The entry-level multifunction Canon Color imageClass MF644Cdw ($399.99) delivers a rich feature set, decent print speeds, and above-average output quality for small to midsize offices and workgroups. It should also serve well as a personal color laser printer. It lacks the expandable paper input capacity and costs somewhat more to use than our most recent all-in-one Editors' Choice, Epson's inkjet-based WorkForce Pro WF-C5790 color laser alternative. The same goes for its beefier sibling, the Color imageClass MF731Cdw. But for lower-volume print and copy environments of, say, 200 to 300 pages monthly, the MF644Cdw is a solid-value all-in-one printer.
At 16.5 by 16.9 by 16.5 inches (HWD) and weighing 48.4 pounds, the MF644Cdw is similar in size and girth to its MF634Cdw predecessor or Brother's closely configured MFC-L3770CDW (Editors' Choice recipients, both), though the abovementioned Epson is lighter and somewhat smaller with its trays closed. These entry-level machines might sit comfortably next to your PC on your desktop, but when you move up to a more robust color laser AIO such as the Canon MF731Cdw or PCMag's latest midrange favorite, Lexmark's MC2535adwe, you'll likely need a larger and sturdier surface like a countertop or dedicated printer stand.Our Experts Have Tested 53 Products in the Printers Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)
Like most of the machines mentioned here so far, the MF644Cdw sends multipage documents to the scanner via a 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF). Its single-pass auto-duplexer captures both sides of two-sided pages simultaneously. Of the AIOs discussed here, the Lexmark has a reversing auto-duplexer that captures one side, pulls the sheet back in, flips it, and then scans the other side, while the MF731Cdw supports only manual duplexing, which obliges you to flip the stack of originals yourself.4.0Excellent $968.40See Itat AmazonRead Our Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5790 Network Multifunction Color Printer Review 4.0Excellent Read Our Brother MFC-L3770CDW Review 4.0Excellent Read Our Lexmark MC2535adwe Review 4.0Excellent $549.98See Itat AmazonRead Our Canon Color imageClass MF731Cdw Review 4.5Outstanding $379.99See Itat Office Depot® & OfficeMax®Read Our Brother MFC-J6945DW INKvestment Tank Color Inkjet All-In-One Printer Review 4.0Excellent $405.00See It at AmazonRead Our Canon imageClass MF269dw Review 4.0Excellent $279.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Canon Pixma G6020 MegaTank All-in-One Printer Review 4.0Excellent $499.99See Itat Dell TechnologiesRead Our Epson EcoTank ET-4760 All-In-One Printer Review4.0Excellent $429.51See Itat AmazonRead Our Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 Small-in-One Printer Review
Another feature that many office-centric color AIOs have going for them nowadays are control panels with relatively large, sometimes customizable color touch screens. This Canon offers a 5-inch display that lets you (or your IT person) create separate panels or task-specific shortcuts for jobs such as scanning to or printing from a cloud site for individual users or departments.
Canon calls these tasks the Application Library, and you can configure them from the control panel or from the MF644Cdw's built in web portal, a web site providing intricate controls over every aspect of the printer, including monitoring consumables, generating and printing usage reports, or setting security parameters.
Paper handling consists of one 250-sheet cassette and a single-sheet override tray for printing envelopes and other one-off media that would otherwise require emptying and reconfiguring the main paper source. This is 100 sheets more than the MF634Cdw, but 50 sheets less than the MF731Cdw, which is expandable to 850 sheets. The Brother MFC-L3770CDW holds 350 sheets but is not expandable, while the Epson holds 330 sheets expandable to 830 and the Lexmark 251 expandable to 1,451.
The Color imageClass MF644Cdw's suggested monthly print volume is 2,500 pages, the same as its predecessor and the WorkForce Pro. The Brother and the Canon MF731Cdw beat it by 1,000 and 1,500 pages respectively, while the MC2535adwe is tops with a recommended volume of 8,500 pages per month.
Standard interfaces are 1000BaseT Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, USB 2.0 for plugging in a single PC, and the peer-to-peer protocol Wi-Fi Direct for printing to mobile devices with no local area network (LAN) handy. If these methods aren't available, you can always print from or scan to thumb drives and other USB storage devices via a port located to the left of the output tray.
Other mobile connectivity options include Apple AirPrint, Mopria for Android, Google Cloud Print, and Canon Print Business. The last allows you to print from and scan to most popular cloud sites from your Android or iOS handheld, as well as printing and scanning double-sided documents and much more.
