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Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw Printer Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Aug 03, 2023 at 11:50 am
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 10, 2024 at 03:59 pm
Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/MF654Cdw Picture
8.3
Family
8.8
Small/Home Office
8.6
Student
8.4
Black & White
5.0
Photo

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.

Our Verdict

8.3 Family

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.

Pros
  • Fantastic document printing quality in color and black-and-white.
  • Full-featured scanner.
  • Undemanding maintenance requirements.
  • Wide range of connectivity options.
Cons
  • Printing speed varies noticeably depending on type of network connection.
  • Struggles with reproducing fine details in photos.
  • Can't print on glossy paper.
8.8 Small/Home Office

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.

Pros
  • Fantastic document printing quality in color and black-and-white.
  • Full-featured scanner.
  • High page yield.
  • Undemanding maintenance requirements.
  • Wide range of connectivity options.
Cons
  • Printing speed varies noticeably depending on type of network connection.
8.6 Student

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.

Pros
  • Fantastic document printing quality in color and black-and-white.
  • Full-featured scanner.
  • High page yield.
  • Undemanding maintenance requirements.
  • Wide range of connectivity options.
Cons
  • Printing speed varies noticeably depending on type of network connection.
8.4 Black & White

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.

Pros
  • Fantastic document printing quality in color and black-and-white.
  • High page yield.
Cons
  • Printing speed varies noticeably depending on type of network connection.
5.0 Photo

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.

Pros
  • High page yield.
Cons
  • Narrow color gamut.
  • Struggles with reproducing fine details in photos.
  • Can't print on glossy paper.
  • 8.3 Family
  • 8.8 Small/Home Office
  • 8.6 Student
  • 8.4 Black & White
  • 5.0 Photo
  1. Updated Jan 10, 2024: Added mention of the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn as an alternative with faster printing speeds in the Printing Speed section.
  2. Updated Dec 19, 2023: We've added a link to the Brother MFC-L3780CDW/MFC-L3720CDW in the 'Color Documents' section of the review to provide an alternative that prints less oversaturated documents out-of-the-box.
  3. Updated Aug 03, 2023: Review published.
  4. Updated Jul 28, 2023: Early access published.
  5. Updated Jul 21, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  6. Updated Jul 17, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  7. Updated Jun 19, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

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.

Compared To Other Printers

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.

If you're looking for alternatives, look at our recommendations of the best printers, the best laser printers, and the best office printers.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF753Cdw/MF751Cdw

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.

Brother MFC-L3780CDW/MFC-L3720CDW

The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw and Brother MFC-L3780CDW each have their own advantages. The Canon has a larger touchscreen display, uses cartidges with a greater page yield, and offers marginally better better color accuracy and fine detail reproduction in photos, though neither printer should be your first choice if you're planning on printing photos regularly. On the other hand, the Brother's ADF-equipped scanner processes sheets faster, and out-of-the-box printed documents are less noticeably over-saturated than they are from the Canon.

Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser

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 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.

Brother MFC-L8905CDW [MFC-L8895CDW, MFC-L8900CDW]

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.

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn

The HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn and the Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw/654Cdw are both excellent color laser printers with near-identical features. The Canon has a higher page yield and lower cost per print, and its scanner has adjustable lid hinges that make it easier to close the lid over thicker items. However, the HP prints and scans faster.

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw

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.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
9.0
Design
Build Quality
Type All in One

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.

Design
Dimensions
Height 16.1" (41.0 cm)
Width 17.6" (44.8 cm)
Depth 18.1" (46.0 cm)
Height When In Use
16.1" (41.0 cm)
Width When In Use
17.6" (44.8 cm)
Depth When In Use
18.5" (47.0 cm)
Weight
46.8 lbs (21.2 kg)
8.5
Design
Expected Maintenance
Ink Related Maintenance
Not Needed
Drum Unit
In The Cartridge

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.

9.0
Design
Display Screen
Display Screen Yes
Display Screen Size
5.0" (12.7 cm)
Touchscreen Yes

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.

