The Canon ImageClass MF4270 is quite compact for a multifunction laser. It stands 15.4 inches wide, 17.4 inches deep, and 17.9 inches tall, and weighs 27.6 pounds. The automatic document feeder mounted on the scanner lid can hold as many as 35 pages of originals for batch scans, copies, and faxes. The flatbed scanner can accommodate only up to A4 size originals, but using the ADF, you can still copy, scan, or fax legal-size documents.
The control panel is busy, but everything is clearly laid out. A two-line text LCD is the centerpiece, but it's not backlit, so it can be hard to read in low light. Above the LCD are three task buttons--copy, scan, and fax--that let you choose your task. Below are two directional keys and an OK button for navigating menus. Instead of a menu settings button, the MF4270 has an Additional Functions button that lets you tweak settings for different tasks. Although there's no designated Back button to back out of menus, you can press the Additional Functions button again, which takes you back one level.
Eight one-touch dial keys and the alphanumeric keypad let you quickly dial fax numbers. The fax area also has designated buttons for commonly accessed features such as the address book, coded dial, hook, and redial. Similarly, the copy area has designated keys for enlarging or reducing copies, changing the density and image quality, and making collated copies, two-sided copies, and 2-on-1 copies.
Paper handling is simple and straightforward on the MF4270. At the bottom of the printer is a 250-page cassette with a removable dust cover. Just above the cassette sits a one-page multipurpose feeder with adjustable paper guides. The single-sheet feeder is great for one-off prints such as envelopes, because it means you don't have to swap out the contents of the cassette for a single print. The output tray sits a bit above the input area and includes an extendable arm to corral your prints.
The ImageClass MF4270 ships with a starter 1,000-print toner cartridge. The replacement cartridge is good for about double that and goes for $70. This works out to about 3.5 cents per page. While the cost is in line with similarly priced printers, you can spend a bit less on print costs (about 2 cents per page) if you can afford to pony up a bit more cash up front for the hardware. The cost is fine for an office with light print needs, but for those who print large volumes, the cost can add up quickly.
The ImageClass MF4270's feature set is fairly standard for office-oriented multifunctions. The machine comes network-ready with an Ethernet port on the back, so it can be easily mounted on a home or office network for printing from various PCs. The ADF is great for batch scanning, copying, and faxing. And the autoduplexer makes it easy to make double-sided prints and copies, thereby saving paper. It has a toner-save mode that reduces the amount of toner used for printing. Obviously, the output quality declines, but this mode is great for prints that will be used internally, as it conserves both toner and money. Similarly, the MF4270 has a power-save mode: the printer goes into a low-energy standby mode when it hasn't been used for a certain period of time (you can adjust the amount of time that triggers the power-save mode).
The copy features are basic and straightforward. You can use the numeric keypad to type in the number of copies you want to make (up to 99). Copies can be reduced or enlarged from 25 percent to 200 percent, either in preset values or in 1 percent increments. You can make double-sided copies or 2-on-1 copies, as well as collate your output.