Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw & MF743Cdw Review

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Choosing a business-grade printer is slightly tougher than picking a printer for your home. Apart from general performance capabilities, you also need concern yourself with security issues, throughput, and possibly even the approachability of the machine to multiple users. Thankfully, as you start to fill in those blanks with a better understanding of what you need from a printer, it can get much easier to choose.

Rather recently, Canon released a new pair of Color imageCLASS printers: the MF644Cdw and the MF743Cdw. Though these machines look a bit like twins, there’s actually a good bit of difference between them. And that difference is almost obvious in their naming scheme. The 743 series is going to have a little bit more power and oomph, and the 644 series is a similar machine with just a little bit less muscle.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw & MF743Cdw

The Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw & MF743Cdw are pretty high throughput machines. But like there are differences in strength between two bodybuilders, there are differences in strength between powerful print devices like the MF644Cdw and the MF743Cdw. Appearances aside, there’s actually a considerable range of difference in their general capacity and speed.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw

Design & Layout

Of course, sharing a similar appearance also tells you a great deal about how much these devices share in common. You actually have to look pretty carefully to find there are more than a couple of minute differences. For instance, the MF644Cdw measures 16.6 x 17 x 16.6 inches, while the MF743Cdw measures a slightly larger 18.5 x 17.2 x 18.1 inches. The slight physical difference is mostly due to both machines having different carrying capacity for paper.

Consequently, there’s actually a significant difference between these two when it comes to their weight. The MF743Cdw is the heavier of the two, weighing nearly 70lbs. That’s about 10lbs more than its counterpart, though in either case it’s clear that you need a sturdy and accessible area to place these devices. Because anytime you’re working with a printer that’s more than 50lbs, you’ve got to be a lot more careful with choosing a good place for the machine.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF743Cdw

If you’re not printing hundreds of consecutive pages, and you’re not concerned with size, then you’ll probably find that in more ways than not, the MF644Cdw and MF743Cdw are pretty similar. They’ve got a very similar design, very similar set of core features, and a similar purpose behind their set of features. For instance, both have wireless connectivity and one pass duplex scanning.

Ease of Use

In both cases, these machines make use of navigation is handed with a unique 5” color touchscreen. Plenty of printers are using touchscreens these days, but most of them are cramped around 2” or sometimes less. This screen is actually much closer to the size of a smartphone, which makes it possible to fit far more information onto the panel. Bigger screens can make for more productive users, but more than that, they’re more of a pleasure to interact with.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw

In terms of usability, the interface is very streamlined. The most common options are up towards the front, while more detailed and obscure options are hidden away behind more menus. Depending on what kind of features you use most often from your machine, these menus can be slightly reordered to better accommodate your organization. Even novices should be able to find their way through these menus, which really makes both of these devices approachable for multi-user interactions.

Connectivity & Added Features

When it comes to connectivity, even entry-level printers have been pretty good at offering lots of options for the past couple of years. But there’s still a big difference between good and great connectivity. In this instance, it’s worth noticing how a Wi-Fi Direct hotspot connection can be used to connect the printer and your mobile devices. That allows for wireless access without the need to connect to the printer across a network.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF743Cdw

And there’s a ton of different advantages to using Wi-Fi Direct. People who don’t necessarily have strong connections, or any connections to wireless in the area where they want to print, Wi-Fi direct allows you to circumvent those issues. It means you don’t actually need to get a router involved at all for your connection, which also has a number of implications for security.

Since these printers are actually closer to all-in-one style machines, they’ve also got some capabilities outside of printing. For instance, the scanner can convert documents into digital files, allowing you to go paperless or otherwise digitize your old data. That’s pretty handy, and it’s a feature you don’t often see on consumer-grade machines.

Additionally, since there’s a duplex document feeder, you can scan through documents at a higher rate than you could otherwise. That allows small print jobs to be completed within only a couple of seconds. And it means if you’re undertaking a large project, like digitizing all your old hard data, then it means the project will have far more manageable time requirements.

