Most people already have an inkjet printer at home, and inkjets are a great choice for casual printing needs – they’re not spectacularly fast, but they can provide good quality for both colour and black-and-white printing.
But, of course, more and more people are now working from home on a regular or full-time basis, and may need a printer that can handle a heavier workload, as well as providing top-quality text and graphics for business documents.
A laser printer is a traditional choice for many businesses, and there are now several affordable mono laser printers designed for people who are working from home or in smaller offices. However, it’s only relatively recently that colour laser printers have also come down in price to the point where home users can afford them too.
Canon’s new i-Sensys range of colour laser printers is very much designed for the home office or smaller businesses and could be a perfect choice.
Design & Build
Colour laser printers tend to be big and bulky because of the need to squeeze in four large cartridges containing the different colours of toner power – cyan, magenta, yellow and black (known as ‘CMYK’).
The LBP623Cdw is certainly a lot larger than a conventional inkjet printer, but it’s still one of the most compact colour laser printers we’ve come across. It measures 287x430x418mm, which is just about small enough to fit onto my desk at home. It’ll need to be a fairly sturdy desk, though, as the printer weighs a full 15.5kg.
Getting started is very straightforward, as the four toner cartridges are already installed, and all you need to do is install the printer software provided on CD-ROM, or download it from Canon’s website.
You’re free to place it wherever you want too, as the printer includes a standard USB interface, along with both Wi-Fi and Ethernet for connecting to your home or office network. So if you have no space on your desk then don’t worry too much.
Specs & Features
The LBP623Cdw is a high-quality laser printer that provides 600dpi printing – enhanced by the driver software to what Canon claims is equivalent to 1200dpi – with a top speed of 21 pages per minute for both mono and colour printing.
The less expensive LBP621Cw only provides single-sided printing, but the LBP623Cdw provides two-sided (duplex) printing, including a handy ‘booklet’ mode that allows you to fold A4 pages in half to print small booklets and manuals.
The main paper tray in the base of the printer holds 250-sheets of paper, and it can handle print volumes of up to 2,500 pages per month, which should be more than enough for most home workers and small businesses. There’s also a slot at the back that allows you to manually insert envelopes or heavier types of paper.
As well as including driver software for PCs and Macs, the LBP623Cdw supports Apple’s AirPrint for iOS devices, Mopria for Android, Google Cloud Print, and Canon’s own PRINT app. There are some handy bonus features too, including a SecurePrint option that keeps documents away from prying eyes by pausing the print-out until you actually walk to the printer and enter a security PIN.
The one potential deal-breaker, of course, is the fact this is a single-function printer only, so it doesn’t include a scanner as well – although Canon does have a multifunction model called the MF640, starting at around £240.
One of the advantages of laser printers is that they are faster than inkjets, and Canon quotes a print speed for the LBP623Cdw of 21 pages per minute for both colour and mono printing. The results in our tests were a little more modest, at 17ppm for mono, and 15ppm for documents that contained a combination of text and colour graphics.
Those are still good speeds though – especially for colour printing – so the LBP623Cdw will be more than fast enough to handle most routine printing tasks at home or in an office.
And, of course, the laser technology of the LBP623Cdw provides excellent quality. Text is impressively crisp and smooth, and our technical illustration documents showed fine detail and smoothly graduated colours. The sting in the tail, though, is that the LBP623Cdw costs a bit more to run than a conventional inkjet printer.
The printer is sold with ‘starter’ cartridges that can print around 910 mono pages and 680 colour pages, and after that you’ll need to buy replacement toner cartridges, which are available in either standard or XL sizes.
The new i-Sensys range starts with the single-function 620 series, which includes the entry-level LBP621Cw, which costs just £154.99 and prints at 18 pages per minute.
We’ve tested the LBP623Cdw here, which is slightly faster at 21ppm and costs £194.99. It’s available from Canon or Amazon.
Canon is currently also offering some cash-back deals, depending on which printer and toner cartridges you buy.
Check out our chart of the best printers you can buy to see alternatives.
The standard cartridges aren’t great value, unfortunately. The standard Black cartridge costs £66.99 and lasts for 1,500 pages. That works out at just under 4.5p per page, which is quite expensive for simple mono printing.
The three standard colour cartridges cost £62.99 each and last for 1,200 pages, which again is rather expensive, at around 15.5p per page.
Fortunately, the XL cartridges are better value, costing £90.49 for all four cartridges. The black cartridge lasts for 3,100 pages, which brings mono printing down to a more reasonable 2.9p per page.
You should get 2,300 from the three colour cartridges, bringing colour printing down to about 11.5p per page. Those prices from the XL cartridges are still slightly higher than we’d expect from a good inkjet printer, but the high speed and quality of the LBP623Cdw may well be worthwhile for business users who need to use their printer every day.
If you need a multi-function printer that also includes a scanner and copier features then you’ll obviously need to look elsewhere.
But if you simply need a fast, reliable colour printer that provides excellent quality for text and graphics then the i-Sensys LBP623Cdw will fit the bill.
Just remember to buy the XL cartridges, to keep running costs as low as possible.
Canon i-Sensys LBP623Cdw: Specs
Printer type: A4 inkjet printer
Resolution: 600x600dpi resolution
Paper tray: 250-sheet A4 tray, single-sheet manual feed
Paper sizes: A4, A5, A6, B5, C6 (Envelope), 4×6 inch
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Apple AirPrint, Mopria, Google Cloud Print
Dimensions (HxWxD): 287 x 430 x 418mm
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