Canon Pixma MX885 review

10 Jun 2011

Produces high-quality results at good speeds, but we’re not convinced that justifies the running costs

Price when reviewed 
145
4

Canon long ago introduced the concept of the half-touch, half-display interface to its consumer all-in-ones, and now the office range gets the same treatment – of a sort. The new flagship Pixma MX885 comes in an all-black design, with a 3in screen surrounded not by touch buttons this time, but by a grid of tiles with glowing labels that change to match the menu onscreen.

It works well, particularly when you think back to the old circular navigation buttons it replaces. Four Scan, Copy, Fax and Card buttons take you into the relevant menus, with the tiles switching to navigation controls or number pads as required. The screen itself is still a little cramped next to the touch panel of a device such as the Lexmark Interact S605, but you’ll be fluent in no time.

Canon Pixma MX885

Aside from that, nothing else has changed feature-wise from the previous flagship, the MX870. A choice of USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi ticks all the boxes for small office environments, and it has two 150-sheet input trays and a 35-sheet ADF on top. You also get an integrated duplexer to save on paper costs.

What has changed a little is the print engine. We measured a solid 10ppm in mono, up from the MX870’s 8.8ppm, and even if the colour speeds haven’t risen, they’re identical to the A-Listed standalone Pixma iP4850, at 6.1ppm for documents and 46 seconds for a top-quality 6 x 4in photo.

It uses the same five inks (with both a dye-based and pigmented black) as Canon has been using in its top-end printers for some time now, so the quality is typically excellent. Photos are near-flawless, with deep, rich tones and no visible banding or speckling. Normal-quality text is thick and solid, and even draft text is usable for all but the most important print jobs.

Scans are still Canon’s weakest point, although we’re now talking a small deficiency rather than anything to get worried about. Faint striping could be seen on some photo scans, but colours are now perfectly acceptable, and copies also looked accurate, if a little soft in places.

Canon Pixma MX885

But there’s a bigger issue that’s been creeping into the Pixma range over the last few models. Put simply, they’re getting increasingly expensive: with five inks to replace, each costing more than £12 inc VAT, A4 documents will set you back 4p for mono and 11.3p for colour. A 6 x 4in photo at standard quality costs 20.7p, and that’s before paper costs are considered.

It’s not just the MX885, either: the same inks go in the iP4850 and MG6150 – the best standalone and all-in-one inkjets we’ve tested – and their price seems to have been trickling steadily upwards over the last few years. HP’s Officejet printers will print documents for as little as 3p per colour page, while even Lexmark’s outlandish Genesis upright printer managed 9.5p per page.

Don’t get us wrong, the MX885 is another fine Canon all-in-one, and a great choice for a small office if quality and speed are of the utmost importance. But we’re reaching the point where it’s difficult to justify the cost of that quality, and that means we can’t fully recommend this otherwise excellent Pixma.

Details

Price ex VAT £121
Price inc VAT £145
Performance 5
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 3

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 9600 x 2400dpi
Ink-drop size 1.0pl
Integrated TFT screen? yes
Rated/quoted print speed 13PPM
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function yes

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page 4.0p
Cost per A4 colour page 10.2p
Inkjet technology Thermal
Ink type Dye-based black & colour, pigment-based black

Power and noise

Peak noise level 44.9dB(A)
Dimensions 491 x 448 x 218mm (WDH)
Peak power consumption 23W
Idle power consumption 3W

Copier Specification

Fax? yes
Fax speed 33.6Kb/sec
Fax page memory 250

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? no
Input tray capacity 300 sheets

Connectivity

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

Flash media

SD card reader yes
Compact Flash reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
xD-card reader no
USB flash drive support? yes
Other memory media support MD, MMC

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 10.4.11 and above
Software supplied Canon MP Navigator EX, Easy PhotoPrint EX