Canon LaserBase MF8180C Regina SK

Samsung's multifunction peripheral (MFP) reviewed on page 26 is very compact, but its mono-only printer means that the only colour it can produce is from its scanner.

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Canon LaserBase MF8180C

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Samsung's multifunction peripheral (MFP) reviewed on page 26 is very compact, but its mono-only printer means that the only colour it can produce is from its scanner. If you need a laser MFP that can also print and copy colour documents, you'll have to settle for something larger, such as Canon's MF8180C.

The MF8180C is based on Canon's LaserShot LBP-5200 colour laser printer, which we reviewed in What's New, Shopper August 2005. Its flatbed scanner has an automatic document feeder (ADF) that can hold up to 50 sheets for scanning or faxing. It's quite neatly integrated with the printer, but like other colour laser MFPs, the MF8180C is big and heavy.

This MFP is harder than most to set up. With many other laser printer devices, such as Dell's Laser Printer 5110cn reviewed opposite, opening the box reveals a quick setup sheet that guides you through the physical installation. The MF8180C has a more comprehensive booklet, but it isn't the first thing you find as you unpack it.

After removing 23 bits of orange packing tape, the two-line control panel prompted us to insert the photoconductor drum and all four toners. The screen doesn't indicate the orientation of the printer's toner carousel, and we had to refer to the quick setup guide to find out how to rotate the carousel manually via the menu. We had to unlock and remove the printer's fuser before we could pull out a protective paper sheet within it. At least Canon's install program managed to detect the MF8180C over our network.

The MF8180C has modest print speeds of 19 mono pages per minute (ppm) and 4ppm in colour. It fell a little short of its maximum mono speed in our tests, reaching only 16.3ppm when printing 50 copies of our mono letter. Its 3.4ppm speed in our colour Normal Speed test isn't particularly impressive, and it was slow to complete our photo tests.

In black only, print quality was very good. Text was sharp and clear, and our high-resolution black-and-white picture was highly detailed, with precise shading. The printer's colour output was less consistent, though. Our high-resolution tests were above average quality, but our Normal speed and photo tests printed with inaccurate colours. None of the driver's various colour modes seemed to fix the problem.

It was a similar story with photocopies, where black-and-white copies were fine, if a little dark. An impressive amount of detail was captured in colour copies, but the characters in one illustration seemed markedly off-colour. Copying a single colour page took 451/2 seconds, which is unremarkable. Using the ADF, the MF8180C took one minute and 14 seconds to copy a 10-page document in black only, which is fairly fast.

When we came to perform our timed scan tests, we discovered that only the MF8180C's fax and print functions are supported across its network interface. To scan, you'll need to connect via its USB port. This makes the MF8180C less useful in an office workgroup than it might otherwise be. It's disappointing on such an expensive MFP when some much more affordable inkjet MFPs such as HP's Photosmart 3210 can scan over the network. Images captured by the MF8180C seemed quite poorly focused, but its low-resolution scans are fine for basic office archiving.

The MF8180C has reasonable running costs, particularly when printing black pages. However, it's harder to set up than Epson's AcuLaser CX11NF and it doesn't perform as well.

System Specifications

COLOUR LASER MFP 600x600dpi print resolution, 1,200x2,400dpi scan resolution, USB and 10/100 Ethernet interfaces

Author: Simon Handby

Computer Shopper Online