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Canon PIXMA MP490 review

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  • Recommended by TR

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Canon PIXMA MP490
  • Canon PIXMA MP490
  • Canon PIXMA MP490
  • Canon PIXMA MP490
  • Canon PIXMA MP490
  • Canon PIXMA MP490
  • Canon PIXMA MP490
  • PIXMA MP490 Multifunction Photo Printer (Color8.4ppm Mono - 4.8ppm Color - 43 Second Photo - 4800 x 1200 dpi - Printer, Copier, Scanner - USB - PC, Mac)

Summary

Our Score:

9

If you're buying an entry-level all-in-one, you might expect a lot lower spec than when buying in the mid or high price ranges, but in many cases the core functions, like printing and scanning, will be much the same from machine to machine and it's only the feature set which differs. Canon's PIXMA MP490 is one of these.

Over recent launches Canon has reduced the size of its machines, so they look less like harmoniums and more like oversize jewellery boxes. The PIXMA MP490 is cased in high-gloss light grey and black and very smart it looks too, when closed.

Pull up the paper tray support from the back and open the front cover, which becomes the output tray, and it doesn't look quite as neat, but is still very practical. There's no separate paper tray underneath the machine, but the rear tray works for plain and photo paper.

The Contact Image Sensor (CIS) scanner is a single-sheet device, but is both quiet and quick in use and produces surprisingly good images. It's also used in the automatic printhead alignment process, to scan back a test print.

Flip up the cover to the control panel, which is to the right of the scanner cover, and you'll find it's fitted with a 45mm LCD display. This is a bright little unit, good enough for photo thumbnails as well as displaying menus and status messages - its main function. The control panel looks very similar to those on the machine's bigger siblings, except that the ‘ring' control is a four-way switch and not a click-wheel.

Another flip-open cover in the right-hand front corner of the case reveals three memory card slots, including CompactFlash and Microdrive, though oddly there's no PictBridge/USB socket. It seems a strange choice to continue support for a card format largely abandoned by consumer devices, while excluding a connection which works with almost any digital camera. DSLR users might appreciate the thought, but then they're unlikely to print straight from a memory card.

The only socket at the rear of the machine is for a USB cable, though Canon continues to offer a direct mains power connection, so avoiding the cumbersome external blocks HP, its main rival, continues to use.

This is a twin-cartridge printer, with single black and tri-colour cartridges, both of which clip into place in the head carrier, with a minimum of effort. The usual comprehensive set of applets for basic scanning, printing and OCR are provided and there's a useful Web applet to squeeze Web pages onto an A4 sheet.

Brian ONeill

October 13, 2009, 3:22 pm

I just bought one of these at the weekend for the brother in law. Well i got the 480 from argos for £49, but it looks the same as the 490. The printer seems to be a good job, the only annoying thing is canon never seem to add a usb cable with their printers. This much case people a lot of hassle, all for the sake of a 50p cable, very odd.

pimlicosound

October 13, 2009, 5:28 pm

I bought this a couple of months ago and have been generally very impressed. However, the best part was plugging it into my netbook (running Windows 7) for the first time. I didn't have to find a way to use the install CD, didn't have to download anything, or even touch a single setting. It just worked, including all the features of the Device Stage. Of course, that's probably more a commendation of Windows 7 than of the printer, but still, the process was perfect.

Premfab

October 14, 2009, 2:20 am

I don't own this specific printer, but have owned several over the last few years. I can honestly say that I have been extremely impressed with Canon inkjets - to the point of junking my existing functioning Epson, HP and Lexmark printers for Canon ones (I have 5 printers in total).





If this printer is anything like their other printers, then it deserves to succeed.





Note for Brian: no printer manufacturer includes USB cables nowadays (this is progress!!).





If a retailer does bundle a cable, they'll make a big song and dance about it.





Get a cheapo cable from Ebay / Amazon for a couple of quid.

Babya

December 26, 2009, 5:40 pm

Got this Canon prinyter for $77-hgave owned various Canon models over the years and this one, the MP490 is impressive: very fast scanning and printing , easy printing from memory cards and simple controls and easy to read LCD. Useful software bundle too.

stuart wallace

March 16, 2012, 10:17 pm

This printer drinks ink for fun and it is expensive. Just ran out of warrenty and the printers kaput, The printer is saying the paper is jammed but there is no paper in it, will not come out of this mode so looks like the scrap heap after 15 months.

Dominic Tang

November 26, 2013, 11:25 am

This printer drinks ink. Other than that, it's great for everyday use.

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