With the ever-expanding appearance of small and home-based businesses, printer companies are cheerfully churning out shedloads of small footprint printers to suit this market.
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Canon's latest i-SENSYS MF4890dw is a compact multifunction mono laser printer with a good stack of features. Styled in ubiquitous cream and black, this is a lightweight printer (13.4kg) that won't take up much space on a work surface, measuring just 390 x 445 x 360mm.
The Canon i-SENSYS MF4890dw features full multifunction capability, with fax included, and an optional handset can be attached. Connectivity extends to the full set of Wi-Fi, USB and ethernet to make the unit flexible for office needs. Noticeable omissions are a front USB port for memory sticks and any form of memory-card slot, the latter rarely found on business machines.
The Canon i-SENSYS MF4890dw feels generally quite sturdy and that includes the front control panel which swings upwards and clicks firmly into place.
The main paper feed tray holds 250 sheets of A4 and is part of the drop-down panel at the front. Once deployed there's an extremely useful dust cover that can be lowered on to it which also forms part of the base of a separate manual feed slot.
On the top of the printer is a tidy automatic document feeder (ADF) which holds a further 50 sheets for copying and this ADF defaults to duplex printing. Further space saving is possible in the copy menu where up to four sheets can be printed on to a single page or in duplex.
A five-line blue-and-white LCD handles all the menu choices. It’s a lot brighter and clearer than the Brother equivalents and three unexpected buttons on the far right of the panel let you send scanned documents to two registered computers and organise preset copies, a handy timesaver. However, there are a number of buttons with icons only where the functions are not immediately clear, and some extra labelling would be beneficial here.
Print speeds are quite impressive with 20ppm the average for single pages of text, 15ppm for duplex and a new Quiet Mode which prints slower but less noisily.
Scanned colour images remain very faithful to the originals and black print documents are deep and unbroken; but mono copies of images are distinctly several shades darker.
There is only one cartridge available for the Canon i-SENSYS MF4890dw at present which is specified for 2100 pages at a cost of 2.85p per page. While that isn't ruinously expensive in ink costs, affordable mono laser printers are available that run at less than 2p per page.