In addition to being an effective scanner, these devices are capable of working as a copy machine and fax machine. There’s not much to remark about the fax capacity, though it’s worth noting that the copier is able to speed you along with the aid of automatic duplex copying. As a result, you should be able to get through many copy jobs with literally twice the speed of machines that lack duplex copying features.

Print Capacity

In a head to head comparison, you’ll find the MF644Cdw has a slightly slower print speed than the 743. That’s because it runs at 22ppm instead of the 28ppm of its rival. However, it’s important to understand that these kinds of differences are tough to appreciate unless you’re routinely seeing your printer go through dozens of pages every few minutes. That means you’re printing not only many pages over the course of a day, but many print jobs are being done back to back, with great consistency.

However, the 743 series were designed to expect greater throughput than its counterpart. As a result, it has a maximum 850 sheet capacity that far exceeds the MF644Cdw’s 250 sheet capacity. Of course, the difference there sounds much larger than it really is. Because when you’re expecting to go through twice as much throughput, having twice as many pages really just means you’re keeping pace.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw

Speaking of throughput, it’s worth noting that the MF743Cdw has nearly twice the print volume supported. While the MF64Cdw shouldn’t exceed 2,500 pages per month, which is several times greater than you’ll be able to pull from any home-printer device, the MF743Cdw ran safely run out to as many as 4,000 pages in the same period of time. In other words, you’re looking at nearly twice the throughput. Considering the relative cost differences between these machines, that’s actually very impressive.

With respect to their media handling, things also look pretty similar. Both of these machines support the same type of media, which includes common card stocks, business paper, and even most photo papers. It’s only when you start trying to print super-massive sheets that you’ll encounter some limitations, but those are pretty much common sense limits.

Other Considerations

Another thing that devices like the MF743Cdw are supposed to do for you is to help bring down the cost of printing in bulk. One of the ways they achieve that is with high capacity cartridges, designed specifically to help drop supply costs. Likewise, being able to print on both sides of a page can help drop paper consumption.

The more pages you can get from one cartridge, the less often you’ll have to replace them. So the gains here aren’t only with respect to money, but also with respect to the amount of time you have to micromanage your machines. Additionally, you can mitigate the risk of losing documents to theft because those documents are only stored inside the short term RAM on these devices. Security settings can also be adjusted behind the administrator login, if you require extra layers of security for your business data.

Canon Color imageCLASS MF743Cdw

Even though HP probably has more name recognition in the printer space, Canon is actually one of the bigger printer manufacturers out there. Which means there’s also an almost inherent degree of reliability behind their products, which is at least partially reflected in the included 3-year business warranty. It also means you have access to a range of robust Q&A information, including some pretty handy video tutorials that demonstrate how to change toner and so forth.

Picking Between the MF743Cdw or MF743Cdw

Both the MF644Cdw & MF743Cdw have an all-in-one nature that allows them to serve as more than a mere printer. Both are designed to help you save the amount of time you spend interacting with the printer. The similarities go on and on. Both are physically very similar in size and weight. Both make use of the same full sized touchscreen, and so are pretty much equally intuitive to use.

Inside and outside, you’ll find these machines are almost the same thing. As such, both Canon Color imageCLASS printers really have a lot to offer. Their differences are only appreciable when you start to look deeper, especially at their throughput options. For people who need higher speed and higher throughput, the MF743Cdw is going to end up being a better choice. It’s got the fastest print speeds, the highest paper capacity, and a generally more robust design.

But speed isn’t everything. If you’re not expecting to churn out hundreds of pages every few minutes, then you won’t be able to take advantage of everything the 743 series can offer. For people who don’t need their pages to come out 20% faster, and don’t need a super massive paper tray, and don’t need a higher throughput ceiling, the MF644Cdw will still deliver everything you do need.

23 thoughts on “Canon Color imageCLASS MF644Cdw & MF743Cdw Review”

  1. TechGuru – your help would be greatly appreciated. I’m of the old school plugging my new MF644Cdw directly into my desktop via a usb cable – no network just the one pc. The problem I have is the printer seems to periodically drop the connection with the pc – no hub in between.

