Canon Pixma MP640 review

28 Aug 2009

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

Price when reviewed 
148
5

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 choicesWe 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.

Details

Price ex VAT £126
Price inc VAT £148
Performance 6
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Speed rating 6

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 9600 x 2400dpi
Ink-drop size 1.0pl
Integrated TFT screen? yes
Rated/quoted print speed 9PPM
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function yes

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page N/A
Cost per A4 colour page 5.8p
Inkjet technology Thermal
Ink type Dye-based black & colour, pigment-based black

Power and noise

Peak noise level 47.0dB(A)
Dimensions 450 x 368 x 176mm (WDH)
Peak power consumption 14W
Idle power consumption 1W

Copier Specification

Fax? no
Fax speed N/A
Fax page memory N/A

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time 47s
A4 photo print time 1min 37s
Mono print speed (measured) 7.3ppm
Colour print speed 4.6ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? yes
Input tray capacity 300 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? yes
Bluetooth connection? no
WiFi connection? yes
PictBridge port? yes
Other connections None

Flash media

SD card reader yes
Compact Flash reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
xD-card reader no
USB flash drive support? yes

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported? yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported? yes
Operating system Windows 98SE supported? no
Other operating system support Mac OS X 10.3.9 and above
Software supplied Canon MP Navigator EX, Easy-PhotoPrint EX, CD-LabelPrint