The PIXMA MP610 was quick through most of our tests. It raced through the five-page text print in 35 seconds and completed the text and graphics test in 74 seconds. A single-page copy took under 30 seconds and a 15 x 10cm print completed in 50 seconds. Prints from SD card and a PictBridge camera were even quicker with the PictBridge connection producing a print in just 39 seconds.
The one thing you wouldn't want to do regularly on the MP610 is print double-sided pages. Duplexing takes the same excruciatingly long time it did before - 8:42 for a 20-side document. The printing itself isn't that slow, it's the 10 second wait between finishing the first side of each page and starting the second that gives the poor result.
Print quality from the PIXMA MP610 is very good, with black print coming through clear and strong and with very little feathering. Graphics print is also well reproduced, with even black print over coloured backgrounds looking clean and well registered. Our photo test prints showed smooth colour gradations in the sky and fine detail in the foreground of the image. There was plenty of detail in darker, shadowed areas, too.
Copying one of our test pages using the machine's flatbed scanner gave results that were closer to the original than from many All-in-Ones at similar price points - better than the Kodak EasyShare 5300, for example. Canon uses a dual-rendering scheme to produce its scans and claims to have improved blue and yellow accuracy with the MP610.
The cost of running this device depends more than usual on whether you're printing black or colour. It uses different black inks, reserving the pigmented black in the PGI-5BK cartridge for black pages.
In our tests, ink usage was close to Canon's published figures, so we're happy to go with the company's results. The cheapest price we could find for the cartridges offers the pigmented black cartridge at £8.51 and each of the colour cartridges at £7.35. Including 0.7p for paper, this gives print costs of 2.51p for black print and 5.66p for colour. The black print figure is a little on the high side, but this is compensated for by a very good colour cost.
There are useful improvements in the design and function of the PIXMA MP610, over its predecessor. Given that the price hasn't increased significantly, this remains an excellent choice for a general-purpose, personal All-in-One machine. Just don't expect it to complete a duplex job in a hurry.