Canon i-Sensys MF735Cx
This is a fairly large unit for an A4 printer with no provision for A3 paper, but it does offer a lot of features at its recommended price point of £599 (around $800). Printing, scanning, copying and faxing are the four basic functions of a 4-in-1 multifunction device, but Canon has included some sophisticated extras in the shape of a 5-inch tilting color touchscreen, a dual-sided document scanner, a 50-sheet multi-purpose tray and a deep 250-page paper tray.
A set of four toner cartridges is included and Canon has increased their yield, so you can expect to churn out a claimed 6,300 black and white pages, or 5,000 color documents before running out of toner.
The idea is to keep your staff members working quickly, and that’s achieved by the impressive 27 ppm print rate, but further boons to productivity include dual-sided scanning, duplex printing and the ability to create shortcut buttons on the touchscreen. Using the virtual interface, you can edit the buttons that appear and add one to trigger a command that you use often, such as printing a particular commonly-needed document.
Design and build
The Canon i-Sensys MF735Cx can stand on a desk in this basic configuration we’re reviewing, but it has a big footprint for an A4 model, and if you add the optional 550-page paper tray, it will certainly want its own low table. With all of its flaps folded away, it looks like a neat and considered design.
It’s a lot smaller than A3 MFD’s like the high-end Xerox VersaLink C7020, but the form factor is similar. Aside from the dual-sided document scanner on top, you lift to reveal the scanner bed in the same way, and documents are delivered into the middle of the machine. The main paper tray is a drawer at the bottom, while a flap at the front reveals the 50-sheet multi-purpose tray.
Behind the front flap is a second drop-down flap which reveals the drawers of toner, which were pre-installed in our case. Another flap at the rear of the machine gives you access in the event of a paper jam.
Connectivity includes an Ethernet port, modem ports for faxing, and both Type-A and Type-B USB ports. There’s another USB 3.0 port at the front, but no provision for an SD card, as you might find on Canon’s consumer inkjet models.
There’s not much this fully featured four-in-one MFD cannot do, once you rule out printing on A3 paper of course. Envelopes, glossy photo paper and all kinds of paper stock seem to fit somewhere, and sensors in each tray successfully identify where you loaded your latest document or sheet.
This machine can print at an impressive top speed of 27 ppm, and it can print on both sides of the page, while scanning is also dual-sided. This is a more exotic feature and it works well here, saving a lot of time when you have a pile of double-sided pages to duplicate.
You can send scans to a USB stick, email, or the cloud, and you can even set up a shortcut on the touchscreen in order to allow you to do this at any time with just a couple of button presses. Photos can be scanned at an enhanced resolution of 9,600 x 9,600 dpi, which beats most laser MFDs.
If continuous printing is important to your business, then the MF735Cx will impress with its 250-sheet capacity (expandable to 800 with an extra drawer) and 50-sheet multifunction tray, while the toner cartridges can print 6,500 mono pages, or 5,000 in color before needing replacement.
Setup and operation
Setup is fairly straightforward and should not require IT support so long as you set up your profile successfully and follow prompts from the touchscreen interface.
The display is sharp and colorful, but frustratingly insensitive when it comes to typing. You are frequently asked to type in ID and PIN details, but you have to be very slow and precise, and, above all, patient when doing this, or your finger-press won’t be registered.
For more fine tuning and preference setting you can type the machine’s IP address into your browser and use your computer and Canon’s virtual interface, which is slightly more user-friendly.
The companion app for portable devices, called Canon Print Business, offers the slickest user interface, and it is, of course, a free download. If you’re using Android, you can simply touch your smartphone or tablet on the printer’s NFC sensor to sync devices and print documents. iPhone users are also catered for, but with no NFC, you need to call up the printer’s QR code on the touchscreen, so that you can scan it and thereby sync the two devices.
Like so many laser printers, the MF735Cx can turn out remarkably faithful black and white pages, and at a remarkable speed. However, at up to 27 ppm, this is one of the fastest we’ve come across, and it’s hard to find fault with its crisp copies.
Color documents appear just as quickly and look no less consistent, although when it comes to photographs, the colors tend to look blocky and less vibrant. Even on glossy photo paper, photographs tend to look flat. It’s actually much better at scanning photos because in Enhanced mode, the capture resolution is so high.
We especially liked the way this device can scan and copy both sides of a document, which could save a lot of time if you have a stack of two-sided pages to copy. And then there’s the customizable touchscreen, which allowed us to add buttons that could complete pre-programmed tasks, like scanning to email, by hitting that personalized command.
Our only real problem with Canon’s MF735Cx is its unintuitive user interface coupled with an unresponsive touchscreen. This meant that some of the time saved by fast-printing and dual-sided scanning was lost by mistyping PINs and passwords using the sluggish on-screen keypad.
This speedy multifunction laser printer is well suited to busy small and medium-sized offices due to its high capacity for ink and paper, and its prompt warm-up and print speeds.
Tricks like dual-sided scanning and the ability to add shortcut commands to its touchscreen are also features that translate directly into time saved at the printer. The touchscreen and interface leave room for improvement, but they’re not enough of a niggle to stop us recommending the Canon i-Sensys MF735Cx to any SMB.
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