Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE C256iF and C356iF II Review

Good: 10.1" color flat panel control panel, scan-to-cloud functionality, four previously optional security features are now standard.
Bad: Doesn't accept 11" x 17" paper handling; limited finishing options.
Bottom Line: Refresh of current series of color MFPs with newer features, including scanning to cloud functionality, and increased emphasis on security.
Vendor:
Product:
Price:
Intended Users:
Canon
iR ADVANCE C256iF/C356iF II
$3,900-$4,700
Small, Medium
Speed Black:
Speed Color:
Processor:
Memory:
26 ppm-36 ppm
26 ppm-36 ppm
Dual Custom Processor
3 GB

Product Overview

Canon has recently refreshed its imageRUNNER ADVANCE C255iF and C355iF devices with more flexible features aimed at companies with a mobile workforce. Some of the newer features include cloud-based functionality, such as dashboard reporting, cloud authentication, and scan-to-cloud. Also, four previously optional security features are now standard, including encrypted secure print, secure watermark, encrypted PDF and device digital signature PDF.

The new devices are the C256iF II and C356iF II. The C256iF II prints and copies up to 26ppm in black and color; it has a first-copy-out time of 9.4 seconds in color. The C356iF II has an engine speed of up to 36ppm in black and color as well as a first-copy-out time of 6.9 seconds (color). Both devices offer standard printing, copying, scanning and faxing functions.

Both models include the Canon Dual Custom Processor, 3 GB of memory and a 250 GB hard drive. There is also a 10.1″ color control panel with a flat touchscreen that works like a smartphone. The control panel uses a feature called My ADVANCE that allows each user to customize specific features (i.e. a personal address book) based on their specific workflows.

Printing language, such as PCL, PostScript and Canon’s proprietary UFR II, is supported. USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity are also standard. The devices also support mobile printing and scanning.

More details on the devices’ features are in our Features section below.

The C256iF II and C356iF II has strong features for the small-to-medium-sized businesses that don’t require A3 paper handling.

Features

Paper handling: Standard paper handling starts with a 550-sheet paper cassette and a 100-sheet bypass. Canon offers additional paper options, such as the 550-sheet paper cassette, 550-sheet cassette with cabinet stand and three 550-sheets paper unit. The maximum capacity is 2,300 sheets. All paper trays accept up to 8.5″ x 14″ size.

Automatic duplexing is supported. Both devices has a standard 100-sheet single-pass duplexing document feeder. The document feeder supports paper up to 8.5″ x 14″ in size and has a scanning speed of 50ipm single-sided.

Standard output capacity is 250 sheets. There is an optional stapling finisher with a 500-sheet capacity. It includes 30-sheet corner stapling.

Scanning and faxing: The color scanning function allows for sending scans to multiple destinations, such as email, SMB and mailbox. It supports file formats, such as TIFF, JPEG, compact and searchable PDF, encrypted PDF, and PDF with digital signature. LDAP is also supported.

The devices include document storage functionality with a maximum of 100 user in-boxes that includes a capacity of 30,000 pages stored. The Advanced Box mailbox and storage system that allows users to store work in an expanded number of shared boxes on hard drive. It also allows users anywhere on the network to store files created on their PCs, and is accessible, subject to authentication.

As noted above, the devices support scan-to-cloud functionality. Users can scan documents to cloud storage solutions, such as Google Drive and Box.

The faxing function uses a 33.6kbps modem with JBIG compression and up to 30,000 pages in fax memory. A single fax line is standard but two fax lines are optional.

Security: The Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE C256iF II and C356iF II includes many security features, both standard and optional. Some of the standard features include user authentication, device and function-level log-in, hard disk drive erase, IP/Mac address filtering and encrypted secure print, to name several. Optional security features include hard disk drive mirroring, hard disk drive removal, data loss prevention, and document scan locking.

  • Automatic Document Feeder?
  • Duplexing?
  • Ethernet Connectivity?
  • Wireless Connectivity?
  • Mobile Printing/Scanning?
  • Finishers?

Shortcomings

As the devices accept up to 8.5″ x 14″ paper only, they’re not intended for companies that require 11″ x 17″ paper handling. And aside from the stapling finisher, there’s no other finishers offered.

About

Canon is the number-one copier company in the U.S. if measured by the total number of units sold.

The company has an impressive line of multifunctional devices, and it’s one of the leaders in this market. Most of Canon’s multifunction printer (MFP) line carries the imageRUNNER brand name.

Over the years, Canon’s print controller strategy has involved partnering with EFI, the third-party controller company that dominates the color market. The company also relies on controllers developed by Canon itself. The controllers, which feature Canon’s IP architecture (the “IP” stands for “Image Platform”), can be found on all imageRUNNER models.

Canon’s MEAP architecture (Multifunctional Embedded Application Program) has been a significant addition to Canon’s controller strategy. It’s featured on most of its mid-to-high-volume models. The MEAP platform features an open architecture for providing custom software applications, some for private use and others sold on the open market as add-on products from third parties.

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