Canon Colour ImageClass MF9220Cdn

The Canon Colour ImageClass MF9220Cdn colour laser multifunction (print/copy/fax/scan) is sized and equipped for any busy workgroup’s high-volume use. Available at an estimated street price of $999 (as of February 15, 2011), it offers good speed and text quality, and it has a lot of cool features. Unfortunately, using those features isn’t nearly as easy as it should be, due to an overly complex control panel. Colour photos are subpar as well, and Mac compatibility is minimal.

Installing the MF9220Cdn on the PC platform was easy via both USB and Ethernet, though the interface looks dated compared with Windows 7. We’re surprised that a corporate-oriented machine is not fully Mac-compatible. Canon supplies Mac drivers for the printer, but the installation process is klunky; additionally, the scanner is not supported on that platform.

The majority of the MF9220Cdn’s features are highly capable and well designed. The scanner accepts legal-size documents both on its platen and through its 50-page automatic document feeder, and it automatically scans, copies, or faxes both sides (duplex) as well. Note that duplexing is accomplished by refeeding the paper, not via the dual scanning elements found in some other scanners; as a result, you have more feeds and more jamming risks, as we experienced in one attempt. Careful alignment of the paper in the ADF is important. Standard inputs include a 250-sheet cassette and a 100-page multipurpose tray. An additional, 500-sheet cassette is available for $299.

At first glance the control panel mounted on the front of the MFP is impressive. The two USB thumb drive ports on the side are a nice convenience. The 3.5-inch colour LCD is bright and clear, though the concepts and menu structure are rather technical; frequently you must scroll to reach pertinent options. The bigger problem is that the unit has too many control buttons, and some are difficult to use: You must juggle a combination scrollwheel/OK button/four-way rocker, and occasionally use yet another two buttons under the LCD for selecting options. The best thing we can say about this design is that it is workable but poorly conceived.

Along with its all-encompassing duplexing, the MF9220Cdn’s other major asset is speed. The MFP prints text pages at a competent rate of 12.8 pages per minute. Midsize photos printed at default and finer settings averaged a blistering pace of 3.5 ppm.

Output quality varied. Printed and copied/scanned text was sharp. Unfortunately, printed and copied color images suffered from overexposed flesh tones, and washed-out hues slanted slightly in favour of magenta. Colour scans were better balanced, but sometimes a little blocky.

Toner costs for the MF9220Cdn are a mixed bag. All four cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) yield 6000 pages. Canon gave us only suggested retail pricing for the consumables, which are not very affordable, so we shopped around and found average prices of about $121.50 for black and $154 to $169 for each colour. That makes for an economical two cents per text page and 10.2 cents per four-colour page.

The Canon Colour ImageClass MF9220Cdn has the specs and speed to satisfy a busy office. However, it falls a bit short on ease of use and photo quality, and Mac users need not apply.

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