As a monochrome laser all-in-one printer for up to medium-duty printing in a small or micro office, the Canon imageClass D1550 ($599) offers a generous 550-sheet paper capacity for its price. Its output quality is not impressive, though, as both graphics and photos were a bit below par in our testing, and its running costs are high. But the D1550 does have a solid feature set, and is a worth considering if you need high paper capacity, print predominantly text, or don’t require top-quality graphics output.
The D1550 can print, copy, scan, and fax both single- and two-sided documents; print from a USB thumb drive or mobile device (the latter only if your network has a wireless access point); scan to a USB thumb drive, network folder, or PC; and can work as a standalone fax machine or send faxes from a PC.
Measuring 18.3 by 17.7 by 18.6 inches (HWD), the off-white D1550 is a typical size for a laser all-in-one printer, and too big for most desks. It weighs in at 45.4 pounds, so you may want to enlist a second person to help you move it into place. Its front panel includes an alphanumeric keypad, a 3.5-inch color touch-screen LCD, and a handful of physical buttons such as Home, Back, Start (for scan or copy jobs), Stop, and Energy Saver. Below the panel, to the left of the output tray, is the port for a USB thumb drive.
A 50-sheet duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF), above the letter-size flatbed, lets you copy, scan, or fax both sides of multipage documents at up to legal size in a single pass. A 500-sheet main paper tray and a 50-sheet multipurpose feeder are included, for a generous standard paper capacity of 550 sheets. One optional 500-sheet paper tray can be added, for a maximum capacity of 1,050 sheets. The D1550 has an automatic duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. Its maximum monthly duty cycle is 50,000 pages. The Editors’ Choice HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdw has a standard paper capacity of just 350 sheets, but it does have a prodigious 80,000-sheet maximum monthly duty cycle.
The D1550 offers USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and near field communication (NFC) connectivity. Supported apps, protocols, and services include Apple AirPrint, Mopria Print Service, Canon Print Business, and Google Cloud Print. I tested the printer over an Ethernet connection with its driver installed on a PC running Windows 10 Professional. The only printer driver included is Canon’s standard UFR II host-based driver; both the HP M426fdw and the Brother MFC-L5700DW include PCL drivers and PostScript emulations.
In its default duplex printing mode, the D1550 averaged 18.8 pages per minute (ppm) in printing the text-only (Word) portion of our new business applications suite, a touch faster than its 15ppm rated speed. In printing the full suite, which includes PDF, PowerPoint, and Excel files in addition to the aforementioned Word document, it averaged 11.7ppm. These times were similar to those of the Canon imageClass MF416dw, which we clocked at 17.2ppm on the text document and 11.5ppm on the entire suite.
In ad hoc testing in simplex (one-sided) printing mode, the D1550 printed our text document at 27.5ppm, in agreement with its 28ppm simplex speed rating. In printing our full business suite, it averaged 16.3ppm. The Brother MFC-L5700DW averaged 42.2ppm for the Word document, matching its 42ppm rated speed, and 21.6ppm for the full suite. The Canon MF416dw printed the text document at 32ppm, and the full suite at 17.4ppm. The HP M426fdw is rated at 40ppm, but we can’t directly compare its speed with the D1550’s, as we tested that printer using our old testbed and suite.
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Overall output quality was a bit below par. The D1550 produced average text and slightly subpar graphics and photos. Text should be good enough for any business use except those requiring very small fonts.
With graphics, colors were bright and well saturated. Some illustrations showed considerable dithering (graininess). With one figure that should have depicted a gradient between dark and light zones, there was no difference between the shading throughout. Two illustrations had traces of banding.
Some photo prints showed substantial graininess. There was considerable loss of detail in some bright areas. Print quality is suitable for printing out photos from webpages.
Running costs for the D1550, based on Canon’s prices and yield figures for toner, are 3.5 cents per page, which is high for a mono laser at its price. This is considerably more than the Brother MFC-L5700DW (1.6 cents per page) and the HP M426fdw (2.2 cents), and also more than the Canon MF416dw (3 cents).
The Canon imageClass D1550’s 550-sheet standard paper capacity is generous, even exceeding that of the HP M426fdw. It has a much lower duty cycle than that Editors’ Choice model, considerably higher running costs, and photo and graphics output that are not as impressive. If paper capacity is your number one priority, and you don’t need top-notch graphics and/or photo quality, however, the D1550 is a reasonable choice.