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Canon Pixma MP640 review

Verdict

The best Canon home all-in-one yet, with flawless quality and an impressive feature list

Review Date: 28 Aug 2009

Reviewed By: David Bayon

Price when reviewed: £126 (£148 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Canon has been toying with its top-end all-in-one printers over the past year or so, replacing the brilliant MP610 with the MP620 and MP630, both with a new print engine, one wireless, and the other duplex. It makes perfect sense, then, that the new MP640 rolls both together to finish the job.

So it features USB and 802.11bg WLAN, as well as an Ethernet port and a duplex unit for two-sided printing. But that's not all: flip up the control panel and you'll find the TFT has grown to a more sensible 3in and the transparent scroll wheel feels smoother and more durable than before. The rear ports are recessed so the printer fits against a back wall, and even with the duplex unit on the back it's not an overly fat device.

Canon Pixma MP640 control panel

The rest of the physical unit is the same, with a 150-sheet rear tray and base cassette, and we never tire of seeing the output tray fold open of its own accord when a print job starts. The door on the right hides media slots, and there's a PictBridge port beneath them.

The five inks haven't changed either, which is no bad thing. In our test documents, text was bold and solid, while photos were every bit as vibrant and detailed as those from the standalone iP4700. Speeds were similar too, with a 47-second 6 x 4in photo and 1min 37secs for A4; only documents slowed a little, coming out at 7.3ppm in mono and 4.6ppm in colour.

Click here to see all of our A List all-in-one choices

We found the scanner lightning fast – just 15 seconds for a 6 x 4in photo at 600ppi, for example – and the results were good too. There wasn't quite as much detail as with the best HP devices, and colours were a little muted, but it's better than average. This also leads to good copies: our photocopy was soft but the colours were accurate, while charts and text were sharp, if a little faded.

And running costs remain the same. Photos are 11.4p before paper costs, and colour documents 5.8p. In fact, we can see only two stumbling blocks. The first is the price – it will set you back about £30 more than the outgoing MP620 – the price you pay for wireless. The second is the menu, which is looking increasingly old-fashioned and clumsy as we see more and more touchscreen printers arrive.

That upgrade will hopefully come with Canon's next release, but for now it's a minor hiccup in an otherwise fantastic home device. If you want the best in quality and speed, with all the home connections you could possibly need, the MP640 is for you.

Author: David Bayon

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User comments

This is an area where I believe multitouch screens should be used more effectively.

The LCD panel that flips up should house all controls, if possible.

As a Bonus idea, it would be great if I could see the document I'm scanning in the LCD panel and then move or zoom into the precise area that I wish to be scanned - its amazing nobody has done this yet. Plus would love to see it in photocopiers too!

By nicomo on 1 Oct 2009

Windows 7?

Did the reviewer try this on Windows 7 - including the 64-bit version? Just checked the Canon website and there is no sign of a W7 driver, or even a 64-bit Vista one. Will hang onto my pennies until I get a decent answer to this one...

By cats_five on 23 Oct 2009

Windows 7 is supported

I've just installed this on Windows 7, 64 bit. The driver CD failed, but the Canon website delivered the goods (http://software.canon-europe.com/index.asp). I've only installed the driver rather than all the associated 'crapware' as PC Pro likes to call it, but the driver works in just the same way it does on a Vista laptop.

By dwaller on 29 Oct 2009

Envelopes?

Can it print on DL and C5 envelopes?

By stephen_elms on 20 Nov 2009

cant buy this anywhere

ive been trying to buy this printer, but everyone seems to be out of stock and canon have not confirmed more shipments. I was just looking at the mp620, how different is this in comparriosn, does it ahve the same print engine?

By harryracer on 18 Dec 2009

Uses colour even when printing in B/W

I have an MP 610 which is excellent for all printing needs but it costs a fortune in print cartridges. I mainly print in fast draft greyscale but have been getting through loads of colour. Canon tell me it uses colour even when printing in greyscale. My old HP never did that and it completely changes the economics of owning an inkjet. Has this been carried over to the 640 and is it generally known about?

By jonselwyn on 18 Dec 2009

This printer should not be on the A-List

I thought that one of the conditions of being on the A-List was that a product should be readily available.

As HarryRacer has already pointed out, you can't seem to buy one of these printers anywhere and the stockists that I have contacted tell me that the expected delivery dates from Canon keep being revised and put back, with no sign of new stock.

By Titanium on 24 Dec 2009

This printer should not be on the A-List

I thought that one of the conditions of being on the A-List was that a product should be readily available.

As HarryRacer has already pointed out, you can't seem to buy one of these printers anywhere and the stockists that I have contacted tell me that the expected delivery dates from Canon keep being revised and put back, with no sign of new stock.

By Titanium on 24 Dec 2009

Magnificent Canon

I've owned HP & Epson printers & MFPs over the years but this is by far the best. Don't know why I never considered Canon Printers having owned 5 Cameras in the past & all performed faultlessly. Even
the packaging shouts QUALITY...
Setup (Wireless) was faultless & was the first time I've done it without error or having to resort to expletives & cursing. Having both Windows & Mac PCs I thought it was going to be a daunting task but I was proved wrong. Both done within a hour of opening the box. Print quality is exceptional.
Only downside...price of the Cartridges...OUCH...!!!
Apart from that, as a long time PC user, this is by far the best device I have bought & thanks to the positive Reviews would recommend that you do the same...

By Nedge on 6 Jan 2010

Just managed to get one

A week ago I could not find one of these bad boys in stock anywhere. Some stock have now appeared on Amazon + it's cheaper than listed in your price feed below (£143.91 vs £162).

http://tinyurl.com/ylacrz5

Hopefully suppliers everywhere are now getting stock through.

Cheers,

C.

By lowecg on 22 Jan 2010

fast duplex printer, but ...

If you want to buy this printer because it is one of the fastest duplex inktjet printer, you should consider the following fact. If automatic duplex printing is enabled (even when you only need to print one page) then the pixma mp640 will print much lighter. So black will then look more like very dark grey which is less convenient to read than "real" black.

By abc85 on 10 Feb 2010

Great except for duplex

Great in every way EXCEPT why oh why is the text so poor in duplex (agree with abc85). I nearly sent mine back, but decided to do without duplex instead.

By tony_p on 11 Feb 2010

How can I print DL-size envelopes in the right orientation?

How can I print envelopes in the right orientation?

Irrespective of whether I chose “landscape” – which I should – or “portrait” in the “orientation” setting, the printing always came out as if I chose “portrait”!

Help! Have I done anything wrong, or is there a fault in the printer driver software?

By climy on 12 Feb 2010

A-List Ink Cleaning Warning Please

Good printer combi, I have 3 Mp's working from 620 to 640. All purchased due to this A-List.
However since I began using one I discovered that it cleans after every print run. I was printing only in black for 3 weeks & the colours ran out. Googled this & found www.pcadvisor.co.uk/forums/index.cfm?action=showth
read&threadid=358201&forumid=2&sr=121
Seems this a problem with all Canon.
Can we have this checked when you test please PCPro. Bit expensive, can't buy any more.

By Ucumist on 9 Mar 2010

Landscape or Portrait

Set the correct orientation in the application (eg Word) that you are printing from. You have to understand the difference, the printer setting is to do with the way the paper is aliened. That or turn the envelope round.

By Ucumist on 9 Mar 2010

This printer should never been on the A-List

Drinks ink faster than a F1 car, a major disadvantage!!!!!!!!!!

Duplex text density poor!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where were these in the review??????

Would not recommended it to my enemy.

By RonWard on 26 Jul 2010

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