Canon’s i-SENSYS MF628Cw is a laser multi-function printer, designed for small or home office use. It can print, copy and scan in full colour, as well as handle the sending and receiving of faxes, covering most document-based needs in many small offices.
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This is a substantial printer, the size of a desktop photocopier from the 1980s/1990s. It offers a 50-sheet ADF on top of its A4 flatbed scanner.
The control panel is a large, 89mm touchscreen that provides full-colour menus and status messages, and it’s responsive in use. There are 15 physical buttons, too, and a numeric pad for fax number entry.
Below the output slot, the four drum and toner units pull out in a single tray, making them simple to replace. The cartridges are good for 1,400-1,500 pages each, with a high-capacity 2,400 black unit also available.
The only paper tray – there is an secondary, single-sheet feed – has a capacity of 150-sheets, but there's no option to add an additional tray. As an all-in-one intended for a small office, this is a very puzzling omission.
It means that at the very least it means you’ll have to restock the tray far too frequently and at worst, you’ll repeatedly run out of paper part-way through print and copy jobs. The increase in height for a 250-sheet tray would be minimal, and at least you’d be able to load half a ream at a time.
Installation is simple, thanks to the CD of drivers and software provided. Canon also includes the very capable Presto! PageManager 9 for document housekeeping and optical character recognition (OCR) of scanned documents. You can also OCR from Canon’s MF Scan, although only to a text file.
The machine can connect via USB or over Wi-Fi, and works separately on a direct connect basis with iOS and Android devices. The latest version of Canon’s software for Android may not be quite as adept as its inkjet counterpart, but it offers reasonable control over printing documents and photos.
Canon rates the i-SENSYS MF628Cw at 14ppm in both monochrome and colour, but in our tests we failed to see these speeds. Our 5-page black text test returned 7.3ppm, although this rose to 10.7ppm on the 20-page, long document – still some way short of spec. The 5-page text and colour graphics document gave 6.3ppm, less than half the rated speed.
Our tests are timed from the moment we click "Print" to the last page arriving in the output tray, and therefore include processing time – the ISO tests quoted by manufacturer’s don’t take this in account. With laser machines, however, we do print a waste page before each job, so the printer doesn’t have to wait for its fuser to warm up.
A single-page colour copy from the flatbed took 21 seconds and a 5-page mono copy from the ADF took 36 seconds, both very reasonable times. 15 x 10cm photo prints took between 21 seconds and 27 seconds, depending on source.
The quality of black text is excellent; crisp and densely black. This applies to black fills as well. Colour output is vivid, with no sign of dither patterns. There is some slight haloing of black text over blue and green fills, and the colour copy produced some patchy fill colours, but nothing too extreme.
Photo prints were varied. Our standard test sample looked over-vivid and a little picture-postcard, with colours lost in shadow. Other prints were more nuanced, however – although we did notice some vertical banding in images taken from an Android smartphone.
Using the high-capacity black cartridge and the only variant of the colour one results in page costs of 2.7p for mono and 11.1p for colour pages. These are notably lower than from some rivals, particularly in comparison with the Dell E525w, which costs 3.4p and 17.8p for mono and colour, respectively.
This isn’t a particularly fast printer, and as such the £239 (which has now dropped significantly in price) Brother DCP-9020CDW is a better deal. It offers 14.1ppm for mono prints and 8.1ppm for colour, and also includes duplex print as standard and a 250-sheet paper tray.
The MF628Cw's full-colour laser mechanism and ability to print and scan from a variety of devices is impressive. However, a lack of duplex printing, comparitively slow performance and inadequate 150-sheet paper tray mean that it suffers too many shortcomings.