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All-in-one machines are getting cheaper all the time, but the new PIXMA MP160, launched at the start of September, sets some sort of record for Canon, with a street price of under £45. Even with this low asking price, you’re getting a serviceable device, based on a four-colour print engine.
This is a substantial machine for an entry-level multifunction. It's also soundly designed, from its pull-up paper support at the rear, to its fold-down paper output tray at the front. It needs no telescopic section to this tray, as the print mechanism is set well back into the all-in-one.
The small, neatly set out control panel has only a few functions, but these are well chosen. On the right, there are black & white and colour copy buttons, as well as one to cancel jobs, while simple Scan and Fit to Page buttons complement them on the left. Three indicators show paper jam and low ink in black and colour cartridges and in the centre of the panel is a single-digit, bright orange LCD display and a column of three indicators for paper size and type.
The single-character display is cleverly used, not just to show the number of copies selected – between one and nine – but also to indicate busy, head alignment and camera connected conditions. While it may not be as clear as a 16-character LCD display, it's one of the few concessions to the machine's low price.
There are no memory card slots, but since there is no LCD display this is hardly surprising. There is a PictBridge socket, though, so you can still print from a digital camera. A single USB socket at the rear is the only connection to a PC.
Lift the surprisingly small scanner section of the machine and it rises on a blue ‘bonnet support’ strut to provide access to the print cartridges. The machine uses a single black and a tri-colour cartridge and you can buy these in standard or high yield versions. You slide them back into the print head and push up to click them into position.
Software bundled with the PIXMA MP-160 covers all aspects of its operation, with OCR for text scanning from the Contact Image Sensor (CIS) scanner, Canon's own Easy Photo and Easy Web Print and photo editing with ArcSoft’s PhotoStudio.
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