Canon Laser Shot LBP-3300 review

Price when reviewed

The Canon LBP-3300 cuts a pleasingly compact figure. Thanks to its sober, space-saving design, it should fit neatly into your workspace. It’s easy to operate thanks to the fact that everything bar cables and the power switch is accessible from the front. The multipurpose feed is slightly fiddly, and only takes a single sheet, but the Laser Shot helps out by grabbing the paper as soon as it’s inserted, rather than dumbly awaiting instructions from the computer.

Canon Laser Shot LBP-3300 review

There’s some clever engineering under the bonnet too. Print processing times are negligible, and output speeds are decent if not exceptional (21ppm in our 5% letter test), making this mono laser an attractive choice for intermittent use. Canon’s Smart Compression Architecture keeps print jobs small; although the LBP-3300 only has 8MB of onboard memory, it had no problem rendering our most complex pages at 600dpi.

What impressed us most was the built-in duplex unit, which was a surprise at this price point. The ability to create double-sided documents reduces paper usage and saves space. There’s a trade-off, though: it took around twice as long to print a document double-sided as it did to print the same document in single-sided mode.

In our quality tests, we were impressed with black text, but greys suffered from uneven half-toning, giving a mottling effect, and photographs looked stark and grainy. Colour to monochrome conversion was particularly undiscerning, with much of our rainbow rendered as a homogenous area of grey. Setting the driver to photo mode slashed speeds from 21ppm to 10ppm in our test, but barely improved print quality.

Overall, the LBP-3300’s quality, speed and running costs were average. For some, its duplex unit could prove more compelling than the smoother dithering or lower print costs on offer elsewhere. Which way the scales tip will depend on your personal priorities, however, and for that reason we can’t recommend the LBP-3300 for everyone.

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