There are printers and then there are printers. We’re all familiar with the small cube-shaped laser printers that spit out a few bake sale flyers or a school book report that are designed to sit on a shelf near your desk at home. Then there are behemoths like Canon’s ImageClass MF743Cdw, a printer that hovers squarely between the average home laser printer and the massive office all-in-one machine.
While this printer won’t collate and staple your projects, it will do almost everything else. It has a built-in scanner—just lift the cover on top, drop your page, and use the built-in LCD screen to send the file to a mobile device, PC, or, if you’re in 1996, a fax machine—and a pair of paper trays, one for odd sizes and another for letter/legal.
This guy is big. It’s a heavy 64 pounds and is 43 inches high with a footprint of 21 x 29 inches. It takes up a lot of space. Be aware of this before you dedicate a spot on your desk for it.
The printer outputs in duplex color or black and white and supports wifi and Ethernet connectivity. You can also connect it to a computer via USB. A generous 5-inch screen lets you choose various functions and settings and you can also use the built-in NFC function to connect phones to the printer with a single tap. There is also a USB port on the front of the device for quick prints of documents and photos.
Speed was above average in my testing with about three seconds per black-and-white print seven seconds for color prints. That latter number that was definitely affected by a system in which the printer spat out three color pages at a time and then warmed up the color toner for the next three pages. Canon estimates about 3,000 prints from the included black toner cartridge and about 2,000 for the color cartridge, although your mileage may vary.
As a standard printer, it works perfectly. It is one of the few printers I’ve tested recently that seamlessly connects to my home network and was available to every device in the house, including phones and laptops. This was surprisingly refreshing, because I’ve definitely experienced frustration trying to get various printers to connect to my local network. The MF743 found my network and stayed connected consistently.
Speed, as mentioned above, is about average and I was able to do some pretty hefty prints—50 pages or more—in a few minutes.
The on-device screen is plenty big enough to access the printer’s basic features. Setup is best performed in the remote admin system that essentially turns the printer into a web server, which then lets you enter address book entries for scanner emails and faxes, update user profiles, and change settings. Unless you are tasked with setting this printer up for a small office, you’ll be able to use it right out the box, and you can easily ignore the more complex settings.
Canon doesn’t recommend photo paper in this printer so I tested all of these prints on regular letter-sized printer paper. Black-and-white reproduction was perfect, and you’ll find no fault in this model for text documents. Color test prints were surprisingly bright and clear and I found the color accuracy to be acceptable. Again, this is not a photo printer, but photos sent from an iPhone directly to the printer came out bright and clear.
The copy feature was a bit of a letdown. I placed a print of a color test page I had printed earlier and ran it back through the copier. The result, as you can see, is pretty ragged. Every color had an orange tinge and there were many artifacts caused by the light shining through the print. I also tested the ID copier on a standard driver’s license and a few other cards. The copied results were sub-par but readable and, if you’re not picky, usable for record-keeping. The printer scans at 600 DPI, which should have been more than enough, but it looks like the onboard scanning and printing system doesn’t work as well as it could.
Scanning was a different story altogether. The scanned images came out wonderfully on the computer, and Canon includes the MF Scan Utility for scanning on Windows or macOS. Because it is network-connected, you can initiate the scan from anywhere and the results are stellar. In fact, scanning and printing from a computer might be the only viable method for copying color documents using this printer.
But, look: The best place for this printer is in a small office. It’s too much firepower for home use—the paper tray holds 300 sheets, which is absolutely way more than even a family with kids needs. If you are, say, scanning paperwork at a doctor’s office or other professional situation, it’s the perfect printer. Because it costs $400, with black-and-white and color toner replacements coming in at just under $100 each, you’d spend less than you would on a more powerful copier/printer combo, and this does almost everything you’d need for a small office. The ID and passport scanning are nice add-ons (as long as you’re scanning and not copying) and the fax feature is, as they say, the icing on the 1990s Pudding Pop.
There are some features that standalone devices could probably do better. If, for example, you bought this for the ID scanner and plan to print the IDs immediately, a separate ID scanner might be the best solution. Or, if you’re planning on copying many color documents and images, there are definite limitations to this printer. But if you’re fine transferring scans to your computer and then storing them or printing them as needed, you’re definitely in good hands.
Canon makes great photo printers. This isn’t one of those. This is a heavy-duty, workhorse of a printer aimed at small- to medium-sized offices. The print quality is fast, economical, and solid, and a definite upgrade to other multi-function printers I’ve seen in this price range.
- Great print speed.
- Heavy-duty paper tray and design.
- Color copies aren’t great.
- Perfect for a small office.