Photo: John Biggs / Gizmodo
There are printers and then there are printers. We’re all familiar with the little cube-shaped laser printers that spit out a few baking flyers or a textbook report to be on a shelf near your desk at home. Then there are monsters like Canon ImageClass MF743CdwA printer that hovers between the average home laser printer and the huge office all-in-one.
While this printer doesn’t put your projects together and staple, it does almost everything else. It has a built-in scanner – just lift the top cover, put your page down, and use the built-in LCD screen to send the file to a mobile device, PC, or fax machine if you’re 1996 – and a pair of paper trays, one for odd sizes and one for letter / legal.
This guy is big. It weighs 64 pounds and is 17 inches high with a base of 8.5 by 11 inches. It takes up a lot of space. Be aware of this before you reserve a space on your desk for it.
Canon ImageClass MF743Cdw
Canon ImageClass MF743Cdw
What is it?
A multifunction printer for small offices
Great speed and quality
Below average color copies
The printer prints in duplex color or black and white and supports WiFi and Ethernet connectivity. You can also connect it to a computer via USB. A large 5-inch screen allows you to select various functions and settings and, using the integrated NFC function, connect phones to the printer with a single touch of a button. There is also a USB port on the front of the device for quick printing of documents and photos.
G / O Media can receive a commission
The speed was above average in my tests with about three seconds for black and white prints and seven seconds for color prints. This latter number was definitely affected by a system where the printer spat out three color pages at a time and then warmed up the color toner for the next three pages. Canon estimates about 3,000 prints from the included black toner cartridge and about 2,000 from the color cartridge, although your mileage may vary.
As a standard printer, it works perfectly. It’s one of the few printers I recently tested that connected seamlessly to my home network and was available to all devices in the house, including phones and laptops. This was surprisingly refreshing as I was definitely frustrated trying to get different printers to connect to my local network. The MF743 found my network and stayed connected all the time.
As mentioned above, the speed is average and I was able to get some pretty hefty prints – 50 pages or more – in just a few minutes.
The color quality is excellent Photo: John Biggs / Gizmodo
The screen on the device is large enough to allow you to access the basic functions of the printer. It is best set up in the remote administration system, which essentially turns the printer into a web server. This allows you to enter address book entries for scanner e-mails and faxes, update user profiles, and change settings. If you don’t need to set up this printer for a small office, you can start using it right away and easily ignore the more complex settings.
Canon does not recommend photo paper in this printer, so I’ve tested all of these prints on regular letter-size printer paper. The black and white reproduction was perfect and you won’t find any fault with this model for text documents. Color test prints were surprisingly bright and clear, and I found the color accuracy to be acceptable. Again, it’s not a photo printer, but photos sent directly to the printer from an iPhone were bright and clear.
Prints from photos. Photo: John Biggs / Gizmodo
The copy function was a bit of a let down. I placed a printout of a color test page that I had printed earlier and ran it back through the copier. The result, as you can see, is pretty ragged. Each color was a shade of orange and there were many artifacts caused by the light shining through the print. I also tested the ID copier with a standard driver’s license and a few other cards. The results copied were below average, but legible and, if you’re not picky, suitable for recording. The printer scans at 600 DPI, which should be more than enough, but it looks like the built-in scanning and printing system isn’t working as well as it could.
A copy against a scan. Photo: John Biggs / Gizmodo
Scanning was a whole different story. The scanned images played back beautifully on the computer, and Canon includes the MF Scan utility for scanning from Windows or MacOS. Since it is connected to the network, you can start the scan from anywhere and the results are great. In fact, scanning and printing from a computer may be the only viable method of copying color documents with this printer.
But look: the best place for this printer is in a small office. It’s too much firepower for home use – the paper tray holds 300 sheets, which is absolutely more than even a family with kids could need. For example, if you’re scanning paperwork in a doctor’s office or other professional situation, this is the perfect printer. Since it costs $ 400 and black and white and color toner replacement products are just under $ 100 each, you’d be spending less than a higher-performance copier and printer combo, and this makes almost everything a small office needs. ID and passport scanning are nice add-ons (as long as you scan, not copy), and faxing is, as they say, the icing on the cake of the ’90s pudding pop.
There are a few features that standalone devices could probably do better. For example, if you bought this for the ID scanner and want to print the IDs right away, a separate ID scanner may be the best solution. If you plan to copy a lot of color documents and pictures, this printer has certain limitations. However, if you can easily transfer scans to your computer and then save them or print them as needed, you are definitely in good hands.
Canon makes great photo printers. This is not one of them. This is a powerful workhorse of a printer for small to medium-sized offices. Print quality is fast, economical, and solid, and a significant upgrade from other multifunction printers I’ve seen in this price range.
- Great printing speed.
- Heavy duty paper tray and design.
- Color copies are not great.
- Perfect for a small office.