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Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw Review

Great for an office that is looking for an all-in-one, produces high quality text and images but wouldn't use this printer for printing photos
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Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw Review
Credit: Canon
Price:  $450 List
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Manufacturer:   Canon
By Lesley Robinson and Benjamin Hickok  ⋅  Jun 13, 2024

#2 of 13
  • Operating Cost - 25% 7.4
  • Text Quality - 25% 10.0
  • Graphics and Photos - 25% 5.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6.9
  • Printing Speed - 10% 9.1

Our Verdict

The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is a versatile multifunction printer that offers strong document printing performance while keeping operating costs low, but struggles a bit with photos and graphics. It features a user-friendly 5-inch touchscreen and supports mobile printing options, which we found useful. While this model was great in some regards, we felt it was lacking in other key metrics. Check out our best home printer review to see how the rest of the models we tested compared to this one.
Fast printing
Bright colors for images
Great text quality
All in one capabilities
Touchscreen hard to navigate
Unintuitive interface

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Bottom Line Good for most home offices, but not for photo printingAll the speed and functionality required for a small office, or a demanding home officeA good document printer for home office useA great budget-friendly printer that performs well in every metric and excels at affordable, high quality photo printingFast black and white printing, reasonable operating costs, and solid performance make this a great choice for a homes and small offices
Rating Categories Canon Color imageCL... HP Color LaserJet P... HP OfficeJet 8015e... Epson Workforce Pro... Brother Monochrome...
Operating Cost (25%)
Text Quality (25%)
Graphics and Photos (25%)
Ease of Use (15%)
Printing Speed (10%)
Specs Canon Color imageCL... HP Color LaserJet P... HP OfficeJet 8015e... Epson Workforce Pro... Brother Monochrome...
Type All-in-one laser Laser All-in-one inkjet All-in-one inkjet Laser
Capabilities Print, scan, copy, fax Print, scan, copy, fax Print, scan, copy Print, scan, copy, fax Print
Estimated Lifetime Cost of Ownership $862 $972 $646 $634 $434.00
Resolution (Black) 1200 x 1200 dpi 600 x 600 dpi 1200 x 1200 dpi 4800 x 1200 dpi 2400 x 600 dpi
Resolution (Color) 1200 x 1200 dpi 600 x 600 dpi 4800 x 1200 dpi 4800 x 1200 dpi Unspecified
Supported Paper Sizes Standard Cassette / 1‐sheet Manual Feed Slot: 3" x 5" to 8.5" x 14" Letter(8.5 x 11); Legal(8.5 x 14); Executive(7.2 x 10.5); Oficio 8.5x13(8.5 x 13); 4 x 6(4 x 6); 5 x 8(5 x 8); A4(8.3 x 11.7); A5(5.8 x 8.3); A6(4.1 x 5.8); B5(JIS)(7.2 x 10.1); B6(JIS)(5 x 7.2); 10x15cm (3.9 x 5.9); Oficio 216x340 mm(8.5 x 13.4); 16K 195x270mm(7.6 x 10.6); 16K 184x260mm(7.2 x 10.2); 16K 197x273mm(7.8 x 10.7); Postcard (JIS)(3.9 x 5.8); Double Postcard(JIS)(5.8 x 7.9); Envelope #10(4.1 x 9.5); Envelope Monarch(3.9 x 7.5); Envelope B5(6.9 x 9.8); Envelope C5(6.4 x 9); Envelope DL(4.3 x 8.7); A5-R(8.3 x 5.8); Letter; Legal; Government Legal; Executive; Statement; 4 x 6 in; 5 x 7 in; 13 x 18 cm; 8 x 10 in; 10 x 15 cm; L; Photo 2L; Envelope( #10, Monarch, 5.5 bar); Card (4 x 6 in, 5 x 8 in) 3.5 x 5", 4 x 6", 5 x 7", 8 x 10",8.5 x 11", 8.5 x 14", A4, A6, half letter, executive Letter, Legal, Executive, A4, A5, A6, B5, B6 (tray)
Envelope, Custom Sizes (3.0-8.5" (w), 5.0-14" (l)) (manual feed)
Measured Dimensions (excludes extensions) 17.8" x 18.2" x 16.3" 16.5" x 16.6" x 13.2" 18.1" x 13.4" x 9.2" 14.8" x 13.7" x 9.1" 14.0" x 14.2" x 7.2"
Measured Weight 48.5 lb 41.2 lb 18 lb 15.0 lb 15.1 Ib
Paper Handling Input 250 Sheets standard cassette, 1 sheet manual feed slot 250 Sheets 225 Sheets 250 Sheets 250 Sheets
Monthly Duty Cycle Not specified 40,000 Pages 20,000 Pages 5,000 Pages 15,000 Pages
Auto 2-Sided Printing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ink Cost per Ream: B/W $26.40 $26.67 $34.98 $28.56 $18.95
Ink Cost per Ream: Color $31.60 $34.40 $22.21 $23.94 NA
Claimed Pages Per Minute 22 22 24 15 32
Measured Pages per Minute: Single-Sided B/W 18 19 15 24 30
Connectivity USB 2.0 High‐Speed, 10/100/1000Base‐T/TX Ethernet (Network), Wi‐Fi 802.11b/g/n, Wi‐Fi Direct Connection Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port; built-in Fast Ethernet 10/100/1000 Base-TX network port, 802.11n 2.4/5GHz wireless, Fax port, Front Host USB 1 Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n 100Mbps Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, USB 2.0 Wireless 802.11 b/g/n, Hi-Speed USB 2.0, Wi Fi Direct
Operating System Compatibility Windows 11 / 10 / 8.1 / Windows Server 2012 / 2012 R2 / 2016 / 2019 / 2022, Mac OS X (10.11 or later) Windows 11; Windows 10; Windows 8; Windows 8.1; Windows 7; Windows Vista; Windows Server; macOS 10.12 Sierra; macOS 10.13 High Sierra; macOS 10.14 Mojave; macOS 10.15 Catalina; Linux; UNIX Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7,Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit, Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit (SP1), Windows Server 2012 64-bit, Windows Server 2012 R2 64-bit, Windows Server 2016, Chrome OS Windows XP and Windows Vista not supported Windows 10
Windows 8, 8.1 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Mac OS X 10.6 — macOS 10.13.x11
Windows 8.1, 8, 7 / Windows 10 Home /
10 Pro / 10 Education / 10 Enterprise
Windows Server 2016 / 2012 R2 / 2012 /
2008 R2 / 2008
Mac OS X v10.10.5, 10.11.x, 10.12.x, 10.13.x

