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Canon ImageClass MF3110 review: Canon ImageClass MF3110

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MSRP: $495.00

The Good Solid design; easy to use; helpful software; zippy and decent prints; low price.

The Bad For Windows only; weak scans; no automatic document feeder; no fax; lacks networkability.

The Bottom Line Step right up to the Canon ImageClass MF3110 for swift laser prints and scans but don't expect it to run your office.

Visit for details.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8
  • Support 7


Canon thoughtfully designed the Canon ImageClass MF3110 for efficient use as a walk-up, monochrome copier and a personal desktop printer and scanner. But don't let its numeric keypad fool you; this laser printer, scanner, and copier doesn't include a fax machine. Rather than faxing, those control-panel numbers let you choose the number of pages or the sizes to print and copy. This multifunction machine also lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF), so you can't quickly copy multiple-page documents--and it won't make decaf, low-fat, no-foam lattes either. But maybe that's expecting too much, considering that it does a good job at most of its tasks for only $249 (as of our review date). True enough, the MF3110's lack of an ADF makes scanning or copying more than a single-page document laborious, so if you're about to make copies of your dissertation, you should look at the Brother DCP-8040 instead. And if you need standalone faxes and professional-looking scans, you're better off with the Dell 1600n. But if your faxing options are covered elsewhere and you need a laser printer and a flatbed scanner with helpful software for manipulating documents, the Canon MF3110 will do the trick. If you're tired of multipurpose printers that resemble robotic mushrooms or boxy bread machines, you'll find the clean design of the Canon ImageClass MF3110 refreshing. Neither square nor top-heavy, the round-edged MF3110 stands 14.5 inches tall, 18.0 inches wide, and more than 18.0 inches deep, weighing 26.5 pounds with the toner installed. The matte-finish, midnight blue-plastic scanner and control panel on top are smooth to the touch and don't show fingerprint smudges. Silver-plastic trim borders the control panel.

The MF3110 features a smartly designed control panel with large, clearly labeled buttons that seamlessly integrate scanning, printing, and copying commands. A numeric keypad on the right-hand side of the panel sits next to the Stop/Reset and Start buttons as well as the Energy Saver indicator. To keep your energy bill low, you can program the MF3110 to enter Energy Saver mode after between 3 and 30 minutes of inactivity. A two-line, 40-character LCD panel in the center of the control panel is matched with an intuitive menu and two buttons for scrolling. The buttons are marked with arrows and plus-and-minus icons to keep you headed in the right direction. Two large, round, green buttons left of the panel's center light up to indicate scanning or copying mode. A vertical line of four blue buttons helps you choose image size, exposure, and collating options, select quality for copies and prints, and print two documents on one side of a page. An LED flashes red to indicate a paper jam or green to signal that the machine is copying or storing a job in memory. When the main paper tray is empty, the upper half of the green LED flashes an alarming red.

Adding paper to the MF3110's main paper tray is easy, as is the rest of the printer's setup, in part because this machine lacks complicated functions such as duplexing or networking. Canon even includes a USB cable for its up-to-date USB 2.0 port--a rare and generous gesture, unless you were hoping for an old-school parallel-port connection, which is not included.

The MF3110's drivers are compatible only with four versions of Windows: 98, Me, 2000, and XP--no Mac or Linux software here. The drivers and the included software, ScanSoft OmniPage SE for optical character recognition (OCR) and Presto PageManager for scanned-document management, install smoothly. Once that's done, the MF3110 is ready to work. For software questions, you'll have to consult the included CD-ROM software guide or the more thorough printed guide.

Remember that the Canon ImageClass MF3110 is a combination laser printer, scanner, and copier. It doesn't fax; it can't automatically copy multiple-page documents; it's not network ready; and--again--it won't make coffee. But you knew that last one.

The MF3110's laser engine prints at up to 1,200x600dpi, and the print drivers contain a wealth of printing options, including poster printing and n-up printing, which squeezes multiple pages onto a single sheet of paper. The printer also features an Edit and Preview mode that takes the print job to the Canon Page Composer dialog box for editing and proofing, selecting binding options, creating watermarks, and setting print quality.

As a flatbed scanner, the MF3110 accepts grayscale or color documents up to letter--but not legal--size. To get an extra inch and a quarter more space when scanning, you can select Full Platen mode for 8.75x12-inch documents. You can slide up the scanner lid to accommodate thick items such as magazines and books and even remove the lid to fit wide or bulky objects.

Scanning with the MF3110 is simple, yet this machine also offers sophisticated drivers and an array of software. You start the scanning process by placing your document on the glass and pressing the Scan and Start buttons on the control panel. This launches a window on your desktop that lists programs you can choose to manipulate your scanned images. At this point, Canon recommends that you select MF ToolBox, which is a good place to start because it provides a variety of further options, such as editing an OCR scan or saving a scan to your e-mail.

From the MF Toolbox, you can scan and save to your e-mail or hard drive or to the application of your choice; alternately, you can scan and save the image as a PDF. You can also preset scanning options so that the machine will automatically save images where you use them the most, such as a folder on your hard drive. Likewise, if you found that you were always scanning to e-mail, you could program the control panel's Start button to do this automatically.

Making copies with the Canon MF3110 is straightforward, as long as you don't mind having to scan each page individually due to the lack of an ADF--a hassle for any handout-happy college professor. The good news? You can make up to 99 copies of each page, although you'll have to remove paper from the output tray after every 60 sheets.

The Canon MF3110 stores up to 250 sheets of blank paper in a cassette-style input tray at the base of the machine. You can expand this tray lengthwise to hold legal-size paper or envelopes of a variety of sizes. You'll need to consult the pictographic instructions on the outer lip and the inside of the paper tray to properly load paper and envelopes. Just above the paper tray, a manual-feed slot lets you insert single envelopes or alternative media such as transparencies or card stock. A rear door, or face-up cover, as Canon calls it, opens at the back of the printer for clearing paper jams. It also serves as a second exit that you can use to avoid paper jams when you print on envelopes or thick paper.

Image quality
Text printed by the Canon ImageClass MF3110 looked good in CNET Labs' tests, though it was neither razor sharp nor free of defects. Upon close examination, we saw wispy particles of misplaced toner inside the open spaces of the letters b and g. The MF3110's graphics were also good, displaying clean lines and smooth shading, although an overall faint and grainy appearance kept them from an excellent rating.

Unfortunately, both color and black-and-white test scans ranked only fair due to their extreme faintness. The color scan had a faded, washed-out look, and the blacks in the grayscale scan were so faded that they appeared blurry. Using default settings, we scanned at the MF3110's maximum resolution of 1,200x2,400dpi.

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