray that can convert to holding A3 paper.

I would recommend use of these machines as replacements for existing multifunction “document-centre” printers rather than as secondary units. This is more so with home offices or small offices and shops; or bigger businesses who implement a large multifunction machine the size of an office copier can use these desktop printers as “private” machines that serve a particular office or suite.


I would still encourage an established small or medium business or organisation to consider the A3 paper size as part of their printing arsenal. This is especially when wanting to use it as a paper-based promotional or public-relations tool.

This article, originally published in November 2010, has been updated to reflect further experience with newer A3-capable multifunction printers both personally through the use of review-sample equipment and with another user who read my review of one of these printers.