The main advantage of a colour laser all-in-one over an inkjet is the crispness of the text and images it can produce. The disadvantage is the cost; Canon’s i-SENSYS MF8080Cw low-end multifunction comes in at over £250 and, despite its officey looks, it falls short on the practicalities in a couple of ways.
All coloured in black and white and with a number of gentle curves to soften its lines, it’s still a substantial machine, partly due to the deep, inline, colour laser engine at its heart. The 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) has quite a high profile, though it’s only a single-sided device.
The control panel is, unusually, nearly horizontal, with buttons and a fax number pad ranged around a five line, backlit LCD display. The screen font is a bit spindly, but is easy to read. There are several buttons which are unusual in a machine like this, including two programmable scan buttons which direct images to specific PCs on a network and an ID button for copying both sides of an ID card.
Immediately below the control panel is a USB socket, which can be used for uploading documents or photos to print, or downloading scans.
At the bottom of the front panel is one of the shallowest paper trays we've seen on a laser device, at just 150 sheets. It's very difficult not to be cynical and suggest Canon is trying to sell as many optional, 500-sheet paper trays as possible, by including such a mismatch of a paper tray in the i-SENSYS MF8080Cw. There's a single-sheet multi-purpose slot for special media, but using a 150-sheet printer in any kind of office is going to require regular paper refills.
USB, 10/100 Ethernet and wireless connections are all supported, though wireless is the most versatile. Setup is straightforward, as the machine supports WPS Setup and installation of the four, combined drum and toner cartridges is also very easy, as each one drops into a slide-out tray, once you've folded down the front panel.
Canon provides Presto! Page Manager software to cover scanning and OCR functions, as well as its own MP Toolbox application and appropriate drivers for printer and scanner.