Our Analysis and Test Results

Exceptional text quality and swift printing are the strong points for this printer, but it failed to rise to the top and impress our team overall.

Performance Comparison

This is a pricey model for perfect text clarity and less than perfect graphic and photo printing.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Text Quality

This metric assesses the capability of each printer to produce high-quality text prints in black and white, while also ensuring a consistent high level of text resolution. The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw performed perfectly in our tests.

As you would expect from a perfect print, we observed zero blemishes, absolutely no smearing, no bleed-through, true blacks, and consistent text quality from print to print. In test procedures designed to measure text clarity, the Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw produced solid bolds, pure blacks, and maintained great text definition across different fonts and font sizes.

canon color imageclass mf656cdw - in our microscope, you can see the exceptional text quality, with...
In our microscope, you can see the exceptional text quality, with true blacks and sharp detail.
Credit: Lesley Robinson

Graphics and Photos

Unfortunately, graphics and photos are not where the Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw shines. Photos lack a genuine borderless print, and the prints exhibited streakiness and pixelation. Pixelations primarily occurred at starkly contrasting colors, while darker hues blended together. Overall color accuracy was also unimpressive, with prints featuring brighter colors than in the originals. Considering the really exceptional products we've evaluated from Canon, we expected a bit more from this model.

canon color imageclass mf656cdw - photo prints had an undesirable amount of pixelation along sharply...
Photo prints had an undesirable amount of pixelation along sharply contrasting sections of images.
Credit: Lesley Robinson

Operating Cost

The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is neither expensive nor is it the most economical printer to operate. Its operational costs are on par with most printers. The cost per page of black and white ink is 5 cents, while the cost per page of color ink is 6 cents.

The toner cartridges are both economical as well as easy to access and replace on this model.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Ease of Use

The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw does a decent job with regard to ease of use. The setup process was straightforward, although we did encounter an issue when opening the blue ink cartridge, resulting in a minor mess. The printer includes an LCD screen that guides users through the setup. On the digital front, the accompanying app was easy to navigate, albeit a bit slow. We found that operating the printer from either a smartphone or laptop was simple. Additionally, the live support chat feature on the website proved to be helpful when needed. We also found the 5-inch color touchscreen was easy to use, even for persons with larger hands.

The large screen on the MF656Cdw makes navigating menus and options a breeze.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Printing Speed

The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw is pretty quick compared to most printers. It's able to print a full page photo in about 32 seconds, 10 page duplex documents in 13 seconds, and a 10 page simplex document in 18 seconds. To put that into perspective, this model is pretty fast, but with today's very fast printers, you probably wouldn't even notice that it is just a little faster than most.

This model supports duplex printing at a higher rate than most.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Should You Buy the Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw?

The Canon Color imageCLASS MF656Cdw was not our favorite printer. While this model is capable of printing near-perfect text documents consistently and quickly, it proved it lacks the ability to reproduce great graphics and photos. For a printer that will be used purely for document printing, it's an okay option, but better options exist.

What Other Printers Should You Consider?

Our favorite model overall was the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M283fdw, which is a versatile printer that is a snap to use, but it has a higher price tag. If you only need to print some quick documents here and there, consider the HP OfficeJet 8015e Wireless Color, which is exceptional at printing texts and graphics.

canon color imageclass mf656cdw - a good printer all-around, but graphic and photo prints could be...
A good printer all-around, but graphic and photo prints could be better.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Lesley Robinson and Benjamin Hickok