    Via the printer’s menu, I have never been able to check the “firmware version.” I receive an error message telling me, “A communication problem occurred. Cannot check the firmware version.” The second thing is scanning. I have scan from the printer menu, then later I cannot due to a “communication problem occurring.” I have to reboot the pc and everything is fine (for a while). Everything I’ve read on the net tells me to delete and reload the drivers, unplug the usb, use a short(er) cable, restarted the printer, etc. etc. I’ve done all this as an administrator including going to the Canon website and downloading and uploading their latest drivers. The problem still exists. I’m afraid to call Canon support as I think they will simply regurgitate what I found on their website. It doesn’t work.

    Canon’s User’s Manual leaves much to be desired especially for simple home use setups. I’m running on Windows 10. I simply don’t get it. Thank you.

    • I think it prints pretty good pictures. I have to adjust the exposure to lighter though. The way it’s normally set, it prints too dark. But that’s just a setting. I’ve had many inkjet printers, and this one prints photos quite as well as any of my HP printers did.

  2. Thanks for the comparison. These are the exact 2 models I am considering and the only difference I had noted was the speed. Nice to have additional info about other aspects to consider.

  3. Tech Guru –
    I have found numerous reviews and user comments that speak to the same “dropped communication/connectivity” issue w/ no lasting solution. Would be nice to hear your feedback or from others vs rebooting. Had narrowed my purchase decision down to the Canon MF644CDW, but since learning of this issue I’m now relooking other alternatives

    • Hmm… that is very strange. Haven’t heard of that issue with this model. Did you find one that you’re more comfortable purchasing?

      • It isn’t clear whether or not people are trying to use USB or network. My vote is networked printing and if desired connected to cloud print so you can send something to your printer from your phone and have it waiting for you. With USB there are so many variables, USB version, which USB hardware is in that particular PC and if that hardware has good drivers for that machine’s USB. I have no idea what version of USB this MFC is natively.

  4. Great Article, Great coverage of the details between and options they offer. I had to read several prior to making my MF743CDW purchase choice. This alone would have sufficed.

    I experienced an odd issue with mine.
    I purchased the MF743CDW, had it for several days. I returned it, and am awaiting a delivered replacement.

    The issue: a very strong odd mold smell from just the upper part of the machine. Pardon my lack of precise description, but the upper portion above the black band. The glass screen and above, ALL smells badly. I say, as mold. I returned mine at the store, walked up to three aisle that had all the other lines on display. I inspected both Canons there, yes they had the MF644Cdw too. Both, both there smelled of it.

    A female sales associate walked over asking if she can help me find anything. I shared my experience with her. She said they have (4) more in stock. I said, I will try getting one shipped. Perhaps getting a different lot, different batch, non smelling one. I told her that both smelled badly, AND she gave them a whiff… “oh WOW, yeah, that’s BAD!” …EXACTLY I Said!

    I called Canon, waited a grueling hour to reach customer service. I gave them an earful. Shared the serial number too, all details. They already had all my info, I have been a Canon Pro DSLR (mutiple) and L Glass user for decades. Solid, no complaints! Which surprises me on this printer… why? What’s up?

    I bought this from a major online and yet still brick and mortar store chain. I opted for a replacement shipped to me. To hopefully resolve, get a better one.

    There is an Office Depot near me too, that sells them. I may go there just to inspect, sniff one out, literally. Then leave. Won’t that look great on their surveillance system.

    M advice to you folks, if you have the printer, check yours. Mine affected me, it smelled bad. Burning nose, eyes, I felt really weird around it.


    I will report back.

  5. Well, the shipped, delivered replacement, same thing. The upper part of the printer smells terrible. Lift the top, where the glass is, that upper portion, white plastic pad that holds paper down to the glass and and above, smells of Mold Bad. Yet none visible. I did not try and disassemble to look further.

    Wrapped it up, back to Best Buy. It’s not their fault. The thing is made that way. Made I Vietnam.

    I did stop in Office Depot, had to get supplies. I looked funny to anyone that may have observed. But, same thing, same smell.

