IT Pro 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.
Colour laser printing used to be confined to graphics and marketing departments or top floor management, but increasingly it's seen as a standard tool in all parts of business.
Canon's i-SENSYS MF9170 is designed for small businesses or medium-sized workgroups and adds colour copying and faxing to its colour print facilities. It can also print, scan and copy in duplex mode, giving potential costs savings by using both sides of each sheet of paper.
This is a substantial machine, but still mountable on a desk or stand. It also sits quite tall, at 632mm, because its colour print engine is mounted vertically inside the case. Paper feeds from a standard 250-sheet paper tray, or from the fold-down 100-sheet multi-purpose tray above, to the top surface of the print section of the machine. There's an optional 500-sheet tray, which fits beneath the machine if you need more paper storage than this.
The control panel sits out as a self-contained unit, with a 89mm colour LCD panel set into its front. This is used to display settings and menu options and is operated with a series of buttons and one of Canon's click-wheels, which many of the company's inkjet customers will recognise from its PIXMA all-in-ones. The wheel on the MF9170 is a little too sensitive and it's all too easy to overshoot the option you're trying to select.
Unusually for a colour laser multifunction, the control panel module has sockets down both its sides, with twin USB sockets for USB drives down the right and camera memory card slots for CompactFlash, SD and MemoryStick cards. The machine recognises TIF and JPG files and can display thumbnails, so you can select and print directly, without having to work from a PC. Pages can also be scanned directly to memory cards in several formats, including Canon's compressed PDF.
The scanner comes complete with a 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), which, like the printer, can flip each page over. The ADF is intelligent enough to flip pages back again, when doing a duplex copy, so keeping source documents properly collated. Scans, at up to 600dpi resolution, are fine for OCR and scanning photo prints.