Canon i-Sensys MF4690PL

If you're looking for fast scan to print copying from your workgroup laser, this Canon is worth considering.

IT Pro Verdict

This is a competent multifunction printer, particularly strong on print and fax, but not so good on copying, if that involves greyscale material. Running costs are reasonable and with only a single consumable maintenance costs should stay low. The slightly odd, front design can make feeding special media awkward.

The laser multifunction market continues to grow, as more and more businesses see the advantage of combining copying and printing functions in the same device, with scanning and faxing for good measure. Canon has a lot of multifunction machines in its range and the i-Sensys MF4690PL is at the high end of its latest batch of releases.

This machine has a comparatively small footprint, though it's deeper than most because of a strange design choice. Rather than having the control panel stick out the front of the machine, this one has it supported on two columns, which gives an overall effect of having a dark-grey cowl round the front of the machine. It makes it a bit more awkward to load the 250-sheet paper tray and a lot more difficult to use the 10-sheet multi-purpose tray, whose guides now reside some 100mm inside the cowl.

The Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) has a steeply raked feed tray, looking something like a shark's fin and it can take 35 pages for longer copy and fax jobs. The flatbed scanner can handle 24-bit colour at a maximum optical resolution of 600ppi, though with enhancement this reaches 9,600ppi.

Although the printer has plenty of functions, Canon has managed to keep the control panel commendably simple to use. The 2-line by 16-character LCD display is backlit, with three control buttons in front for navigating menus and three behind for mode selection. To the right is a fax number pad and to the left is a set of seven quick-dial numbers for frequently used recipients. The Start and Stop buttons are large and at the right-hand end of the panel and a series of controls, such as enlargement, brightness and document type, range along a silver panel at the back of the main controls.

There's a dual-purpose USB socket positioned under the control panel on the right, which enables scanning of documents directly to a USB drive as PDF files and printing or faxing of documents from a PDF.

Software provided with the i-Sensys MF4690PL includes PageManager and OmniPage, well respected applications for document management and OCR, respectively. There's also the CanonMF Toolbox, giving quick and easy access to e-mail, OCR scanning and the production of PDF documents.