Sold as the Canon imageCLASS MF653Cdw in the USA, and the Canon i-SENSYS MF655Cdw in Europe, this is the mid-range model from Canon’s MF650 series of color laser printers, designed for small business and the home office. As such, it features an ADF (Auto Document Feeder) which is lacking in the base model, as well as a faster turn of speed. On the other hand, it lacks a direct fax facility and single-pass duplex scanning, which are only featured in the range-topping printer.
Like any laser printer, it’s certainly not a good fit for photo printing but is ideal for creating mono and color documents, where you want crisp, finely detailed text and bold color and graphics. Further advantages include good resistance to smudging, whether from a coffee mug or the use of highlighter pens.
Toner: Individual CMYK, standard/high yield options
Max print size: Letter / A4
Max print resolution: 1200x1200dpi
Print speed: 21ppm (10.5 seconds first page)
Scan speed: Up to 27ipm mono, 14ipm color
Paper input: 250-sheet cassette, 1-sheet manual slot, 50-sheet ADF
Display screen: 5-inch color touchscreen
Interfaces: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX/1000Base-T, Wireless 802.11b/g/n, Wireless Direct
Dimensions (with trays, WxDxH): 451x460x360mm
Considering its competitive selling price, the printer is rich in features. It boasts automatic duplex (double-sided) printing, complete with a high-capacity 250-sheet input cassette that slots neatly into the base of the printer. There’s also a slot built into the front panel for hand-feeding specialist media. Print resolution tops out at 1200dpi, enabling finely detailed output.
Up on top, there’s a 600dpi color scanner, which can operate at up to 9600dpi in ‘enhanced’ mode with software interpolation. Direct access to the scanning platen is via a hinged lid but the printer also includes a motorized ADF with a 50-sheet capacity. This supports scanning and copying for both single-sided and double-sided pages, the latter feeding each page twice. Duplex scanning therefore takes about twice as long as with the range-topping model, which scans both sides of a page in one pass, but it’s nevertheless a fully automated and fairly speedy process.
The printer has a good range of connectivity options built in, including USB 2.0, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi direct. An additional USB 2.0 port enables you to print and scan directly from or to a memory stick. Going further, the printer has built-in cloud connectivity, supporting the likes of Google Drive, OneDrive and DropBox, so you can print remotely stored documents and scan pages direct to cloud-based locations. You can also print and scan from your smartphone, using the Canon PRINT Business app for Apple and Android devices.
Build and handling
Typical of Canon printers, this one feels solid and well engineered. Indeed, it’s no lightweight, weighing in at 22.6kg. It’s reasonably compact for a color laser printer complete with ADF, measuring 451mm wide, 460mm deep and 360mm high, with the trays extended. That said, ‘extending the trays’ doesn’t really add to the size, as the paper input cassette and output tray are self-contained within the printer.
The 250-sheet input cassette is easy to use, with quickly adjustable guides for different sizes of paper, and the same goes for the single-sheet manual input feeding slot. The scanner platen is easy to get at for scanning or copying fragile single pages or photos, whereas the 50-sheet ADF is similarly easy to use, again with adjustable paper guides.
A core handling bonus is the 5-inch color LCD touchscreen. It gives direct access to an intuitive interface that makes short work of printing, copying and scanning tasks. It also enables you to create shortcuts for often repeated jobs, as well as adding further functionality by downloading apps from Canon’s App Library. For the security conscious, there’s an option of adding PIN numbers to protect sensitive documents.
The printer makes the most of its 1200dpi print engine to deliver finely detailed graphics and crisp text, so there’s literally no problem ‘reading the small print’. Warm-up time from power-on can be an issue for laser printers, as the fusing section that bakes the toner onto the paper needs to get up to temperature. In this case though, that takes just 13 seconds.
Print speed for full A4/letter pages is a quick 21ppm (pages per minute) for both mono and color pages. That goes for copying via the ADF, as well as for printing. Auto duplex double-sided printing and copying works out at 12.7ppm, which is still very respectable for a color laser at this price. First-page printout from the printer’s standby mode takes around 10 seconds or less.
For print volumes, Canon recommends a monthly duty cycle of 250 to 2,500 pages per month, with a maximum of 30,000 pages per month. The printer ships with a standard capacity black toner cartridge, capable of around 1,350 pages of mono output. The color cyan, magenta and yellow ‘setup’ cartridges have rather less longevity, rated at just 680 pages. That’s only about half the standard capacity of 1,250 pages.
When it comes to replacing toner cartridges, Canon offers high-yield options of its 067 cartridges for black and all three colors. These are available individually and are good for 3,130 mono pages and 2,350 color pages. The cost for standard cartridges is around £69/$66 for black and £77/$79 for each color cartridge, whereas the high-yield options cost around £105/$100 across the board. As you’d expect, the high-yield cartridges bring a reduction in toner cost per page, bringing the price down from around 5.1p/7.8c to 3.4p/3.2c for mono printing, and from 18.5p/19c to 13.4p/13.3c for color. That’s pretty reasonable, again considering the competitive initial purchase price of the printer.
For printing, scanning and copying, this color laser printer covers all the bases. It’s competitively priced and has reasonable running costs, along with excellent connectivity options, an intuitive color touchscreen interface and a decent turn of speed. It ticks all of the right boxes for the home office or small business environment, making it a good choice when you need to look good on paper.
Read more: find your next printer with our guides to the best Canon printer, the best all-in-one printer for home and office.