Canon i-Sensys MF4730 review

Inkjet printers may be very versatile, but a recent news report revealed that the ink they use is seven times more expensive than vintage champagne. Home workers and small businesses that simply want an affordable black-and-white printer will probably be much better off with a laser printer instead.

Canon’s new MF4730 is very much aimed at the home office and small businesses, and at just £120.00, is one of the most affordable laser printers we’ve seen so far. To add extra value for money, the MF4730 is also a multifunction device that includes a 600dpi scanner, copier and 35-sheet document feeder too.

Things got off to a slightly rocky start, though, as there was no Mac software included on the three CDs we found in the box, and little help for Mac users in the thick printed manual. We ended up having to look around on Canon’s web site in order to locate the Mac software we needed, which doesn’t make a great first impression.

Fortunately, the MF4730 performed well once we’d installed the Mac software, and its 600dpi print resolution produced smooth, sharp text and graphics. Our tests produced a speed of 15 pages per minute, rather than the 23ppm claimed by Canon, but that’s still perfectly adequate for most home workers and many small businesses. The printer also has a good size 250-sheet output tray, and it starts printing quickly too, turning out its first page in a snappy eight seconds.

Running costs are lower than most inkjet printers. The MF4730 is sold with a ‘starter’ cartridge that lasts for about 1000 pages. Replacement toner cartridges cost about £33, but have a higher yield of around 2100 pages, which works out at a very reasonable 1.6p per page.

The low cost of the MF4730 means that there are few frills – it’s USB-only, with no network connectivity. However, there is another model called the MF4780 that includes wifi and a fax machine for about £160.00.

OUR VERDICT

If you need a colour printer for photos or presentation graphics then an inkjet printer may still be the better option. However, people who simply need an affordable mono printer for their business documents will find that the MF4730 provides good quality and performance, along with very reasonable running costs.

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