Canon i-Sensys LBP7780Cx review

The controls are limited, but that’s offset by fast print speeds, good output quality and low running costs

Price
£362
  • Simple installation; Super fast duplex print speeds;
  • Fiddly settings management; Cloud print setup takes ages;

Canon's flagship A4 laser, the i-Sensys LBP7780Cx, is one of the more expensive workgroup models on the market but over time it pays for itself with low running costs. Add in 32ppm colour printing, a fast duplex speed and a beefy recommended duty cycle of 5,000 pages per month, and you have a laser geared up for print-hungry users.

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It's well built and, although its user interface isn't exactly intuitive, the control panel and monochrome LCD display are clearly explained in the user manual. Gigabit Ethernet comes as standard, but wireless support requires an optional TP-Link TL-WA890EA external Wi-Fi adapter, which costs around 24.

Canon's discovery routine makes installation easy, and while the web management interface looks dated, it gives a straightforward view of the toner cartridges, waste bottle and paper trays, along with a list of detected errors.

From the Settings page, you can alter the deep-sleep timer and set the printer to shut down at a specific time every day. Network settings such as FTP access can also be configured, although almost every change requires the printer to be power- cycled before it takes effect.

The LBP7780Cx's weak suit is security: all you can do is create alist of IP addresses that permits access from specific workstations. You can't restrict colour printing for specific users, nor decide who can use the front USB port. Active Directory authentication isn't supported either.

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Inserting a 32GB SD card into the slot next to the network port activates the Secure Print and Store driver functions. This allowed us to assign PINs to print jobs and store documents on the SD card for printing from the web console or the control panel. Users without a printer driver can log in to the web interface and access the Direct Print option for PDF, PS, XPS and image files. You can also print files received by email or via FTP.

The printer supports Canon's MEAP (multifunctional embedded application platform), allowing it to run custom Java apps. We tried to test this using Canon's Google Cloud Print app, but setup was so tedious it was quicker to add the LBP7780Cx to our account as a classic printer.

Print speeds are variable. Our 32-page mono Word document was delivered in one minute and, no matter what we printed, the time to first page was never more than 11 seconds. But colour speeds weren't so impressive: our complex 24-page DTP document printed at 24ppm, in both General and Publication driver modes.

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The integral duplexer is a star performer, though. It took only 68 seconds to print our 32-page Word document only eight seconds longer than single-sided printing. And this printer won't cost the earth to run; Canon's 12,000-page black and 6,400-page colour cartridges deliver a mono page for 1p and colour for only 6.6p.

Print quality seals the deal, with razor-sharp text down to the smallest of font sizes and plenty of detail revealed in the darker areas of our test mono photos. Colour photos were equally detailed, with the driver's Vivid Photo setting producing vibrant colours with only faint banding, while the Presentation setting delivered high-quality colour reports.

The lack of user-access management and colour-printing controls counts against the Canon and its MEAP support will be of limited value to small businesses. However, it earns credit for its fast printing and duplexing, super output quality and commendably low running costs.

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This review first appeared in PC Pro magazine issue 253

Verdict

The lack of user-access management and colour-printing controls counts against the Canon and its MEAP support will be of limited value to small businesses. However, it earns credit for its fast printing and duplexing, super output quality and commendably low running costs.

600 x 600dpi A4 colour laser

32ppm colour/mono

768MB RAM

2 x USB2

Gigabit Ethernet

500-sheet input tray

100-sheet MPT

Duplex

Monthly duty cycle, 1,250-5,000 pages

517 x 530 x 401 (WDH)

31kg

1yr on-site warranty

Options: wireless adapter, £24 exc VAT; 500-sheet tray, £335 exc VAT

RUNNING COSTS

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