A true home/small office multi-function solution
Feb 10, 2009 (Updated Feb 12, 2009)
Review by truewebusa
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Loaded with features, compact size, affordable price
Cons:None really, networking requries some tech knowhow.
The Bottom Line: For the money this is a great multi-function device with many professional grade features carried over from Canon's commercial products.
For my day job I oversee the operation of the IT department for a company with over 1,500 employees at 6 locations on the East coast. We like to centralize printing, scanning and faxing processes to keep supply and maintenance cost to a minimum. As you can imagine that means a lot of people using shared devices located around each location.
Recommend this product?
Over the years we have come to standardize on Canon equipment. Canon makes some of the most intuitive user interfaces on their copiers that I’ve had experience with. Their machines are almost always easy to understand for maintenance, clearing jams and changing supplies. My experiences with Canon are some of the reasons I selected the Canon D480 as a multi-function device for my home office.
The Canon D480 comes with a long list of features that make sense to me; built-in fax, network scanning, duplex printing, automatic duplex scanning, PC faxing, duplex copying and printing. This long and complete list of features is the rest of the reasons I selected the D480.
The D480 is a very compact unit for all the capabilities it has. It fits easily on top of your typical 18” deep filing cabinet. It doesn’t need much room on either side since all the supplies (paper and toner) load from the front. You won’t want to place it in too tight an area since you may need to open the back cover at some point to clear a paper jam in the printer if you regularly print on paper of unusual size or thickness. Everything but that back paper path access door is on the front making the D480 very convenient and compact.
Connecting the printer is simple. It includes only a phone cable for the fax. You will need to provide a network cable and/or a USB cable depending on how you want to connect it. I opted for the network connection since I have multiple computers in my office and around my home that I want to be able to take advantage of printing, faxing and scanning on. The functionality is virtually the same whether you go with USB or networking there are a few minor differences and they are well documented on the CD e-manual that is included.
In regard to the documentation included. There is a starter guide which really just helps get it up and running initially. There is a basic guide that goes a step beyond the starter guide for the most common uses and settings of the D480 and there is a CD with a detailed e-manual. The e-manual is a wonderful tool. It has a very clear and intuitive menu that runs through your web browser (internet explorer for example) and takes you step by step down pretty much every process and function necessary to use the Canon. It clearly breaks out the difference between connecting USB or network and then clearly explains the steps to use any function for the connection type you are using.
Once the D480 is on the network it will either be assigned an IP address by your network through DHCP or when you install the drivers on your first PC the installation program will locate the device and allow you to assign an IP address manually. If you end up setting the IP address manually I recommend you power it off and back on. I could not get the driver to find the printer after I assigned the address until I power cycled it. Driver installation easy. If you are going to use the D480 to fax from applications on your desktop you will want to be sure to select that driver. It’s the “Canon D460-490 (FAX)” driver. It is not selected for install by default.
Both printing and faxing are self-explanatory. Once you start the process the driver software will walk you through each step so you can choose to change any options. If you use Canon printers at your office you will immediately recognize the interface for advanced settings like double sided printing, collating, orientation and quality. Faxing just adds steps for selecting a cover sheet, filling in the cover sheet and setting the recipients fax number.
The network scanning feature is great. Hopefully, if you read this review, you can skip the extra 3 hours it took me trying to get it set up and working and go directly to scanning. I have not installed any of the 3rd party software that is included with the D480 yet (Presto! PageManager & OmniPage SE), but I will do it soon. The installation of the network drivers is simple. There are two ways to do it. The “normal” way is the intended way. When you put in the install CD included, after installing drivers, you get the option to “install additional software” where you can select to install the Network ScanGear application. On my 64-bit Vista workstation this “additional software” option was not available, so I had to use the alternate method for installing, which is to browse the CD to the ScanGear folder and run the installer from there.
Once you install the ScanGear software a “ScanGear Tool” program option is available in your start menu. All this application does is allow you to chose which network scanner your applications will connect to for scanning. You must run this tool before scanning. My big mistake was assuming that the “Network ScanGear” application was actually an application that I’d be able to run and scan something with. The ScanGear application is simply a conduit by which other applications on your computer can access the network scanner. In other words you need to use another program to actually scan such as Microsoft Word or Windows Fax and Scan. Once you have a program that can scan running select the option within that program for “scan” or “acquire image from a scanner”. You’ll be presented with a dialog box asking you to select the scanning method. One of the options is for the “Network ScanGear ver.###”). You will want to make sure that’s the one selected. Click on continue and you’ll be presented with the ScanGear interface. This is the screen that I initially assumed could be accessed through the programs menu. Now you can set the resolution, color scale, scan area, scan source (platen or ADF) and other necessary settings to get the scan you need. From there it’s pretty self explanatory with one exception. Occasionally on my computer the D480 completed the scan and sat at 100% with a cancel option. I had to click on cancel to actually finish the scan and bring it back to the original application as an image, counter-intuitive.
Overall I’m very pleased with the Canon D480. It’s compact, solidly built, has intuitive controls and is generally easy to use. I think with some clearer instructions on the method for network scanning it would be nearly perfect. I believe the D480 would be an excellent low-cost solution for any home office or small office with 1 to 10 users sharing it. With so many high-end features like automatic duplex scanning and network scanning it’s an amazing deal.
My one and only complaint is that it’s missing my favorite function from its bigger siblings, you cannot scan directly to email from the device, you have to network scan first then attach the resulting image to an email.
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