Canon’s ImageCLASS MF416dw Black and White Laser

A full-featured, quality monochrome laser

Canon's ImageCLASS MF416DW Black and White Laser Printer
Canon's ImageCLASS MF416DW Black and White Laser Printer. Photo courtesy of Canon

Pros:

  • Good black-and-white print quality
  • Decent print speeds
  • Strong mobile and cloud support
  • Good-looking scans and copies
  • Adobe PostScript 3 and HP PCL6 emulation for greater print shop compatibility
  • Automatic two-sided (duplex) printing and scanning
  • Expandable paper capacity

Cons:

  • Somewhat high CPP for high-volume MFP
  • A bit high priced

Bottom line: Canon’s ImageCLASS MF416dw Black and White Laser prints, copies, and scans great-looking black-and-white documents, but as high-volume printers go, this one costs just a little bit too much to use.

Buy Canon’s ImageCLASS MF416dw at Amazon

Introduction

Earlier this year, Canon released a new stable of multifunction laser printers, starting with a few midrange models, including the ImageClass MF419dw Black and White Printer we reviewed a couple of months ago, as well as the topic of today’s review, the $499-MSRP ($374 street) ImageClass MF416dw Black and White Printer.

The primary difference between the two models (aside from a $200 price difference, that is), is that the MF419dw supports Near-Field Communication, or NFC, for touch-to-print capabilities to your mobile device. Also missing from this less expensive model are drivers for interpreting PostScript files. In any case, NFC is a somewhat useless feature on a monochrome printer—how many of you or your coworkers will be touching your smartphones to the company laser printer (or even the laser printer in your home-based office) for printing black-and-white photos?

In other words, this MF416dw certainly seems like a better deal.

Design and Features

At about 15.4 inches wide, or across, by 18.6 inches from front to back, the MF416dw’s footprint isn’t that big, except that it stands about 17 inches high and weighs about 42.3 pounds, and, frankly, it makes a little noise when its operating.

In other words, it’s not a desktop printer. Besides, if you deploy it in a workgroup environment, it would work out best in a central location. Weighing over 40 pounds, it should be a stout pedestal, though, wherever you put it.

To that end, the MF416dw provide several ways to connect, including Ethernet (wired), Wi-Fi (wireless), and connecting to a single PC via USB. Be careful with that last one, though, because, without a connection to the Internet (which a USB direct connection is not), many of this machine’s mobile- and cloud-oriented features won’t work.

Speaking of mobile connections to the printer, you can connect peer-to-peer with Wi-Fi Direct, and as mentioned, there’s NFC for touch-to-print functionality, which probably isn’t much of an asset for most folks on this printer. And of course, Apple’s AirPrint and many of the other popular mobile and cloud options are supported through Canon PRINT Business.

A 50-sheet auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) lets you scan and copy double-sided, multipage documents without user intervention, and a 3.5-inch color touch display helps you configure it all, as well as manage walk-up, or PC-free, task, such as making copies or scanning to or printing from a USB thumb.

The MF416dw also comes with a good selection of security features, including Department ID Management, which allows you to assign up to 300 IDs for individuals and departments. This, in turn, allows you to not only control whom can print, but it also keeps track of how much each ID prints, for accounting purposes. The Secure Print feature holds documents in the printer’s memory until you or a colleague provide a pin number.

This MFP speaks English, Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and emulates several key page description languages, or PDLs. A PDL is in a sense programming for the printer.

Two of these that can be quite useful are HP’s PCL6 (printer command language) and Adobe’s PostScript. Both of these are used in professional typesetting and printing presses, which should allow you to use your laser printer for limited proofing.

I say limited because no matter what you’re printing, your proof printer can print only in black-and-white. Hence, if your documents contain color, all you can really proof with this printer is text and layout—which is helpful.

In addition to the drivers, software utilities include Network Scan Utility, MF Scan Utility, Presto! PageManager. That last one contains software and utilities for scanning pages and converting them to editable text, PDF, or searchable PDF format. Overall, this is really a feature-rich multifunction printer, at times, as with NFC, to the point of overkill.

