The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is an all-in-one color laser printer designed mainly for business use. It has an automatic document feeder, a high-capacity paper tray, and a broad range of connectivity features that let you print from a wide variety of sources, including USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet. It's compatible with Canon 067 standard-format and 067H high-yield toner cartridges.
There are multiple variants of this printer, which differ slightly in terms of feature sets. You can see the differences between models in the Differences Between Variants section of the review.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is great for family use. It offers low ownership costs, incurs few maintenance requirements, and has a scanner with a height-adjustable lid to accommodate things like books or magazines. Printed text documents are sharp and legible, but like most laser printers, it isn't the best option for printing photos since it can't print on glossy photo paper. Color reproduction isn't all that accurate, and fine details aren't well-resolved.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is an excellent printer for small or home offices. Its 067 cartridges have a substantial page yield, so you won't need to replace them often, keeping cost-per-print low. It also offers a wide range of connectivity options, so you and your coworkers can print from a multitude of devices. If you connect the device via Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi, it might take a little while to warm up, but it outputs pages quickly once it has. The MF656Cdw variant of this printer also supports faxing, and its scanner has an ADF with single-pass duplex scanning, making it easy to process multi-page and double-sided documents.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is an excellent option for students, though it might be too big to squeeze into a dorm room or a bedroom. Thankfully, it outputs crisp, legible text documents fairly quickly, and its ADF-equipped scanner produces sharp scans that you can digitize into text-searchable documents. The scanner's hinges are also height adjustable, accommodating thicker items like textbooks. While toner cartridges aren't inexpensive, they have a very substantial page yield, which keeps ownership costs remarkably low.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is great for black-and-white printing. Printed documents are very sharp, and the printer can output them quickly if you have a physical network connection, though it does take quite a while to warm up. Its paper tray has a generous capacity, so you won't need to fill it frequently. Its standard-format 067 toner cartridges have a remarkably high page yield, though even higher-yield 067H cartridges are available. The MF656Cdw variant has an automatic feeder with single-pass duplex scanning, making it easy to process multi-page and double-sided documents.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is a sub-par photo printer, though the manufacturer doesn't intend it for this use. It has a narrow color gamut and only passable color accuracy; printed photos look fairly different from the original source. It also struggles with reproducing faraway background details and can't print on glossy photo paper. On the upside, its color toner cartridges have a substantial page yield, so you won't need to swap them out very often, even if you print photos regularly.
There are a few different variants of the Canon Color imageCLASS MF65XCdw series. We tested the flagship MF656Cdw variant, and you can see its label here.
|Model||ADF||Duplex Scanning||Two-Sided Printing||Fax|
|Canon Color imageCLASS MF652Cdw||N||N||N||N|
|Canon Color imageCLASS MF653Cdw||N||N||Y||N|
|Canon Color imageCLASS MF654Cdw||Y||N||Y||N|
|Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw||Y||Y||Y||Y|
Let us know in the discussions if you come across another variant of this printer.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is a color laser all-in-one printer. It has a lot to offer when compared to its peers and even pricier alternatives, with a high page yield, superb document printing quality, and a wide range of scanner features.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw is better than the Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser. The Canon has fewer maintenance requirements, uses toner cartridges with a noticeably greater page yield, can print from external storage devices like USB sticks, and offers superior scan quality. While neither is intended as a dedicated photo printer, the Canon has a wider color gamut and marginally better color accuracy. Meanwhile, the Brother has a slightly faster max printing speed and scans faster.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw represents a better value than the Canon Color imageCLASS MF753Cdw/MF751Cdw, though the two printers are similar overall. The MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw takes up a little less room and has a similar range of scanner features, though the MF753Cdw/MF751Cdw offers slightly better print quality. The biggest differences come in the form of their toner cartridges: the 067 cartridges used by the MF65XCdw lineup have a substantially higher yield than the 069 cartridges found in MF75XCdw models, resulting in a considerably lower cost-per-print.
The HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw and Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw each have their advantages, so one might suit you better than the other, depending on your exact needs. The Canon is a marginally lighter, more portable unit with superior scan quality and lower ownership costs thanks to its cheaper toner cartridges. It also produces sharper scans than the HP, though the HP scans and prints substantially faster. While neither is a great option for photo printing, only the HP can print on glossy paper, and it has a wider color gamut and superior color accuracy compared to the Canon. The HP Smart app also allows you to print HTML files directly, though only from iOS devices; regardless, this isn't a function that Canon's PRINT Business app supports.
For most uses, the Brother MFC-L8905CDW is slightly better than the Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw. The Brother has an ADF with a higher sheet capacity, scans documents more quickly, and has a faster maximum printing speed. Unlike Canon's PRINT Business app, you can print HTML files directly from the Brother iPrint&Scan app. Conversely, the Canon printer incurs lower ownership costs thanks to its higher-yield cartridges. Its scanner lid also has a wider height adjustment range, so it can more easily accommodate thicker books and documents.
This printer's build quality is fantastic. It's made mostly from thick, high-grade plastic, with only a few potential weak points; its paper tray is made of a thinner plastic and flexes slightly, and the tilt-adjustable screen protrudes pretty far from the front of the printer, which makes the unit a little tricky to pick up and carry. There's a damper for the scanner to keep the lid from closing too suddenly, and the height-adjustable hinges feel very sturdy. You can also detach the heavy-duty power cable from the unit itself, as seen here, so you can easily swap it out if it does get damaged.
This printer requires very little maintenance. Unlike inkjet models, there's no risk of clogging if you don't use the printer for an extended period. If you experience print quality issues, many functions built-in can help resolve them, like Auto Adjust Gradation, Correct Print Color Mismatch, and Adjust Print Position. There are also built-in cleaning functions like Clean Fixing Assembly, Clean ITB (transfer belt), and Clean Feeder. Due to their high page yield, you won't need to replace the toner cartridges very often. The drum unit is built into the cartridges, making user maintenance a little easier. The main input tray has a 250-sheet capacity, so you won't need to refill it very often unless you regularly print long documents. You can access the toner cartridges by opening the front cover and pulling out the drawer. If you need to clear out any paper jams, the sheet rollers are accessible by removing the rear cover, as seen here. You can access the manual feeder tray from the front of the printer after removing the paper tray.
If you need to see the user manual, check here.
The display is outstanding and very similar in design to the one found on the Canon Color imageCLASS MF753Cdw/MF751Cdw. It's large, which makes it easy to see smaller icons and text, but viewing angles aren't especially impressive, so you might have trouble seeing what's displayed when sitting or standing off to the side. You can tilt the screen to improve this, although the range of movement is very limited. Some reflection is present when looking at the screen in brighter rooms, but thankfully it's better in this respect than the MF753Cdw. The display is fairly responsive to touch input, though it's easy to accidentally press on app icons when swiping between menu pages.
This printer's page yield is superb. The 067 cartridges provide a greater number of prints than the 069 toner cartridges used by the Canon imageCLASS MF753Cdw/MF751Cdw. The actual figures for the 067 standard-format cartridges comfortably exceed the advertised yield of 1,350 black-only prints and 1,250 color prints. The 067H high-yield cartridges are available in both black and color and have an advertised yield of 3,130 sheets for black-and-white prints and 2,350 sheets for color prints.
The printer will warn you when its toner supply is almost empty, explaining that the print quality may be affected. Still, you can continue printing without interruption, regardless of the remaining toner supply.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw has a feature-rich scanner. Its automatic feeder (ADF) can process double sided-documents in a single pass, with no need to manually flip sheets. Scan speed is also relatively quick, though it lags behind alternatives like the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw in this respect. You can use Canon's MF Scan Utility to access a range of scanning settings; you can choose to scan from the ADF or flatbed scanner, make image adjustments, and enable its optical character recognition (OCR) feature, which lets you process scanned documents as text-searchable TXT. files. The OCR works well for the most part, though it can struggle with uncommon characters or documents that include pictures.
