Canon imageCLASS MF4380dn

Good quality but some design issues.

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Canon imageCLASS MF4380dn
  • Canon imageCLASS MF4380dn
  • Canon imageCLASS MF4380dn
  • Canon imageCLASS MF4380dn

Pros

  • Good quality, fast print speeds, auto duplexer

Cons

  • Poor Web interface, some design problems, problems with local scanning

Bottom Line

The imageCLASS MF4380dn is a decent multifunction for small businesses, with fast print speeds and good print quality. There are some small issues with its design and local scanning, but overall this multifunction is adequate.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 4 stores)

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Canon's new imageCLASS MF4380dn falls into a rather awkward price range, toeing the line between mono and colour laser multifunctions. There are cheaper options that fulfil the same tasks as the MF4380dn, but if cost isn't too much of a concern, this unit offers adequate quality and speed for small businesses.

For the price, the MF4380dn packs in a decent number of features. It offers USB and Ethernet connectivity, as well as an automatic document feeder and automatic duplexer.

The MF4380dn has a basic design. The control panel has raft of buttons that seem like they could have been bundled together under a unified "settings" button. It's not overly complicated, but becoming comfortable with the layout takes more time than it should.

Like most multifunctions, the MF4380dn boasts a secondary, specialty media input tray. Unlike competing units from HP, this is a cassette rather than a fold-down tray. The drawback of this design is that the specialty cassette gets in the way of the primary media input tray. In addition, the media input tray is covered by a small piece of plastic that serves to provide support for the specialty cassette; because there is no hinge to adjust this piece of plastic while in place it must be removed, which an annoying design choice.

The MF4380dn's Web-based remote user interface is basic at best, even in administrator mode. It provides information on the printer's network settings and print job information. Administrators can amend the unit's integrated fax address book. However, with little else in the way of configurable settings, IT administrators may want to look for a unit with more network-based options.

Although the MF4380dn isn't the fastest multifunction around, it does print at an acceptable speed. In our tests the multifunction managed to print a standard text document at an average of 23.1 pages per minute, with the first page out time of 12.9sec. This speed is consistent across all quality levels, regardless of render rate or half-tone options.

The quality is good, and with half-tone options set and the render rate at 24 bits per pixel the printer produces clear and accurate results that do not exhibit any evidence of feathering. Documents are perhaps slightly pale, but this is simply a result of the printer's clarity; it can be rectified by using lower quality settings.

Although Canon quotes 9600x9600 dots per inch as the scanning mechanism's resolution, optical resolution is more like 600dpi. This is adequate for text scanning, though photo and graphics will suffer. Colours aren't as rich or vibrant as in source images, and often inaccurate as a result, but the MF4380dn manages to retain the most of the quality of the source.

The main flaw we found in scanning was the MF4380dn's insistence on using a network connection, even if one didn't exist. When attempting to initiate a local scan via USB from the PC, the MF4380dn refused to automatically wake itself from energy-saving mode and often automatically switched back to network scanning after five minutes. As a result, scanning locally requires users to switch between modes before initiating the scan.

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