Brother’s new INKvestment printer comes with enough ink to last 2 years

Epson does it with refillable ink tanks, while HP offers a subscription program. We don’t know what Canon’s move will be, but Brother has announced its solution to the challenge of buying ink: just put more of it in the box. The company is introducing two new multifunction printers that use a new high-yield cartridge, with one model claiming you won’t need to replace the cartridges for two years.

The devices, in the new INKvestment series, don’t offer anything new in terms of printer technology. The MFC-J985DW and MFC-J985DW XL color inkjet printers are based on existing Brother printers, which we’ve found to be some of the best available. Instead, the INKvestment printers use higher-yield ink tanks that produce 2,400 pages in black-and-white and 1,200 pages in color. When it comes time to replace those cartridges, the black color inks cost $24 and $15, respectively.

According to Eric Dahl, Brother’s director of marketing for Inkjet and SOHO Laser Products division, the company is attacking the cost-per-page story by charging less per cartridge. Based on Brother’s numbers, the costs for INKvestment break down to 1 cent for black and 5 cents for color, while traditional inkjets – Brother’s printers – average around 2-3 cents for black. And, if ink is cheap enough to replace, users are less likely to rely on third-party options.

brother-inkvestment-4

The new printers target those who print a lot of documents, namely small business or home office users (Brother’s main demographic), but we can also see large households with lots of school kids benefiting. According to a Brother survey of 509 users, nearly half of home offices print about 200 jobs per month. Users who don’t print as often can purchase traditional, cheaper-to-buy (but costlier-to-maintain) models.

Where it will cost you is in the upfront purchase price of the machine. The J985DW is priced at $199 – not outrageous, but a slight premium over the entry-level WorkSmart-series machine it’s based on. In comparison, Epson’s EcoTank uses the same concept (albeit with ink tanks you refill), but its machines cost more.

A second model, the J985DW XL ($299), is essentially the same machine. However, this one comes with three sets of cartridges (12 total), which provides 7,200 pages in black and 3,600 in color – up to two years. Keep in mind, after you’ve exhausted the ink after two years, you’d have to pay more to achieve another two years, which, based on Brother’s MSRP, is $120.

Like most inkjet all-in-ones, the new machines can print, copy, scan, and fax. Speed is rated at 12 black and 10 color, which is good for this type of printer. There is a 2.7-inch touchscreen to handle functions, and a paper tray to fit 100 sheets (a bit limited if you’re a super-heavy-duty user). The printer also supports mobile printing and cloud-based printing.

Brother’s approach reminds us of Kodak’s short-lived printers, which touted cheap ink. However, Dahl told us that there’s no decrease in the ink quality – INKvestment inks are equal to the ones used in standard Brother ink cartridges. While HP’s subscription plan focuses on convenience, Dahl said that people don’t really hate buying cartridges; it’s the price that turns people off (Brother has partnered with Amazon for easy ink reordering through the Dash program, but these printers are not enabled). And unlike Epson, you’re not pouring any ink, but Epson’s EcoTank models offer even greater yields from one set of ink. It’s a bit of a marketing strategy, as high-yield cartridges aren’t a new concept, but it’s what Brother is going with.

Both printers are available online now, but will go on sale in stores, in July.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

The design still says retro, but Fujifilm's X-T3 is all about the future

If the X-T2 brought Fujifilm into the modern era, the X-T3 is focused on the future. With a new sensor and processor, completely revamped autofocus, and vastly upgraded video, it's the new APS-C camera to beat.
Photography

Photography News: Raw edits on iPad and an A.I. research lab for PicsArt

In this week's photography news, Canon launched an iPad app that allows for RAW edits on the go. Popular mobile editing app PicsArt now has a research lab dedicated entirely to A.I.-powered tools.
Deals

Save up to $1,000 with the best smartphone deals for October 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $1,000.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
News

Kodak’s ‘Digitizing Box’ service saves precious memories stuck on old media

If you've been meaning to convert your old family photos, videotapes, films, and audio recordings to digital but never seem to get around to it, then a new service from Kodak may prompt you to add it to your "to-do" list again.
Photography

You can finally throw away your PC; Photoshop is coming to the iPad

A full version of Photoshop is coming to the iPad -- and soon, other tablets, as well. Adobe also launched several new features for Photoshop and Lightroom, including a new Content-Aware Fill tool.
Photography

Adobe’s Premiere Rush is a video-editing app designed for social media projects

At Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe unveiled updates across the board for all of its Creative Cloud apps, from the release of Premiere Rush CC, a social-focused video editor, to Project Gemini, a digital drawing and painting tool.
Photography

Sony crammed 28x zoom, 4K into a $450 camera that weighs as much as a smartphone

The Sony HX99 is a tiny compact camera that mixes 4K and fast burst speeds with a 28x optical zoom. The travel zoom camera upgrades the processor over the earlier model for better video and super-long-burst captures.
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.
Photography

Remove photo bombs, other unwanted objects with Photoshop’s new Content-Aware Fill

Photoshop's newest A.I-powered tool helps remove objects or fill in gaps for a distraction-free photo in the new Adobe Photoshop CC 2019. Here's how to remove an object in Photoshop using the new Content-Aware Fill.
Photography

Adobe Premiere Rush CC is the cloud-based video editing app you've been waiting for

On stage at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe announced its cloud-centric, social video-editing application, Adobe Premiere Rush CC. We took some time to put it through its paces to see what it offers, how it works, and what's missing.
Photography

Adobe MAX 2018: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.
Computing

Adobe’s craziest new tools animate photos, convert recordings to music in a click

Adobe shared a glimpse behind the scenes at what's next and the Creative Cloud future is filled with crazy A.I.-powered tools, moving stills, and animation reacting to real-time tweets.