Performance, Print Quality, Paper Handling

How fast should a $500 laser printer go? Well, I’ve seen faster, and I’ve seen slower. Canon rates it 35 pages per minute, or ppm, single-sided (simplex) and 17ppm double-sided (duplex). And that’s close to what the tests here came up with, as long as we used straight text documents with about 5 percent coverage and comprised of fonts native to the printer.

The more the text documents deviated from that basic (perfect storm) format, the slower the print speed. Business documents containing heavy text formatting, images and graphics print considerably slower, as much as a third or a fourth of the manufacturer’s rating. Real-world test documents printed at the rate of 8.9 pages simplex and 6.2 pages duplex, which really isn’t bad at all.

Print quality? Frankly, the MF416dw’s documents look about as good as most other laser printers I’ve seen, much closer to the best-looking than the other way around. But keep in mind that we’re talking monochrome here—an environment where the best variation you can get is 256 shades of gray. So, unless sharp-looking type excites you…

Seriously, the MF416dw’s text comes out very near typesetter quality, with very well-shaped characters down to about 6 points, and even then it probably wouldn’t be noticeable to the average person. Business graphics looked good, with well-delineated lines and fills. Photos looked as good as you might expect from a black-and-white laser printer, legible, but hardly exciting.

Out-of-the-box the MF416dw comes with two input sources, a 250-sheet cassette and a 50-sheet multipurpose tray for printing envelopes and other off-size media without having to remove the main paper drawer, emptying it, and then reconfiguring it, thereby taking the printer out service.

If 300 sheets from two sources are not enough, you can buy a 500-sheet paper tray from Canon for about $149, for a total of 800 sheets from three separate input sources, which isn’t bad for versatile paper handling.

Cost Per Page

Perhaps the only real disappointment for this printer is its cost per page, or how much it costs in toner to print each page. As is common, Canon provides two toner cartridges for this printer, a standard and a so-called “high capacity” one. Of course, the higher-priced, higher-yield cartridges provides the lowest CPP, in this case, if you buy them from Canon, they will cost you about $189.

The high capacity cartridge is rated at 6,400 pages. Using these numbers, $189 divided by 6,400, we calculated that the MF416DW’s cost per page is about 2.9 cents—which, frankly, isn’t that good for a $500 printer with a 50,000-page monthly duty cycle. (Duty cycle is, of course, the number of pages the manufacturer says you can push through the printer each month without undue wear.)

I should point out, though, that when I looked around the Net for better pricing, I found the higher-yield cartridge for as low as $140, which lowered the CPP to about 2.2 cents. Ideally, if you’re going to print thousands of pages each month your CPP should be below 2 cents per page, and if you’re not locked into monochrome laser output, for the price of this printer you can get a very fast color inkjet MFP that not only prints text at near-laser quality, but does so for under 1 cent per page. (Brother’s MFC-J5920DW Multifunction Printer with INKvestment comes to mind.)

The End

Without question, the Canon ImageClass MF416DW Black and White Printer is a well-built, sturdy, and well-performing monochrome MFP well worth both its $370 street price, even its $499 MSRP, but the bottom line on this printer is I would like it a whole lot more were toner just a little cheaper on a per-page basis. But, as mentioned earlier, shopping around will yield you good deals on toner and significantly lower your cost per page.

A half-cent difference over the course of a year can cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more than on a machine that prints the same pages at 0.05 cents less. Printing, say, 30,000 pages at a rate a half-cent higher will cost you an additional $150; if you print 30K pages each month, that comes out to $1,800 each year, or several times the cost of this printer.

That in mind then, unless the extra $1,800 doesn’t matter to you or your business (it’s worth that much and more for some folks to get this level of quality and dependability), I suggest you look at this as more of midrange, low-volume solution. In any case, despite that one caveat, this is a great little printer.

Buy Canon’s ImageCLASS MF416dw at Amazon