Everything about the Canon imageClass D1620 makes it a great multifunction monochrome laser printer for high-volume offices, except its high running costs.

The Canon imageClass D1620 ($499) is a multifunction monochrome laser printer designed for low- to medium-volume printing and copying in small- and midsize offices. Like the Editors' Choice Brother MFC-L6700DW, it's fast, it prints well, and it's built to accommodate high-volume printing and copying. However, the D1620's high running costs, especially for this price range, may cause the budget-conscious buyer pause. Otherwise, the D1620 meets all other print and copy requirements for busy offices.

At 17.8 by 19.5 by 18.3 inches (HWD) and weighing 41.9 pounds, the D1620 is no desktop machine. Like several competing models, including the Canon imageClass MF424dW and the Brother MFC-L6700DW (both Editors' Choice models) the D1620 is built to churn out thousands of prints and copies each month. Also close in size and capacities are Lexmark's MB2442adwe and Epson's WorkForce Pro WF-M5799, a high-volume monochrome inkjet AIO.

Atop the D1620 is a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) that supports scanning and copying two-sided multipage documents in a single pass—not an uncommon feature for AIOs in this class.

The D1620 comes with a spacious 5-inch color touch-screen display that, as shown in the image below, comprises the entire control panel. From here, not only do you perform walk-up tasks, but you can configure most features, monitor status, and generate reports. Also configurable from here are a collection of routines, or apps, that Canon calls the Application Library platform. This platform lets you choose from up to seven strategic functions that you can modify based on your team's everyday workflow, including scanner presets, custom print templates, consumable status alerts, and more.

Also, like most business-oriented AIOs, this one comes with an embedded website that, as is also the case with the control panel, allows you to configure, monitor, and generate reports from your browser, as shown here.

As for paper handling, the D1620 comes ready to hold up to 650 sheets of paper, split between a spacious 550-sheet cassette and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray. If 650 sheets from two input sources are not enough, you can add up to three 550-sheet drawers ($299.99 each), for a total of 2,300.

Among the competing models mentioned here so far, only the Brother MFC-L6700DW comes close to matching that capacity. That model can house 570 sheets out of the box and expand up to 1,610 sheets.

The imageClass D1620's maximum monthly duty cycle is 50,000 pages, with a recommended monthly print volume of 7,500. Except for the MFC-L6700DW (with twice the maximum monthly duty cycle and a suggested monthly volume of 2,500 pages less), the D1620 out-rates the other AIOs mentioned here.

Finally, for increased compatibility in graphic design and desktop publishing prepress environments, in addition to Canon's standard UFR II page description language (PDL), you also get emulation for HP's PCL 5 and PCL 6, as well as Adobe's PostScript 3.0.

The D1620 connects to other devices (for example, a single PC), your local area network (LAN), and the internet via a USB 2.0 port, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi, as well as Wi-Fi Direct, the wireless peer-to-peer protocol. It does not, however, support near-field communication (NFC) for making peer-to-peer touch-to-print connections.

Supported third-party mobile connections include Apple AirPrint, Canon Print Business, Google Cloud Print, and Mopria Print Service. And finally, you can print from or scan to USB thumb drives via the port located on the left-front side of the chassis, just beneath the scanner.

The D1620's security features are adequate but not exceptional. It comes with the standard Secure Print function, in which you assign personal identification numbers (PINs) to sensitive documents, only allowing access to those who know the PIN. The D1620 also allows you to deny access to specific features by user and/or department name, as well as restrict access by IP addresses. You can configure these and other security options via the control panel or the D1620's built-in web site.

Canon rates the D1620 at 45 pages per minute (ppm), which is about what should be expected of a monochrome laser AIO in this price range. To assess its performance, I ran my tests using our standard Intel Core i5-equipped testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional. The D1620 churned out our 12-page Microsoft Word monochrome text document at the rate of 47.1ppm, which matches the Brother MFC-L6700DW and beats the rest of the competition mentioned here.

The next portion of my tests included printing several complex Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint documents consisting primarily of full-page charts, graphs, and other business graphics. Then I combined those scores with the results from printing the 12-page text document in the previous test, to come up with a comprehensive score for printing our entire suite of test documents.

Here, the D1620 managed 16.9ppm. That's 4.8ppm slower than the MFC-L6700DW, 4.7ppm behind the MFC-L5700DW, 4.4ppm slower than the MF424dw. The WF-M5799 held its own at 0.3ppm faster than the D1620. The bottom line is that the imageClass D1620 held up well against its competitors when printing monochrome text, but fell behind its laser counterparts when converting complex color documents to grayscale and then printing them.

Like most Canon monochrome laser printers I've tested, this one's overall print quality is better than acceptable. Our standard serif and sans-serif font test pages came out with well-shaped characters and accurate and attractive kerning and tracking. The D1620's text output is very close to typesetter-quality.

The full-page Excel charts and graphs and PowerPoint handouts also came out looking attractive, with barely perceptible flaws in dark backgrounds and fills and minor stepping from one gray tone to the next in gradients, making the D1620's output suitable for both internal and external business distribution.

The imageClass D1620's cost per page (CPP) of 3.3 cents is its Achilles' heel. Everything about this all-in-one—its high default and expansion paper input capacities, its massive 7,500-page recommended monthly print volume, its 50-sheet single-pass ADF, and so on—emphasizes high volume, except for its cost per page.

Comparatively, the Brother MFC-L6700DW's lowest CPP (when you use that company's highest-yield toner cartridge) is 1.5 cents per page; the MFC-L5700DW's CPP is 1.6 cents, and even Canon's MF424dw costs 1-cent per-page less to use.

The imageClass D1620 is an example of how a machine that is otherwise designed to churn out thousands of pages each month is dampened by its high running costs. Everything about this AIO—its initial high paper capacity, its volume ratings, its expansion options, and so on—suggests high volume. If lower running costs are important to you, you should check out the Canon imageClass MF424dw or the Brother MFC-L6700DW, though neither machine is as feature-packed as the D1620. If, on the other hand, your small office or work group cares more about high paper capacity and big, brawny, built-to-last workhorse functionality, you should check out the Canon imageClass D1620.

Bottom Line: Everything about the Canon imageClass D1620 makes it a great multifunction monochrome laser printer for high-volume offices, except its high running costs.

William Harrel is a contributing editor focusing on printer and scanner technology and reviews. He has been writing about computer technology since well before the advent of the internet. He has authored or coauthored 20 books—including titles in the popular "Bible," "Secrets," and "For Dummies" series—on digital design and desktop publishing softw... See Full Bio

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