The Color imageCLASS MF652Cdw and Color imageCLASS MF653Cdw variants don't have an ADF. While the Color imageCLASS MF654Cdw variant does have an ADF, it doesn't support duplex scanning.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw's scan quality is outstanding. Fine details look well-resolved, and the scanner reproduces colors accurately. Text is crisp and highly legible. That said, you might notice some graininess.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is a corded printer with no onboard battery.
The print quality for black and white documents is superb. Text looks sharp and is immediately legible, and all the fine elements are present. However, lighter colors converted to grayscale look faint, like some shades of yellow.
The print quality for color documents is fantastic. Printed text looks sharp, and fine details are present. That said, colors are somewhat oversaturated, and minor printing artifacts are visible; in the test image, there's a slight darkening of the lower part of the 'P' in the 'SAMPLE' watermark.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw's cost-per-print is remarkably low. The 067 toner cartridges aren't that cheap, but they have a huge page yield, so you won't need to replace them often. The cartridges contain the drum, meaning you don't need to spend extra to replace the drum separately. An integrated drum is good if you print a lot, but if you have a lighter print load, you might pay more than a model with a separate drum unit. Canon offers its Auto Replenishment Service with this printer, which automatically ships new toner to your door when the printer detects that it's running low.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw's printing speed is decent overall, but it can vary depending on the connection used. Printing speed on Wi-Fi tops out at 10 PPM since there's a slight pause between each page. Conversely, there's no significant pause between pages when connected via USB or Ethernet, allowing the printer to reach its advertised printing speed of 22 PPM. See a video of the print speed via USB here and via Ethernet here.
It's worth noting that there's a notable drawback to printing with a physical USB or Ethernet connection: the printer has to process the entirety of the document before it begins printing, resulting in a long delay to output the first page - the length of this delay depends on the size of the document, which is something worth bearing in mind when printing long multi-page documents. This delay is nowhere near as pronounced when printing over Wi-Fi.
You can set custom paper sizes up to 216mm x 356mm (8.5" x 14"). The printer comes with an additional plastic trim piece to cover the exposed portion of the paper tray when you've extended it, preventing any dust or debris from falling on the sheets and hiding unsightly exposed internals.
Like the Canon imageCLASS MF753Cdw/MF751Cdw, and most other laser printers, the Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw has a limited color gamut. It struggles with reproducing bright, saturated colors and has difficulty with darker shades of green and yellow, which look muddy. Color transitions are also grainy.
The color accuracy is adequate. Most colors look quite different from the initial source, but not to the point where they're jarring. This printer is still fine for adding a splash of color to text documents or printing a photo once in a blue moon.
The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is bad at producing small details. Like most laser printers, the print resolution is low, and the printing pattern is very noticeable, obscuring finer background elements. If you regularly print photos, you're better off with an inkjet model that does a better job of resolving fine details and has a less apparent printing pattern.
This printer can't print on glossy photo paper.
You can print directly from a USB flash drive using either the port at the front left of the printer or the one at the rear, above the USB-B port.
The Canon PRINT Business mobile app is outstanding. You can print, copy, and scan with it, either from the printer or your smartphone's camera. You can also operate the printer remotely and execute maintenance and cleaning routines. You can't print HTML files directly from the app, but you can get around this limitation on iOS devices with the 'Print from Web' function, which will let you access any website and print. Printing photos from Android devices through the app is also a hassle, as you can't see any locally-saved image files through the in-app file browser. Instead, you need to select the image from an external app, like your phone or tablet's photo gallery or social media app, then send it to the Canon PRINT Business app.
You don't need to install drivers or apps to use the printer on Chrome OS and macOS devices, but you do on Windows devices. A generic printer driver is sufficient for the printer, but we recommend you find the model-specific one to access all its functions.