A rich user's printer, a poor user's dream

The Canon MF4570dn covers all the basics, but it packs so much quality and extra features that it's like getting a high-end MFP for a moderate price.

This article has been updated to correct the listing for the device's image print time.

Now that everyone pretty much accepts that combining common machines such as scanners, copiers and printers into a single unit has more advantages than buying each one separately, multifunctional printers (MFPs) have rapidly increased in popularity. Price has a lot to do with it, as well. But even if you don’t use a scanner all that often, why not pick one up for practically free when you buy your next printer?

There certainly are a lot of MFPs on the market to chose from. But this has also led to what seems to be a decrease in quality. We are seeing a lot of MFPs in the lab that end up with C grades for image quality, text quality and sometimes even features. The trend seems to be to manufacture an MFP that can be sold cheaply. Normally these are adequate for most tasks but not really up to par for a government office and not that great for a situation in which multiple users must share the device.

Well, the imageClass MF4570dn by Canon blows that mold wide open. Instead of offering a bargain basement MFP, the MF4570dn is a high-performing black and white printer and a high-speed scanner and fax. And it has a moderate price that’s a great value when compared with the quality of the output.


GCN Lab Reviewers Choice Award 2011


Canon imageClass MF4570dn

Features: A
Ease of use: A
Image accuracy: A-
Text quality: A+
30-page black-and-white text print time: 1:14
30-page image print time: 1:25
Value: A
PRICE: $695
Pros: Extremely fast printing; great text quality; two-sided printing
Cons: Nothing major other than black and white-only.

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The setup of the unit is easy. Having a black and white printer at its heart, there's only one toner cartridge, and it ships inside the printer. You simply need to pull some orange tabs that keep it safe during shipping. And although it’s probably not recommended, I had no problem lifting it by myself out of the box, with one hand, no less. After you remove the shipping tape, it’s just a matter of installing the software and connecting it to a computer using a USB cable or your network via a standard Category 5 one.

In terms of raw speed, the MF4570dn is impressive. It was able to crunch our 30-page all-text test document in 1 minute, 14 seconds, putting it near the top of the pack for print speeds of black and white printers. For graphics, it was almost as speedy and was able to push through one of the most punishing graphically laden test documents ever created in 1 minute, 25 seconds. On average, it took about 11 seconds for the first page to come out of the printer on any print job. That’s a pretty good time actually but slower than the 6 seconds that the marketing materials claimed.

In terms of image quality, the MF4570dn was able to produce some very nice images despite being limited to black and white. In fact, it was able to properly reproduce text sitting on top of graphics without adding extra white space around letters, something that we normally only see in high-end printers. The images themselves look really good. Even on very fine pictures with subtle differences in light and darkness, they reproduced well on paper. In fact, in quite a few cases, the graphical output produced by the MF4570dn was better overall than most color printers. It does a great job taking color images and transforming them into readable, clear grayscale.

Text output from the MF4570dn is close to perfect. It’s readable without any flaws, even when examined using magnification.

The MF4570dn has some surprising features for a $695 MFP. The one that most users will probably discover first is duplex printing. You can put text and graphics on both sides of a piece of paper, saving a lot of money and trees if you are able to do so. The MF4570dn does this by sucking a paper back into the printer once it’s almost completely in the output tray and then putting an image on the opposite side. The one negative aspect to this is that it will increase your print times. Other notable printing extras include the ability to put a watermark on pages, and a toner saver mode. Of course, using the toner saver mode makes that near-perfect text a bit less readable, but it still looks pretty good.

The fax part of the MF4570dn is a fairly standard 33.6 kilobits/sec unit. The scanner is a flatbed type that sits on top the printer and it has an 8.5-inch by 11-inch window.

Another nice feature that affects every component on the MFP is the LCD status window. Most of the cheap units feature a three-line display. The MF4570dn has a generous five-line window. The extra two lines may not seem like much, but it really opens everything up so that navigating the windows is much easier. It also has a nice contrast which may help those with sight problems more easily see what’s on the screen.

So the MF4570dn covers all the basics like any other low-cost MFP can. However, it also gives so much more in terms of quality and extra features that it’s like getting a high-end MFP for a moderate to low price. That’s a great value and when coupled with superb image quality for text or graphics, helps the imageClass MF4570dn earn a Reviewer’s Choice designation.

Canon U.S.A., usa.canon.com

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