Multi-function Workgroup Printers

Canon is one of the more environmentally aware companies out there - it does compactness and economy as well as anyone. The i-Sensys MF4150 carries on this tradition, packing print, fax, copy and scan functionality - as well as other productivity features - into an impressively small form factor.

The company also loves technology, but not for technology's sake. The 4150 comes with the hallmark all-in-one toner cartridge, which integrates the photosensitive unit, electrostatic charger, cleaner and other core elements that tend to wear out rapidly and require episodic maintenance. This means when you replace the cartridge you eliminate the need for servicing, thus reducing running costs over time. The cartridge costs 45, and has a lifespan of 2,000 pages, a CPP of 0.022.

The MF4150's stated first-page to print time (for a text document at about five per cent ink coverage) is 9.6 seconds, but it took 11.5 seconds on our test, and this rose to 43 seconds on our killer test file. However, its printing speed of 20ppm stood up across all document types, as did its time to first copy (9.6 seconds) and its copy speed (20 copies per minute). We found the quality of its mono output to be crisp and balanced, and the best on test.

It also offers decent productivity features for a laser of its class, including a 35-sheet automatic document feeder, as well as double-sided printing.

Nevertheless, where the MF4150 falls down is on its networkability; it ships with USB 2.0 interface only. However, for 123 you can buy the Canon-optimised AXIS 1650 Print Server, which provides a networked printing, fax and scanning solution. Protocols that it supports include TCP/IP, IPX/SPX,and IP. Although it is compatible with USB 2.0, it communicates using USB 1.1, which at 12Mpbs is 40 times slower.

The AXIS takes the MF4150's overall price up to 422 - 92 more than the Brother MFC-8860DN, the only other mono laser on test, and one that offers a compelling network solution out of the box.

Somewhat bizarrely, although the MF4150 is allegedly PC and Mac compatible, its scan function works on PC platforms only. Although there are Mac print and fax drivers for the MF4150, the bundled MF Toolbox scan software is PC only. Why only partially market a MFP in this way? It makes no sense, as it takes the 'multi' out of MFP.

The MF4150 comes with a one-year on-site warranty, and it costs 96 to extend this to three years.


Decent mono performance and quality but not network ready, so more of a SoHo machine.