Printer: Canon imageClass MF8280Cw

The bulky Canon imageClass MF8280Cw is the largest printer in this round-up.

Weighing a back-breaking 26kg, it appears more appropriate for the office than the home. However, it lacks the features which would have made it perfect.

For instance, it does not support duplex printing. Its paper tray, which has a holding capacity of 150 pages, is quite limited, although it is perhaps sufficient for a small office.

Depending on the print volume, you should be prepared to refill the tray daily. It is relatively convenient to scan, copy or fax multiple pages, as there is a 50-page automatic document feeder.

What the Canon has in abundance are physical buttons.

At the start, this can be quite overwhelming. However, once you are used to them, they make sense as useful short cuts to functions which are frequently used. However, I would have preferred a Wi-Fi Protected Set-up button instead of having this feature buried within the network settings.

There is no support for Wi-Fi Direct, so the Canon must connect to an existing Wi-Fi network before documents can be printed from a mobile device. Google Print and Apple AirPrint are supported.

Canon has a couple of mobile printer apps - choose the Canon Mobile Printing app (iOS and Android).

It has serious limitations, although it looks sleek and modern.

You will need Internet access (via Wi-Fi) to print Microsoft Office documents or PDF files directly from your mobile device. Basically, the app communicates with Canon's servers to convert and print such files.

Canon also suggests that users print a screenshot or photo of an e-mail or convert the e-mail to PDF format as the app cannot print the e-mail text directly.

On a related note, the printer cannot read or print PDF files from an attached USB drive.

While part of the overall experience, the mobile app's limitations should not unduly affect the printer's actual performance. Print speed is as advertised - a fairly average

14 pages per minute for colour or black and white.

More importantly, print quality is good, especially for photos and graphics. I would rate it as second best, only behind the HP printer.

However, the cost of printing black and white is the highest here, at about 6 cents per page.

On the other hand, colour printing is surprisingly affordable at about 20 cents per page. The drum is integrated with the toner, so there is no extra cost.

The toner included with the printer is good for only 800 pages, compared with 1,400 pages (black) and 1,500 pages (colour) for the standard versions.

It strikes a good balance between print speed and quality, but it is relatively expensive for black-and-white prints. TECH SPECS

Price: $599

Yield: Up to 1,400 standard pages per cartridge (black) and 1,500 pages per cartridge (colour)

Print resolution: Up to 600 x 600 dots per inch

Speed: Up to 14 pages per minute (black), 14 pages per minute (colour)

Tested speed: 14 pages per minute (black), 14 pages per minute (colour)

RATING

Features: 4/5

Design: 3/5

Performance: 4/5

Value for money: 3/5

Overall: 4/5


This article was first published on Oct 29, 2014.
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