A busy office will like the Canon Color ImageClass MF8350Cdn's speed and features, but its toner pricing and photo quality are disappointing.

The Canon Color ImageClass MF8350Cdn colour laser multifunction printer offers a tempting purchase price and some good features. Like most low-cost machines we've tested, however, it has trade-offs - including pricey black toner and uneven photo quality.

Paper handling is a strong suit. Automatic duplexing comes standard. The automatic document feeder (ADF) and multipurpose tray (MPT) both take up to 50 sheets, and the main tray takes up to 250. A second 250-sheet tray is a pay-for extra, according to Canon (some third-party prices we found were higher). Legal paper causes the main tray to jut out the front; Canon provides a partial dust cover. The 125-sheet output tray lurks, cavelike and dark, below the scanning unit.

The machine's control panel could be better designed. The primary function buttons, such as Copy, Fax, and Scan, are easy to locate above the five-line monochrome LCD. The secondary buttons below are all labeled, but they look similar - and there are a lot of them. More grouping and colour-coding would make things easier to find.

Speed and output quality varied widely in our tests. Printing plain text, the Canon Color ImageClass MF8350Cdn managed a middling rate of 11 pages per minute (ppm), but the quality was stellar. Printing photos or handling copies and scans was faster; the results, however, could be disappointing. Skin tones on color images looked pale and jaundiced; colour depth and detail were lacking as well. Scanned photos looked dark and muddy, and scanned text appeared fuzzy.

Toner prices are a little high. The unit ships with starter-size supplies (1,200-page black and 1,400-page colour cartridges). Cartridges nestle into a tray that slides out from the Canon Color ImageClass MF8350Cdn printer's innards. They're not keyed, but an error message arises if you mislocate one of them.

We liked the supporting documentation. On-screen menu selections include animated instructions for many tasks. A printed Starter Guide and Basic Operations Guide cover most of what you need. The full, HTML-based guide - viewable from the included CD or downloadable from Canon's website - is thorough and well organised.

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Canon Color ImageClass MF8350Cdn: Specs

  • Print, Copy, Scan and Fax
  • 128MB (shared)
  • Colour laser
  • Duplex Printing
  • A4, A5, B5, Legal, Letter, Statement
  • UFRII-LT
  • Media weight: Cassette: 60 to 163 g/m²
  • 250-sheet cassette
  • 50-sheet ADF
  • Copier Enlarge/Reduce
  • Scanner Type: Flatbed and Automatic Document Feeder (ADF)
  • Scanner Depth: 24 bit/24 bit (input/output), resolutions: Optical: Up to 600x600dpi
  • Enhanced: Up to 9600x9600dpi, Compatibility: TWAIN, WIA
  • Fax Modem: Super G3 33.6kbps (Up to 3 seconds/page)
  • Fax Resolution: Standard: 200x100dpi
  • Fax Memory: Up to 512 pages
  • Duty Cycle: Max. 40,000 pages per month
  • 430x479x484mm
  • 31kg
  • Print, Copy, Scan and Fax
  • 128MB (shared)
  • Colour laser
  • Duplex Printing
  • A4, A5, B5, Legal, Letter, Statement
  • UFRII-LT
  • Media weight: Cassette: 60 to 163 g/m²
  • 250-sheet cassette
  • 50-sheet ADF
  • Copier Enlarge/Reduce
  • Scanner Type: Flatbed and Automatic Document Feeder (ADF)
  • Scanner Depth: 24 bit/24 bit (input/output), resolutions: Optical: Up to 600x600dpi
  • Enhanced: Up to 9600x9600dpi, Compatibility: TWAIN, WIA
  • Fax Modem: Super G3 33.6kbps (Up to 3 seconds/page)
  • Fax Resolution: Standard: 200x100dpi
  • Fax Memory: Up to 512 pages
  • Duty Cycle: Max. 40,000 pages per month
  • 430x479x484mm
  • 31kg

OUR VERDICT

The Canon Color ImageClass MF8350Cdn has better paper handling and expandability than many similarly priced machines. Even with its various shortcomings, it's still a worthy choice for a small office with moderate print volume and basic graphics needs.

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