Canon ImageClass MP4690 review: Canon ImageClass MP4690

The send/fax button initiates standard faxes and also sends files to e-mail addresses or file servers (to send a file to a file server, you must preprogram the address into the printer's address book). The control panel includes eight one-touch dial keys, and you can program an additional 192 coded dials, including groups (of up to 199 numbers). Incoming faxes can be stored in memory, and you can choose to print or delete them. You also can forward received faxes, but the machine lacks a way to block junk faxes. Finally, using your PC, you also can send PC faxes.

The MF4690 has a couple of other features that make it a compelling work-group machine. You can set up the machine to require a user or departmental ID to restrict who can use the machine. Also, if you set up the printer on the network, you can avail yourself of the remote user interface where you can track user permission and job status, among other things.

Performance
The Canon ImageClass MF4690 lagged behind its competition with black prints, but outpaced it with grayscale scans and copies. It printed black text at a rate of 14.70ppm and black graphics at a rate of 14.51 pages per minute (ppm). The Lexmark X342n scored 17.13ppm and 18.48ppm for those tasks, respectively, and the Dell 1815dn scored 17.75ppm and 20.01ppm, respectively. However, the MF4690 more than doubled the grayscale scan speeds of both of those multifunctions with its score of 9.77ppm. Color scans were much slower at 2.37ppm. The Canon edged its competitors out with copies, turning in a score of 15.46ppm using the ADF.

CNET Labs' color laser multifunction speed tests (pages per minute)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Copy  
Grayscale scan  
Color scan  
Black graphics  
Black text  
Dell 1815dn
12.29 
4.85 
4.86 
20.01 
17.75 
Lexmark X342n
13.19 
4.12 
3.87 
18.48 
17.13 
Canon ImageClass MF4690
15.46 
9.77 
2.37 
14.51 
14.7 

The quality text print looked good overall: sharp characters and nice, deep black. Closer inspection revealed minor flaws, however. The same goes for the grayscale graphics print. At first glance, it looked great, but a closer look showed some cross-hatching and slight jaggedness in what should be smooth curves. Overall, though, the print quality is acceptable for a small office or work group.

Grayscale scans were overly dark, with severe compression in the dark end of the grayscale. We also noticed lost details in the shadows of a photo element. On the other hand, the color scan showed excellent color reproduction. Our only issue was a slight softness to the scan. We prefer a sharper look.

CNET Labs' color laser multifunction quality
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Grayscale scan  
Color scan  
Graphics  
Text  
Dell 1815dn
Good 
Fair 
Fair 
Excellent 
Lexmark X342n
Good 
Good 
Good 
Good 
Canon ImageClass MF4690
Fair 
Good 
Good 
Good 

Service and support
Canon backs the ImageClass MF4690 with a standard one-year warranty, though you can pay to extend the warranty. Toll-free phone support is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. You also can fill out a Web form to send an e-mail to a support technician if your question isn't pressing. Canon's site provides driver/software downloads, firmware updates, a knowledgebase, and FAQs, though the support page for this particular product was blank at the time of this writing.

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