Canon ImageClass MF4270
The Canon ImageClass MF4270 is quite compact for a multifunction laser. It stands 15.4 inches wide, 17.4 inches deep, and 17.9 inches tall, and weighs 27.6 pounds. The automatic document feeder mounted on the scanner lid can hold as many as 35 pages of originals for batch scans, copies, and faxes. The flatbed scanner can accommodate only up to A4 size originals, but using the ADF, you can still copy, scan, or fax legal-size documents.
The control panel is busy, but everything is clearly laid out. A two-line text LCD is the centerpiece, but it's not backlit, so it can be hard to read in low light. Above the LCD are three task buttons--copy, scan, and fax--that let you choose your task. Below are two directional keys and an OK button for navigating menus. Instead of a menu settings button, the MF4270 has an Additional Functions button that lets you tweak settings for different tasks. Although there's no designated Back button to back out of menus, you can press the Additional Functions button again, which takes you back one level.
Eight one-touch dial keys and the alphanumeric keypad let you quickly dial fax numbers. The fax area also has designated buttons for commonly accessed features such as the address book, coded dial, hook, and redial. Similarly, the copy area has designated keys for enlarging or reducing copies, changing the density and image quality, and making collated copies, two-sided copies, and 2-on-1 copies.
Paper handling is simple and straightforward on the MF4270. At the bottom of the printer is a 250-page cassette with a removable dust cover. Just above the cassette sits a one-page multipurpose feeder with adjustable paper guides. The single-sheet feeder is great for one-off prints such as envelopes, because it means you don't have to swap out the contents of the cassette for a single print. The output tray sits a bit above the input area and includes an extendable arm to corral your prints.
The ImageClass MF4270 ships with a starter 1,000-print toner cartridge. The replacement cartridge is good for about double that and goes for $70. This works out to about 3.5 cents per page. While the cost is in line with similarly priced printers, you can spend a bit less on print costs (about 2 cents per page) if you can afford to pony up a bit more cash up front for the hardware. The cost is fine for an office with light print needs, but for those who print large volumes, the cost can add up quickly.
The ImageClass MF4270's feature set is fairly standard for office-oriented multifunctions. The machine comes network-ready with an Ethernet port on the back, so it can be easily mounted on a home or office network for printing from various PCs. The ADF is great for batch scanning, copying, and faxing. And the autoduplexer makes it easy to make double-sided prints and copies, thereby saving paper. It has a toner-save mode that reduces the amount of toner used for printing. Obviously, the output quality declines, but this mode is great for prints that will be used internally, as it conserves both toner and money. Similarly, the MF4270 has a power-save mode: the printer goes into a low-energy standby mode when it hasn't been used for a certain period of time (you can adjust the amount of time that triggers the power-save mode).
The copy features are basic and straightforward. You can use the numeric keypad to type in the number of copies you want to make (up to 99). Copies can be reduced or enlarged from 25 percent to 200 percent, either in preset values or in 1 percent increments. You can make double-sided copies or 2-on-1 copies, as well as collate your output.
The scan feature on the MF4270 is limited to use over a USB connection, which is an unfortunate choice on Canon's part for an office-oriented machine. In order to scan, you'll have to start the MF Toolbox software that was installed when you installed the drivers. Here's you can choose the scan target: attach to e-mail, scan using optical character recognition, save to file, save as PDF, or scan to program. Once you've chosen the target, you can press the Start button on the printer, or click the Start button on the MF Toolbox screen. If you've chosen "save to PC," you can choose the target folder and the file type (JPEG, TIFF, or bitmap). Although you can scan to applications, Canon doesn't predesignate any, so you can choose yourself. The $400 Canon ImageClass MF4690 works the same way, but also offers you the ability to scan to an attached USB flash device (the printer has an onboard USB port).
The fax options are also very basic. You can program as many as eight numbers (or groups) to the one-touch dial buttons on the control panel. You can also store an additional 100 numbers or groups as coded speed dials, which you can access using the two-digit code or via the address book. Groups can include as many as 50 numbers. When sending a fax, the only advanced option is a broadcast fax (up to 124 numbers). Receiving a fax is basic, too. The only advanced options include the ability to block a fax from a sender who does not broadcast his/her fax number, as well as the ability to receive the fax into memory instead of automatically printing it. Low toner and lack of paper will trigger the memory receive mode, but you can manually turn it on and protect the contents of the memory with a passcode. Finally, you can send PC faxes too, provided you've installed the software that comes with the MF4270.
Compared to other mono laser multifunctions in the $300 to $400 price range, the Canon ImageClass MF4270 performed admirably. It produced text at a rate of 15.13 pages per minute (ppm), slower than both the $400 Lexmark X342n and the Dell 1815dn, but beating out several others, including the more expensive Canon MF4690. Its performance with black graphics was similar: 17.14ppm, again behind the Lexmark and Dell. It was the fastest of the group with scans and copies, though. It scored 5.84ppm with color scans (a full page faster than the next printer), a blazing 12.19ppm with grayscale scans, and 15.50ppm with copies using the ADF, just edging out its big brother.
|Copy||Grayscale scan||Color scan||Graphics||Text|
The MF4270's task quality was decent across the board, performing more evenly than some of its competition, but it wasn't stellar. The black prints were nicely dark and consistent, but we noticed jagged edges where we expect to see clean, sharp lines. The grayscale graphics print showed a lot of cross-hatching and the photo elements can afford to be sharper. The grayscale scan revealed a good amount of compression in the dark end of the grayscale, making the scan a bit murky, but we liked the sharp details and the great pattern reproduction. The color scan was the best of the lot, with great color reproduction and sharp details. Although it wasn't the best at anything (except for color scanning), we liked its consistently good performance.
|Grayscale scan||Color scan||Graphics||Text|
Service and support
Canon backs the ImageClass MF4270 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. ET. 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.