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Monday, January 18, 2021

Review: Canon Image Class MF644Cdw

 The wife and kids have been asking for a color printer for a while, and at the same time my ancient brother scanner started dying, able to only scan one-side of a double-sided piece of paper. Thanks to black Friday, the Canon Image Class MF644Cdw was under $300, and would replace both. I also considered the bigger counter-part, but those came in close to 60+ pounds, and our printing volume was not expected to exceed what the MF644Cdw could do. At 50 pounds the MF644Cdw was close to what I could lift by myself.

Other people have waxed lyrical about the unboxing experience of an Apple product (I myself have never been impressed) but the Canon MF644Cdw's unboxing is an experience to behold! Basically, you unfold the flaps and pull on them and the entire box comes off. The engineers who did this have definitely achieved something.

As expected, the 50 pound weight is a pain, and once you're done you have to peel off various seals and stickers that exist to keep the device's various accouterments from flipping open while you lift and shift the thing. Once plugged in, you use the device's touch screen to connect it to WiFi, and then you have to login using a web browser to configure it to accept scans via SAMBA (which I sent to a OneDrive sync'd folder, so that any scans would automatically get shared and uploaded to the cloud), as well as manage defaults. You can also arrange for scans to be sent via e-mail,  but thanks to improved security, I couldn't set it up or get it to work with the TLS enabled gmail SMTP server. The web menu is unintuitive and painful to use, but it's a one-time setup, and once all the defaults are setup correctly you won't ever have to do it again.

Apple devices automatically recognize the printer over the wire via airplay, while Windows devices can get a dedicated driver installed via USB or CD-drive. As usual, the windows devices are more finicky to setup, but in exchange you get toner status data and other such features.

Scanning is fast and easy, as is copying and printing. About the most annoying feature of the printing is the noise --- the fan spins up, there's a whining sound, then it prints, and after that the fans and whining continue for quite some time after the print job is finished. It's not really noticeable during a zoom call (I sit right next to the printer), but I could imagine that if print jobs were frequent I'd be looking for a closet so I didn't have to hear it.

The paper tray is small, so definitely go for the next size up if your print loads are heavy. But as an all in one device it works and works well, very much like a full-size office device. Recommended.

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