Canon i-Sensys LBP3100 review

Price when reviewed

Canon has undoubted pedigree in the printer market, but its lasers have failed to impress us in recent Labs. And its low-cost entry to this Labs, alas, doesn’t break out of that disappointing trend.

Canon i-Sensys LBP3100 review

On paper, there’s little wrong with this printer. Its 16ppm speed isn’t the fastest in the world and it’s USB only, but neither of those factors should pose a problem for its target market – the one-man home office or small-scale business operation. This isn’t a high volume printer and it doesn’t try to be.

It impressed in our throughput test, even exceeding its claimed speed: pages were produced at 17ppm, although the more demanding DTP spreadsheet saw that rate fall to 8ppm. Quality is reasonable, with text crisp and graphics banding-free. Only a rather coarse dither serves to irritate.

But in other core areas this Canon fails to deliver. It’s relatively compact, but once you’ve unfolded the flimsy input and output trays it has a considerably deeper footprint than its price rival, the Brother HL-2035.

It also falls behind its rival in terms of how expensive it is to own. Not only is its purchase price nearly 50% more, it also costs more to run. After 10,000 pages, excluding paper, the Canon will have cost you £343 exc VAT where the Brother’s equivalent price hits just £239. The principal culprit here is the toner cartridge, which costs £11 more.

In fact, the main problem for the Canon i-Sensys LBP3100 isn’t its quality, build, speed or design – it’s its direct competition. It isn’t a bad printer by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s completely outclassed in every single department by the Brother HL-2035.

Printer language & OS Support

PCL levelN/A
PostScript levelN/A

Basic Specifications

Resolution printer final600 x 600dpi
Rated/quoted print speed16PPM
Maximum paper sizeA4
Duplex functionno

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page2.5p
Cost per A4 colour pageN/A


Monthly duty cycle5,000 pages
Drum lifeN/A
Fuser lifeN/A
Transfer-belt lifeN/A
Standard mono toner life1,500 pages
High-yield mono toner lifeN/A
Standard colour toner lifeN/A
High-yield colour toner lifeN/A
Supplied mono toner life700 pages
Supplied colour toner lifeN/A

Power and noise

Peak noise level50.0dB(A)
Dimensions372 x 250 x 197mm (WDH)
Peak power consumption880W
Idle power consumption2W

Performance tests

Mono print speed (measured)17ppm
Colour print speedN/A

Media Handling

Input tray capacity150 sheets
Output tray capacity100 sheets


USB connection?yes
Ethernet connection?no
Bluetooth connection?no
WiFi connection?no
PictBridge port?no
Other connectionsNone

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported?no
Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported?no
Operating system Windows 98SE supported?no
Other operating system supportMac OS X 10.3.9 and various Linux implementations

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