9.4
Design
Cartridge
Technology Laser
SuperTank
No
Photo Cartridge
No
Color Yes
Number Of Color Cartridges
3
Black Cartridge Model
Toner 067 Black
Tested Black Page Yield
126.81 prints
Estimated Black Page Yield
2,409 prints
Color Cartridge Model
Toner 067 C/M/Y
Tested Color Page Yield
106.55 prints
Estimated Color Page Yield
2,442 prints
Third Party Cartridge
Not Found At Time Of The Review
Ink Type
Toner
High Yield Cartridge
Yes

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.

9.4
Design
Scanner Features
Scanner
ADF + Flatbed
ADF Capacity
50 pages
Scan Speed
14 PPM
Duplex Scanning
Automatic (Single-Pass)
Max Flatbed Scan Size
8.5" x 11"
Max ADF Scan Size
8.5" x 14"
Flatbed Hinge Adjustability
0.98" (25 mm)
Fax
Yes
Copy
Yes
OCR Included
Software

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.

9.5
Design
Scan Quality
Max Scan Resolution
600 DPI
Max Scan Color Depth
24Bit

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.

Design
In The Box

  • Documentation
  • Driver and utility CD-ROM
  • Cover for paper tray extension
  • Power cord
  • RJ11 Phone cable
  • Canon 067 starter toner cartridges:
    • 1x Black
    • 1x Cyan
    • 1x Magenta
    • 1x Yellow

Design
Battery
Advertised Battery Life
N/A
Tested Charging Time
N/A

The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is a corded printer with no onboard battery.

Document
9.5
Document
Black & White Documents
Color Ink Needed For Black & White
No

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.

9.0
Document
Color Documents

The print quality for color documents is fantastic. Printed text looks sharp, and fine details are present. That said, colors are somewhat oversaturated, especially compared to documents printed from alternatives like the Brother MFC-L3780CDW/MFC-L3720CDW. Minor printing artifacts are visible, too; in the test image, there's a slight darkening of the lower part of the 'P' in the 'SAMPLE' watermark.

9.1
Document
Cost-Per-Print
Black Cartridge Price
65.99 US$
Color Cartridge Price
236.97 US$
Black-Only Printing Cost
0.027 US$/print
Color Printing Cost
0.097 US$/print
Photo Printing Cost
0.204 US$/print
Ink Subscription
Optional

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.

7.1
Document
Printing Speed
Black Only Text Document
10 PPM
Color Document
12 PPM
Photo Printing Time
18.0 s
Single Page Out Time (Black Only)
20.0 s
Duplex Printing
Automatic
Input Tray Capacity
250 pages

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. If you want a laser printer with faster printing speeds, check out the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP 4301fdw/4301fdn.

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.

Document
Document Printing Sizes
Letter (8.5" x 11") Yes
Legal (8.5" x 14") Yes
Tabloid (11" x 17") No
A6 (105mm x 148mm) Yes
A5 (148mm x 210mm) Yes
A4 (210mm x 297mm) Yes
Max Paper Weight
200 g/m²

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.

Photo
4.5
Photo
Color Gamut

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.

6.5
Photo
Color Accuracy
Average Color dE
7.16

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.

5.0
Photo
Small Details
Max Print Resolution (DPI)
1200 x 1200

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.

0
Photo
Photo Printing Sizes
Glossy Paper (4" x 6") No
Glossy Paper (5" x 7") No
Glossy Paper (8" x 10") No
Glossy Paper (8.5" x 11") No
Glossy Paper (13" x 19") No
Borderless Printing
No

This printer can't print on glossy photo paper.

Mobile App And Connectivity
9.0
Mobile App And Connectivity
Connectivity
Ethernet
Yes
USB Input To Computer
Yes
Wireless Yes
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi via Router
Yes
Wi-Fi Direct
Yes
External Storage Support
Yes
Apple AirPrint
Yes
Mopria Print Service
Yes

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.

9.5
Mobile App And Connectivity
Mobile App
Mobile App Yes
App Name Canon PRINT Business
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Photo (JPEG, PNG)
iOS Only
PDF
Android and iOS
Microsoft Office Files
Android and iOS
Text Files (TXT)
iOS Only
Webpages (HTML)
No

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.

Mobile App And Connectivity
OS Compatibility
Windows Fully
macOS Fully
Chrome OS Fully

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.