Brother DCP T500W Ink Tank color Inkjet printer Review

Brother DCP T500W has everything you could ask for in a household/ affordable small office printer. But the print quality isn’t top notch.

  • Review
  • Specification


Every household dreams of having a color printer that can print “so many in so little”, do it wonderfully and from any part of the house. In this age, wireless capability is as necessary as the black ink. Tablets or smartphones are the devices being majorly used for everything that a computer was 5 years ago– mail, information access, reading or projects. Combine that with an ink tank system that can be replenished by the user from bottles of genuine ink, sold by the company itself and it looks like a dream come true. The Brother DCP- T500W is one such multifunction printer that can print, scan and copy up to A4 size documents without attaching any cables to it. It is a Continuous Ink-Supply System (CISS) based printer with wireless connectivity built-in to handle jobs remotely. At Rs 10,359 it is one of the cheapest printers based on user-refillable ink system to use Wireless network. But how well it can perform? CISS based printers have gathered traction amid uncertainties to its success; and then there are competitors – a whole lineup from Epson and Canon among others to face. Here are some subtle insights. Deign and Ink Tank System

Epson DCP T500W has a usual Brother design with a few tweaks to enhance the utility of its controls. But it’s not without some common flaws that it shares with its kin. Since the printer works on a CISS system, there would be ink tanks. And instead of attaching them to the side, like Epson does, it fits them well within the printer chassis (at front). This saves a lot of space and zeroes any chances of damaging the tank assembly while you’re moving the printer. At front, the tanks are hid behind a small, vertically moving door, thorough which the ink levels are “supposedly” visible. Within, individual ink slots (four of them) are capped by a rubber lid secured to the printer body. I discuss more about refilling them under the next subhead.
Another reason why Brother DCP T500W feels so compact is the absence of ADF tray over the scanner. The scanner rests on a scanner assembly that can be lifted to reach the inner bay to clear paper jams service tracks. But it’s light and can be lifted easily, apart from cutting down overall size of printer. The scanner lid is connected through a movable joint and auto adjusts when scanning/copying a book. Part of an advanced Brother series, the printer still uses a big control panel with buttons and a tiny Screen at front. After HP, a few companies have started using touchscreen based panels that are much easier to use. Ironically, T500W has interchangeable panel tops for non-English users, where touchscreen based OEMs would just download a new firmware. The changeable panel tops feels loose as a result and I am skeptical of their availability. Anyways, the buttons are tactile, spaciously spread out; and the printer isn’t short of basic features.
Coming to the paper handling mechanism, it is the worst affected part of the printer design. There are two aspects to it – adding of paper to tray, and picking up of paper from the tray, for printing. The output tray serves as lid to the main (input) tray. With the tray inserted, there is no way you can add paper unless you pull it out, partially or rather fully, if the page is of a different size/type, and the lid lifted (output tray) to access the input bay. You can’t help but frown if the most accessed part of the printer is a chore to access, but this becomes a pain mainly due to the second aspect.
The paper lifting mechanism of Epson DCP T500W doesn’t work well. Pages with two different thicknesses can’t be kept together; glossy pages aren’t lifted at once, and never lifted if it’s just a single sheet. Many a times, printer would lift multiple pages at once, and you left to improvise by keeping rough pages beneath to add support. Among missing things, I really wanted automatic two-sided printing to be this machine. HP takes a lead in all these features at this price with its
This is where I get reluctant with the CISS system and if I were to buy it for business/ homework projects purposes, I would rather avoid. Unless bulk color printing with average quality is what you are looking for, T500W is difficult to include in the list. Print Speed

We weren’t impressed with T500W’s printing speeds either. Checkout the print time for various paper and document types, listed in the table below.
Document Type (Single side , over 50% print area) Time Taken
Word document (A4, black) 58s
Word document with image (A4, Color) 70s
Single side PDF document (A4, black, small image) 107s
Photo (4×6) 2m 34s
Photo – Borderless A4 7m 56s
Wireless Printing

As pointed out before, wireless printing combined with the continuous ink system can help T500W gain user base. The printer has a strong reception of wireless networks and we were surprised to see the kind of range and reliability it keeps. Brother also has a very user friendly app for it on iTunes, Play Store or Microsoft store. You need to connect the printer to a wireless network first and a device connected to the same network can then communicate with the printer through the app. The printer doesn’t support Wi-Fi Direct, which would have eliminated the need for a wireless router. Also, since it doesn’t connect to the internet, cloud printing isn’t supported, i.e. you can’t print from outside of your home network (unless a live server is in between). The iPrint&Scan app, as the name says, can be used to print from a smart device or scan documents to it with a Brother printer. The app isn’t very light, but has got smooth and simple interface to deal with the printer. You can select paper type and size among other information as shown in the screen grab. It can also print mails and webpages opened in the app itself. Compared to the PC interface, there are some limitations to the app too. Like it can’t print two photos (4×7 prints) on one A4 size sheet, cannot show ink levels and doesn’t notify when printing completes. Final Verdict

Brother DCP-T500W surely enjoys the inherent advantages of a CISS system, drastically bringing down printing costs; without having any extra protrusions of ink boxes on its body. While network capability makes it “ready for workgroups”, the Wi-Fi feature (wireless router needed) adds freedom to print from mobile platform as well. You can print borderless photos, among other documents, directly from your smartphone and with a four ink system the quality is expected to be great. But print quality isn’t the best ink tank printers can actually attain. Text documents, in particular lack crisp outlines and heavy texture you would expect from a printer of this price group. Color prints, though accurate in color and perfectly fine in resolution, are a few shades darker than what they appear on screen. Moreover, its paper lifting mechanism and fussy trays tested our patience enough to shy away from recommending this. If you are hell-bent on saving ink costs we suggest you take a look at its competitors, CISS models from Epson or Canon.

Model Number

Printer Type

Printer Type
Ink Jet Printer

Home / Office
Home Printer

Color / Black and White
Black and White Printer

Print, Scan, Copy, Wireless Network, Mobile Print

Paper Size
A4, LTR, LGL, EXE, A5, A6, Photo (102 x 152mm / 4” x 6”),

Paper Handling

Input Tray
100 Page

Output Tray
50 Page

System Requirements

Windows: XP / XP x64 / Vista / 7 / 8 / 8.1

Mac: OS X v10.7.5/v10.8.x/v10.9.x

Print speed




8.3 Kg

1-Line LCD Display

Automatic paper sensor

64 MB


1 Year