Canon ImageCLASS MF227dw Monochrome Printer Review

A great option for an inexpensive laser multifunction printer

Canon imageCLASS monochrome multifunction printer
Canon imageCLASS monochrome multifunction printer. Photograph courtesy of Canon

When it comes to high-end imaging, one of the brand names that readily comes to mind is Canon. The Japanese imaging giant also makes lower-end imaging devices, such as its Pixma brand photo printers (the Pixma MG6820 comes to mind) and relatively inexpensive entry-level laser-class devices, such as the topic of this review, the ImageCLASS MF227dw.

As inexpensive multifunction laser printers go, this is a pretty good one, comparable to, say, Dell’s E515dw Multifunction Monochrome Printer, and other low-cost laser or laser-class (LED) models available these days. However, a big difference between these two machines is that the Dell MFP has a significantly lower cost per page, discussed a little later on.

Design and Features

Considering the low price, the MF227dw is loaded with features, starting with the 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multipage documents to the scanner. It’s not an auto-duplexing ADF, however; it can’t scan two-sided multipage documents without your having to turn the originals over manually. But I wouldn’t expect to see an auto-duplexing ADF on an under-$200 MFP.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi (wireless), Ethernet (wired), and connecting directly to a single PC via USB (wired). But keep in mind that, since this MFP has no Wi-Fi Direct or Near-Field Communication (NFC) mobile connectivity, in order to connect to cloud sites (and some other mobile options), you’ll need a network connection, as the USB option won’t work.

In addition, you can print from and scan to most Apple and Android devices, smartphones and tablets. At 14.2 inches tall, by 15.4 inches wide, by 14.6 inches from front to back, the MF277dw is petite for a laser printer, to the point that it will probably fit comfortably on the average desktop. Plus, it weighs only 28 pounds, meaning that not only should you find it easy to take out the box and setup, but moving it around for cleaning, to make more room, or whatever, is also easy.

Performance, Print Quality, Paper Handling

Canon rates this MFP at 16 pages per minute (ppm) in duplex (two-sided) mode and about 28ppm simplex (single-sided). But that, of course, is for documents containing only default fonts, little-to-no formatting, and no graphics. Our numbers, when using documents closer to standard business fare, were just under 10ppm duplex and just under 13ppm simplex -- plenty fast enough for an under-$200 printer.

Print quality was about what you’d expect for a monochrome laser printer. Grayscale conversions seemed accurate, text looked good, and the scanner made good copies and scanned text at a good clip. The interface software needed a little tweaking for some scans of photos, but not often and not by enough to make it overly complicated.

As for paper handling, you get a 250-sheet cassette and a 1-sheet override tray for printing 1-up envelopes and other 1-sheet tasks. Printed pages land on the top of the printer, just beneath the ADF.

Cost Per Page

Overall, this is a solid printer, until you do the math on the cost per page (or CPP). Canon offers only one toner cartridge for this printer, Canon Cartridge 137, which yields about 2,400 pages and sells for $84. Using these numbers, we calculated the CPP at 3.5 cents per page. If you print only 100 or so pages each month, that’s not bad. But realistically, if you print any volume at all, say 400 or 500 pages per month or more, then you should be looking at another printer, like the Dell model mentioned previously.

Final Thoughts

This would make a good personal printer if you don’t print much (or if you just don’t care about the expense). The only thing really holding it back is its cost of ownership.