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Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw review

  • Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw
  • Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw
  • Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw
  • Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw Duplex By Default
  • Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw Scan Error Dialog
  • Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw Advanced Mode Preview


A smart mono laser MFP for the small office, but it could be cheaper to run

Review Date: 24 Dec 2012

Price when reviewed: £223

Buy it now for: £249
(see more store prices)


Reviewed By: Simon Handby

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

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.

Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw

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.

Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw

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.

Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw

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.

Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw Duplex By Default
The MF4890dw prints to both sides of the page by default. If you're feeling paper-rich, switch duplex off from the driver's Finishing tab

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.

Canon i-Sensys MF4890dw Advanced Mode Preview
Canon's TWAIN scan interface, shown here in Advanced Mode, is one of the best

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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