In addition to standard IP and other network security options, the MF644Cdw also supports Secure Print for keeping prying eyes away from sensitive documents with personal identification numbers (PINs), as well as department and individual passwords to define (or deny) access to specific functions such as printing in color.
Canon rates the MF644Cdw at 22 pages per minute (ppm) for single-sided prints, which is on the high side of average for an entry-level machine. However, since like most Canon laser AIOs, its default setting is to print two-sided pages, I measured both its one-sided (simplex) and two-sided (duplex) print speeds. I ran my tests via Ethernet using our standard Intel Core i5 testbed running Windows 10 Pro.
The MF644Cdw churned out our 12-page Microsoft Word test document at an average speed of 13.2ppm in duplex mode and 22.8ppm in simplex mode. These scores beat its MF634Cdw sibling by a mere 0.3ppm for two-sided prints and 3.9ppm for one-sided pages, but they trailed the higher-volume MF731Cdw by 8ppm duplex and 6.6ppm simplex.
The Lexmark MC2535adwe also defaults to two-sided prints, and it bested the MF644Cdw by 4ppm in duplex and by a whopping 17ppm in simplex mode.
Neither the Brother MFC-L3770CDW nor the Epson WF-C5790 come out of the box ready to print two-sided pages, so we have only their simplex results in our database. They were respectively 4ppm and 6ppm quicker with the Word document than today's Canon test unit.
Continuing my tests, I clocked the MF644Cdw as it printed a series of complex color Adobe Acrobat PDFs, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and full-page charts and graphs, and PowerPoint handouts containing business graphics and colored type at various weights and colors. I combined these results with those from printing our text document and came up with an overall speed of 9.4ppm for duplex and 16.3ppm for simplex pages. That beat all the other models here except for the Epson WF-C5790 and Lexmark MC2535adwe, both of which managed over 17ppm for one-sided pages.
Like that of the MF634Cdw and MF731Cdw, the Canon MF644Cdw's output quality is above average. The common serif and sans-serif fonts in our tests reproduced at near-typesetter quality, down to well beyond what I could see without magnification. Even with magnification, type looked well-shaped and crisp down to about 4 points, more than acceptable for most business and desktop publishing applications. As for graphics, at close inspection I saw some hardly perceptible banding in a few Excel charts with dark gradient backgrounds, but overall pages were great-looking, too.
In addition, photo output was a little better than what I usually see from color lasers. You shouldn't expect the MFC644Cdw to match the photo quality of most inkjet printers, but colors are accurate and vibrant and detail is better than average, with little to no graininess or other notable issues.
A common problem among low-end and midrange color laser AIOs is a mismatch between their volume ratings and their per-page cost of use. If you were actually to print this Canon's recommended volume rating of 2,500 pages each month, you'd spend hundreds if not thousands of extra dollars compared to higher-volume (more expensive) laser AIOs and inkjet laser alternatives.
When you buy Canon's highest-yield toner cartridges, the Color imageClass MF644Cdw's cost per page comes out to about 3.2 cents for monochrome and 16.4 cents for color prints. These are among the highest costs of all the AIOs discussed here, with the MF634Cdw running about the same while the beefier MF731Cdw costs about a penny less and Brother's MFC-L3770CDW about 0.6 cent less.
The higher-end Lexmark MC2335adwe delivers black prints (the type most businesses print most often) for almost 2 cents less than the MF644Cdw, as does the Epson WF-C5790. The latter also produces color prints at about half the cost of the Canon. At that rate, every 5,000 color pages you print will cost you an additional $400, matching the list price of the MF644Cdw.
When you print only a few hundred pages each month, slightly higher running costs aren't consequential. And in that regard, given its impressive output quality and feature set, the Canon MF644Cdw makes sense for small enterprises with moderate print and copy volume requirements—especially if your application calls for laser (toner) output. If it doesn't, the Epson WF-C5790 makes sense for medium-volume duty, just as the Lexmark MC2535adwe is a deserving favorite for busier environments. Otherwise, the MF644Cdw is a practical choice.4.0See It$575.49 at AmazonMSRP $399.99View More
Canon's Color imageClass MF644Cdw laser printer delivers high-quality output at relatively fast speeds, making it a good choice for low-volume print and copy applications.
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