Image source: Canon
An Easier-to-Use Front-Loading Color Laser
Canon has stepped up its game in the design of its latest laser printers by incorporating front-loading multipurpose trays, further enhancing the convenience of this color printer for users. Known as the Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw in Europe and the Canon imageCLASS MF654 in the United States, this multifunction device caters to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
In this review, we’ll refer to the printer by its UK designation, the Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw, although it’s identical to its US counterpart. However, even home-based workers like myself would find its compact size and thoughtful design appealing. After putting several top printers through their paces, it’s evident that this model could seamlessly integrate into a shared workgroup, thanks to its 250-sheet paper tray, 50-sheet automated document feeder (ADF), and high-capacity cartridges.
The front-loading paper tray is a standout feature, allowing you to position this desktop device against a wall and easily load envelopes or letterhead paper without leaving your chair.
While most multifunction printers adhere to a standard form factor, the Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw goes above and beyond in terms of ergonomics. The tilting arm ensures that the color touchscreen interface is visible whether you’re seated or standing. Conveniently located on the front are the multipurpose tray and USB Host port. The top ADF can handle a substantial stack of up to fifty pages, while the main paper tray smoothly slides out to accommodate 250 A4 sheets.
Despite its robust feature set, this printer maintains a modest footprint, fitting neatly on a desktop. Weighing in at 22.6 kg, it exudes a sense of solidity and sturdiness. This latest iteration represents a notable upgrade over its predecessor, the Canon i-SENSYS MF742Cdw, which I previously reviewed with positive results.
Whether you work from home or in a shared office space, the Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw offers all the essential functionalities you need. Serving as a three-in-one device, it can print, scan, and copy with ease. If fax capability is a requirement, consider upgrading to the equivalent Canon i-SENSYS MF657Cdw. Additionally, the 50-sheet ADF comes in handy for copying stacks of documents. However, it’s worth noting that this model lacks single-pass dual scanning, requiring manual flipping of two-sided documents during copying.
Featuring auto duplex printing, a tilting color display, Wi-Fi compatibility with AirPrint, and a front USB Host connector, the Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw boasts an impressive array of features. While it may lack built-in NFC and a fax modem, it compensates with Secure Print functionality, ensuring the security of sensitive documents in shared office environments. Supporting various media types, including coated paper weighing up to 200 g/m², it accommodates sheets as large as A4.
While competitors like Brother, Kyocera, and Xerox may offer laser printers with faster print speeds than Canon’s 21ppm simplex printer, Canon’s laser beam printing remains relatively swift. Although duplex printing takes approximately twice as long, it still outperforms most inkjet printers. With a print resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi and the ability to enhance scan resolution to an impressive 9600 x 9600 dpi, this printer delivers crisp, detailed results. Backed by 1 GB of internal memory and an average processing power of 800 MHz x 2, it offers reliable performance for everyday office tasks.
In essence, the Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw ticks all the boxes for a compact office printer. While its specifications are solid rather than spectacular, it certainly doesn’t rank among the worst laser printers we’ve evaluated.
Set Up and Operation
Setting up the Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw is a straightforward process. After removing the orange tape and plugging in the device, follow the on-screen instructions. While the additional safety instructions booklet may seem daunting at 123 pages, neither it nor the setup instructions are likely to be necessary for most users. After loading the paper tray, setting the time and date, and connecting to your Wi-Fi network, you’re ready to start printing. The standard-size toner cartridges come pre-installed for added convenience. Navigation through the four-page menu system is effortless, thanks to the responsive touchscreen interface measuring 21.7 cm. Canon provides a companion app named Canon PRINT for seamless printing and scanning to the cloud, catering to both iOS and Android users.
Operating at a noise level of only about 50 dB, the Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw produces prints with smooth, consistent quality. In standard quality mode, I achieved a print speed of approximately 21 pages per minute for simplex pages. While draft mode may yield faster prints, the output is notably faint and may only be suitable for cases where conserving toner is paramount. Switching back to “Normal” quality, black text on white paper appears clean and uniform. Although Canon’s black toner lacks visual boldness, its precision ensures that even the smallest prints remain legible under scrutiny.
When it comes to documents with mixed-color elements, the results are significantly better, with even application of cyan, magenta, and yellow toners resulting in vibrant color blocks without any banding. Test brochures and tube maps exhibit a polished finish, with vivid colors and sharp details. However, photo prints may appear somewhat lackluster due to muted hues on white paper, though they still boast pleasing sharpness and clarity. For a laser printer, the output is undoubtedly impressive.
The high-resolution platen scanner and automatic document feeder of the Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw make quick work of copying stacks of documents. However, it’s worth noting that this model does not offer automatic duplex copying; for that feature, you’ll need to consider the pricier Canon imageCLASS MF656.
Despite encountering a paper jam when inserting a thin card into the multipurpose tray, misprints were not an issue during testing. It’s worth mentioning that the weight of the card exceeded Canon’s specified limit, and the front-loading multipurpose tray was highlighted as a contributing factor. Placing the tray at the top of the machine, as is customary, would allow for a flatter paper path, enabling printing on thicker card material.
The Bottom Line
The Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw strikes a perfect balance between home office all-in-ones and high-performance workgroup printers. Catering to the needs of businesses with features such as Secure Print, an automated document feeder (ADF) with automatic dual scanning, and rapid printing, it offers all the essential functionalities for a shared office environment. With ample paper and toner capacity, it’s well-suited for use in a collaborative workspace, while its sleek design ensures it would also feel at home on a personal desk.
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