The multi-function form factor continues to spread out from its inkjet homelands into the laser printer market. Canon's i-SENSYS MF4270 is based on a duplex, mono laser printer engine and a Contact Image Sensor (CIS) colour scanner with Auto Document Feeder (ADF). It's intended for small and home office use, but a duty cycle of 10,000 pages per month suggests it could handle some SME offices, too.
This machine has an unusual design; a black cube with a steeply-raked paper feed at the top for the ADF, a small control panel in front of the scanner section and two gaping holes below. At the base of the bottom hole is a 250-sheet paper tray and there's a 10 sheet multi-purpose feed on top of this set back into the centre of the machine. This makes it awkward to use and it's not easy to see why some of the design choices have been made.
Paper feeds out to a shelf immediately above the feed tray and there's a pull-out support and end stop. These two holes make it look as if the whole machine is a lot taller than it need be, but in fact the height is largely governed by the laser engine around which it's built.
The counter-balanced scanner lid reveals a neat flatbed scanner, not much bigger than the print engine itself, so there's no awkward bulge at the top of the machine.
The control panel includes a numeric pad for dialling phone numbers and eight quick dial buttons for the super G3 fax that's built in. There's a two line by 16 character LCD display with no backlight, but since it's mounted almost horizontally, any overhead lighting is enough to show the display. Three, large, illuminated mode buttons select copy, fax and scan functions. At the right-hand end of the control panel are lit start and cancel buttons and one for power.
At the back are USB 2.0 and Ethernet network sockets, as well as ones for phone line and telephone handset.
The combined toner and drum cartridge slots in under a cover which is revealed when you lift up the hinged scanner lid. You have to push the cartridge well down into the machine to seat it in place. The cartridge has a fairly low capacity of just 2,000 ISO pages, so if you use the i-SENSYS MF4270 heavily, you'll be swapping cartridges regularly.
As well as the driver and a management utility, Canon provides copies of Presto! PageManager and Nuance OmniPage for OCR. These two programs work well together to provide easy document management for archival and conversion to editable text.