The speeds Canon quotes for the PIXMA MP280: 8.4ppm for black and 4.8ppm for colour, are very close to the same specs for the PIXMA MP495, which are 8.8ppm and 5ppm. In fact, they’re almost within the margin of variation for most speed tests.
In our tests, the results were even closer, with this printer returning a speed of 5.5ppm for our five-page black document, rising to 5.8ppm on the 20-page version. The five-page black text and colour graphics test gave 2.4ppm, a colour copy took 39 seconds and a 15 x 10cm photo on an A4 sheet completed in 1min 21secs.
These results are very similar to those from the PIXMA MP495, with some being slightly slower and others slightly faster. To all intents and purposes, the two machines exhibit the same speeds.
They are also similar when it comes to print quality. As we noted when we reviewed the PIXMA MP495, black text benefited from the pigmented ink and this is obviously still true here. Characters are well-formed, though there are a few signs of mis-registered text, giving a slightly wavy appearance to some lines.
Colours are strong and bright, with few noticeable registration problems, though there is slight fuzziness to black text over colour, indicating some ink-run. Our photo print gave a good image, with natural colours and smooth gradations of colour, but there was some loss of detail in dark areas. It's still a pretty good result for an all-in-one costing under £50.
The cartridges are available in two capacities: 220 and 244 pages for black and colour respectively in the standard cartridges, 401 and 349 pages in the high-yield versions. We checked prices again, even though we've recently assessed them for the PIXMA MP495 review, but the best we could find still gave page costs of 4.3p for black and 8.9p for colour. The colour cost is in the same range as from other machines at this low entry-level price, though the black page cost is higher than from some Brother and Epson machines.
There's about £10 difference between the PIXMA MP495 and this machine, the MP280, and for that you get the wireless network support in the MP495. Canon would like you to think you also get a speed improvement but, from our tests, you're likely to see very little difference in either speed or print quality. Both machines are good value and you should choose between them depending on whether you need wireless connectivity.