Canon Pixma MX420 review

1 Apr 2011

Print quality is good, but high running costs and disappointing speeds make it unsuitable for most offices

Canon Pixma MX420
Price when reviewed: 
96(£96 inc VAT)
4

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.

Canon Pixma MX420

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £80
Price inc VAT £96
Performance 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 3

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 4800 x 1200dpi
Ink-drop size 2.0pl
Integrated TFT screen? yes
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function no

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page 2.7p
Cost per A4 colour page 6.2p

Power and noise

Peak noise level 45.2dB(A)
Dimensions 458 x 415 x 198mm (WDH)
Peak power consumption 14W
Idle power consumption 2W

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time 41s
A4 photo print time 3min 18s
Mono print speed (measured) 8.0ppm
Colour print speed 2.7ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? no
Input tray capacity 100 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? yes
Bluetooth connection? no
PictBridge port? no

Flash media

SD card reader yes
Compact Flash reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
xD-card reader yes
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? no
Operating system Windows 98SE supported? no
Other operating system support Mac OS X 10.4 or higher
Software supplied Canon MP Navigator EX, Easy PhotoPrint EX