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Canon i-SENSYS MF9170 review

Does this Canon i-SENSYS MF9170 have what it takes to meet the printing needs of SMBs and mid-sized workgroups? We review it to find out.

Cartridge maintenance is easy, as the integrated drum and toner cartridges slide in one above the other in moments, once you've pulled down the front cover. Software support includes remote user interface and departmental ID management, as well as the driver, which is provided for Windows and OSX and is available as a web download for various Linux distributions.

Canon specs the i-SENSYS MF9170 at 21ppm, but we didn't see more than 16.0ppm under test. That was for a 20-page single-sided print, while a five-page document only managed 9.1ppm. There was a few seconds of network latency on the Canon network we tested on, so you might be able to increase these speeds by a couple of pages per minute.

On most duplex printers, you can expect each double-sided age to take longer than two single sides, but we were impressed to see a speed of 13.8 sides per minute on our 20-page document, when printed this way. Duplex copying wasn't as swift, though, with the 20-side document taking 2:53 to complete, a speed of just 6.9spm.

Print quality is very good. Although the default resolution of the machine is a pretty standard 600dpi, text characters look sharp and almost letter-pressed. There's no sign of any jagged edges to curves and diagonals and characters are smooth down to small point sizes. Colour graphics are also bright and dense and registration of black text over solid colour is nearly perfect.

Even our test photo print looked better than many colour laser prints do. Colour transitions are smooth and there's better than average detail in darker, shadowed areas, which often cause problems. There's a slight yellow cast noticeable, but unless you're very picky, it won't cause you any problems.

The 6,000-page drum and toner cartridges are the only consumable in the machine and with these having an SRP of 150 for each colour and 125 for black, the machine should give an ex VAT cost per page of 2.1 pence for black and 9.6 pence for colour. This is reasonable on both counts for a machine in this price bracket.

If you prefer to lease and pay on a per-click basis, Canon's MF1021 is basically the same machine as the i-SENSYS MF9170 and a Canon dealer will be able to negotiate costings for you.

Verdict

This is a small business or medium workgroup multifunction printer with all the trimmings. It can print, scan, copy, fax and handle photo images from card or USB drive.

It can also do all these things duplex, saving paper. It produces good text, graphics and even photo prints and running costs are very reasonable for its class.

In brief: 22ppm black and colour, A4 office colour laser multifunction

Resolution: 600 x 600dpi

Paper handling: 250-sheet paper tray, plus 100-sheet multi-purpose

Duty cycle: Max 65,000 pages, monthly

Connectivity: USB 2, 10/100 Ethernet

Software: NetSpot device installer, Remote User Interface (RUI), Department ID Management

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