Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw review
Canon's i-Sensys MF4890dw is a compact multifunction printer (MFP) aimed at home and small offices. It isn’t the cheapest printer of its type, but it's more highly specified than entry-level rivals, and lets you print, scan, copy documents and send faxes. It has a 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF) for multiple-page scans or faxes, and Fast Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections make it easy to network.
This MFP prints on both sides of a sheet of paper (duplex) and, unusually, is also capable of duplex scans, faxes and copies. This helps produce professional results and ought to save quite a bit of paper. Unfortunately, you might have to use any money saved to fund the printer's running costs; when its 1,000-page starter cartridge runs out, 2,100-page replacements cost around 2.1p per page, which is a little higher than we'd like in a device at this price.
As far as mono laser MFPs go, this is a great looking device, with a simple design showing elements of flair. It feels well made, too. Its articulated paper tray folds neatly into place, and the various hinges, lids and panels all move and latch with a bit of finesse. Sadly, we weren't impressed with the paper output tray because its stopper rotates out of the front and is too narrow to support the front edge of printed pages fully, allowing them to curl.
We also found the control panel somewhat daunting. Although it can be tilted to the ideal angle, it's festooned with 42 buttons, with the functions of some not immediately obvious. The settings menu, for example, hides behind an icon that looks a little like a stylised head containing a star, which isn't an icon we've seen before.
In most other respects, this is a great device. It's a rapid printer, reaching almost 24 pages per minute on our text test and nearly 22ppm when printing graphics, and the results from both were very good. Prints were crisp, with a uniform sheen from the toner and little sign of banding or obvious dithering. Only in the darkest region of some photos and graphics did the results tend to get too dark and lose detail. Photocopies were excellent and extremely rapid, with 10 mono pages taking just 36 seconds.
Scans were sharp and detailed enough for office purposes, although the colour accuracy of our photo test print wasn’t the best we've seen from Canon. Sadly, we didn’t like the noise produced by the moving scanner head. At low resolutions it was harsh, while slower scans at the maximum 600 dots per inch (dpi) were positively grating. The print mechanism was a little shrill, too, also producing one significant clunk with each page that it picked.
In time we'd probably learn to live with this MFP's minor irritations and enjoy it for the attractive, highly specified and strong performer that it is, but it’s high running costs mean we could never love it. Anyone printing in reasonable volumes would be better served by the Xerox WorkCentre 3315.
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