Canon Multifunction Is in a Class by Itself

Canon's ImageClass MF8170c offers quality output but slow speeds.
Canon's ImageClass MF8170c offers quality output but slow speeds.
Color laser multifunction printers have traditionally been too pricey for home and small-office users. Canon's new Color ImageClass MF8170c changes that, offering an all-in-one color laser printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine for a reasonable $1000. The device has some limitations, though. While output quality is consistent with that of other dedicated color lasers we've reviewed, color print speeds are markedly slower.

The MF8170c prints black-and-white at 600 dots per inch and scans color at 48-bit, 1200-by-2400-dpi resolution.

It printed black-and-white type clearly at sizes down to 3 points. Color images printed with good sharpness and saturation, and color business graphics came out nice and bright. Black-and-white scans of text had a few artifacts, however, and color scans were less sharp than those we've seen from our $199 Epson CX6600 reference inkjet multifunction printer.

Our biggest gripe concerns color print speeds. The MF8170c performed roughly on a par with the less expensive reference Epson MFP. However, when compared with the color print speeds of dedicated color laser printers, its speeds were often noticeably slower. The Canon printed our Photoshop JPEG file in about 50 seconds, whereas the $999 Konica Minolta Magicolor 5430DL color laser printed it in about 29 seconds.

Conversely, the Canon's black-and-white print speeds were faster than the Minolta's. The MF8170c printed our three-page Word test document in an average of 31 seconds. By contrast, the 5430DL printed the same document in an average of 66 seconds.

Canon's Color ImageClass MF8170c provides good color output quality at a somewhat slower speed than you would likely get with a comparably priced stand-alone color laser printer. But the device's additional scan, copy, and fax capabilities may make the sacrifice in speed worth accepting.

Canon Color ImageClass MF8170c

Low-cost color-laser MFP provides good output quality and features at the expense of speed.
Street: $1000
Current Price (if available)

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