Canon Pixma MX420 review
Print quality is good, but high running costs and disappointing speeds make it unsuitable for most offices
Review Date: 1 Apr 2011
Reviewed By: Luke Sampson
Price when reviewed: £80 (£96 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Followers of PC Pro’s A List over the last few years will be aware that Canon’s Pixma range has scarcely vacated the inkjet and all-in-one top slots. Expectations were therefore high for the Pixma MX420, the new mid-point of Canon’s home office family.
The physical design is familiar from the consumer models we’ve tested. It’s clad in the same high-gloss black plastic with curved edges, with a small 2.5in colour TFT and control panel alongside scan, fax, copy and memory card buttons. There’s a lot there, but the buttons are large and widely spaced, so it’s reasonably intuitive to get to grips with.
For a whisker under £100, the MX420 offers a 100-sheet input tray, a 30-sheet ADF and a choice of USB, Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi connections. It also supports printing from a memory card or USB stick, and both these features worked fine in our tests; we were previewing images on the screen in no time.
Our print tests went well, producing thick, crisp and clear text. Photos had reasonable detail, and gradients were handled with no banding, although colours proved deep and oversaturated in places. On the whole we were rather impressed to discover this output came from just a black and tri-colour cartridge set – it’s not up there with the premium Pixmas, but for the price it’s not bad at all.
Unfortunately, the MX420 wasn’t so hot when it came to print speed. It produced mono documents at 8ppm, slowing to just 3ppm in colour, both of which dent its office credentials somewhat. Photos are quicker, with a 6x4in print taking only 41 seconds at best quality, but that’s small consolation.
The scanner captured a fair amount of detail, and both dark and light tones were largely accurate. This carried over to copies, which were vibrant and clear, if a little frayed around some fine edges. The quality is good enough for a small office, but again the speed isn’t anything to write home about.
The other main issue is that once you’ve paid the reasonable £96 inc VAT purchase price, replacing the cartridges results in costs of 2.7p for a mono page and 6.2p for colour. The latter isn’t bad, but most small offices would hope for a better mono economy than this printer can give.
Those offices should look to something more along the lines of HP’s Officejet Pro 8000 Wireless. Only if images are a big part of your work should the Canon be considered, and even then we’ve seen plenty of better all-round offerings at similar prices.
Author: Luke Sampson
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