Entry-level all-in-one printers continue to drop in price and improve their feature sets. Canon’s new PIXMA MP495 is the same price as its predecessor, the PIXMA MP490, while now including wireless connection as standard.
However, it does leave some things out of the equation, too, having no memory card slots or even a PictBridge connector, where the MP490 had both. The ‘P’ in MP495 is supposed to stand for Photo, but it's hard to see how this all-in-one qualifies, given it's impossible to print photos directly from a camera. You'll have to load them into a PC or Mac, first, and print them conventionally from there.
Canon has swung away from its silver and black colouring and has instead gone for a high-gloss black look, which is smart but so easy to smudge that you'll probably want to keep a cloth handy. It's also a devil to photograph, but that's our problem.
The paper path is conventional enough, with paper feeding from a 100-sheet tray set up at the back, to a fold-down output tray at the front. The front tray pops open automatically if you start printing with it closed. On top of the machine is a simple flatbed scanner, with a lid that lifts to accommodate books as well as single sheets.
The control panel is surprisingly busy for a low-cost printer, with a seven-segment LED display used to display the number of copies as well as symbols for status conditions. There are also indicators for low ink, paper jams and paper type, which is selectable through a push-button. In front of all these are six buttons to start and stop scan and copy jobs, to call up setup functions and to automatically fit a print to the page, which is an unusual feature.
This is a twin-cartridge printer, with separate black and tri-colour cartridges. Canon describes it as a hybrid system, which simply means that the black ink is pigmented while the colour inks are dyes. They both clip into place once you've lifted the main scanner section of the PIXMA MP495.
Wireless installation is more confused than some, as the setup program only refers to USB or network connections and only mentions wireless when you’re a way down the network route. You have to use the wireless setup cable as a temporary connection and enter your WPA passcode at the PC, though the process is then pretty automatic. The instructions could definitely be clearer for those unfamiliar with printers – this is, after all, an entry-level machine.