    I went HP instead. The comparably featured HP Color Laser Jet Pro MFP M479FDW ….AND, No Mold Smell. It is a fantastic unit so far!

  6. Thanks TechGuru for the article. Would it make sense that the slower printing 600 model would print better quality color photos – because it is printing slower? Aside from the smaller footprint and features that are posted on the manufacturer site, does the 600 model do anything better than the 700 model? Thanks other readers for sharing the information about connection issues and mold. I’ll add a note that Canon has a history of self-destructing after the warranty period if you put non-Cannon ink in them (they show a fake error code and refuse to work, they won’t even scan) so I recommend buying with a credit card that offers extended warranty protection.

    • wow…i was thinking exactly that, they self-destruct after 4 years or so. My PIXMA MX922, just started printing blank pages and then gave me the SUPPORT CODE B200, and i couldn’t make it work again, but yesterday, Saturday, June/6/2020, i end up buying the new COLOR IMAGECLASS MF644Cdw, at staples for $319 with tax included. i find it to be very noisy and cumbersome and i couldn’t install it correctly on my Macbook pro, with OS Mojave, but hey, i just had it for 2 days, so let’s wait and see if my opinion will change as i use it more.

  7. I was looking for a Color Laser All-in-One for home use and got the MF644Cdw from BestBuy during the 2019 Black Friday sale for a big discount. Even though it is for home use, I keep having a lot of paperwork and kids school related stuff. In fact I had blown enough on printing at a nearby Fedex over the course of one year to have brought another printer! That was when I decided to buy one.
    Have been using it for few months without trouble. It is connected over WiFi and works nicely with my mobile and laptop. It does not have any of the moldy smell; no smell at all. The touchscreen interface is easy to use and duplex copying is great. The color prints are very good.

  8. If the moderator would be so kind…
    Can anyone explain why Canon is currently listing prices inverse to the supposed performance indicators? Model MF644Cdw is listed at $399 while model MF743Cdw is listed at $309.

  9. I went to Office max and Staples both were out of stock for the MF743Cdw for $350 I was told to come back in a week. I did return and the price is $530. Honestly!!! Do you think that will convince me to give you any money again with such bait and switch business. Who do you think you are? No where when it comes to seeing my money again. No rain checks or other oportunities. This must be new math where you lose in so many ways. Unless you prove otherwise?

  10. Greetings TechGuru, thanks for the in-depth description of these two models that Canon offers. In your evaluation there is a model error written in the document: «Picking Between the MF743Cdw or MF743Cdw». It should be changed to: «Picking Between the MF644Cdw or MF743Cdw».

    I own a HP Colour Laserjet 3600n since 2006! 14 years of reliable service and very good printing quality from this printer. This is quite an accomplishment from HP and the printer was build to last very long. However, it recently broke and it’s time for a change. My question is two fold:

    1) Does the Canon Printer MF644Cdw offers a similar long term product reliability as the HP printer? What’s the MF644Cdw printer MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure)?

    2) Ej Mund indicates in this post that he decided to go with the HP Color Laser Jet Pro MFP M479FDW. Would you be kind to provide your input on this type of Printer.

    I never had any issues with HP Printers as of today and I don’t want to select something else which I might regret.

    Regards, CP Morin

  11. I bought MF743cdw a month ago.I connected the printer wireless only, used it for a week or so, beautiful prints & scans well. Then it stopped responding to my print order. Tried to follow all the guides with Canon website, no solution. it always say “A communication problem occurred”. I Deleted then re- downloaded the driver, shut down, and restarted my computer several times, turn off & then on, the printer many times. Checked my wireless connection , everything connected to the network is working fine except this printer. I tried to return it, even though I love the quality of printing, instead they asked if talking to Canon Tech support will help, I agreed. Talked (computer chat) to 4 different ones (transferred 4 times after repeating same issue with each). Then last one put me on hold (to read what others did) the connection was lost. I returned the darn thing to the seller.
    I wish there is a solution to this “connection” issue

  12. On the mf644cdw scanning is only using the mf scan utilut software on my desk top. I am unable to scan from the printer to email. Do you know the solution


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