Canon Pixma MG4250 review
Solid performance – and new high-yield inks reduce running costs – but it feels cheap in places
The quality of all-in-one printers at around the £50 mark is tremendous these days, and for home users who print mainly documents plus a few photos, Canon’s Pixmas have long been a safe bet. This is still the case with the new Pixma MG4250, although don’t expect any major enhancements.
The most noticeable difference with the new model is the shift to a matte finish throughout, which gives the printer a less flashy, tacky look. The controls remain on the left edge of the device, with a few minor alterations. The circular scroll wheel has been replaced by a simpler, yet more clicky and cheap-feeling four-way cursor pad to go with the existing option selectors, and the garish blue glow of the power button has been toned down. The screen still tilts up for use when copying or scanning.
The MG4250 lacks the individual colour inks of its more expensive Pixma cousins, but arguably the most important improvement is that it finally accepts high-yield ink cartridges. To illustrate the difference this makes, a set of standard inks – one black and one combined colour – will set you back just over £25 from Amazon and will last only 180 pages. That gives you a high running cost of 7p for mono and 14.3p for colour.
By contrast, the XL black and colour inks each cost only around £4 more, yet they last 600 and 400 pages respectively. This reduces the running costs to a much more reasonable 2.8p for mono and 7.1p for colour. The printer itself is cheap at £55 inc VAT, so you’d be crazy not to spend a little more on XL cartridges to go with it.
Performance is mixed, depending on your main printing habits. Mono documents fly out at a solid 18.2ppm in normal mode, and slightly faster in draft mode. The print quality is high, with thick black text and no visible spidering, and although solid areas showed a few speckles, it’s generally fine for document work. Colour output isn’t quite so good, crawling out at only 3.5ppm in our tests, but aside from a rather pale red, the results are perfectly acceptable. The same is true of photographs – although, understandably, they aren’t quite as rich and vivid as the output from a more expensive Pixma with individual inks.
Scanning speed is average, with results that are good but not excellent. Colours are vivid and fairly well captured, although a close look at our scanned photographs shows that the detail isn’t on a par with the average HP all-in-one. Some scans and copies were a little murky, too, particularly when capturing colour on a white background.
With a 2.5in colour screen, AirPrint support, an auto-duplex mode, and various auto-off and quiet-mode features to play with, the Pixma MG4250 offers plenty for its low price. It doesn’t quite beat our current favourite budget all-in-one, the HP Photosmart 5510, though, which has a much higher-quality (albeit slower) scanner, slightly lower running costs and a nicer touchscreen interface.
|Resolution printer final||4800 x 1200dpi|
|Integrated TFT screen?||yes|
|Maximum paper size||A4|
|Cost per A4 mono page||7.0p|
|Cost per A4 colour page||14.3p|
Power and noise
|Dimensions||449 x 304 x 152mm (WDH)|
|Mono print speed (measured)||18.2ppm|
|Colour print speed||3.5ppm|
|Input tray capacity||100 sheets|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|Other memory media support||MMC|
|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?||yes|