Speed claims have come down to much more realistic levels with the introduction of the ISO test standard, and Canon now quotes 7.5ppm for black print and 4.5ppm for colour. Our 5-page black text print took 58 seconds, which equates to 5.17ppm and on the longer, 20-page document it rises slightly to 6.06ppm.
The five-page text and colour graphics print only gave 2.23ppm, however, less than half the published figure. Photo prints came through pretty quickly, with a 15 x 10cm image at high-quality taking 1:34 and a similar photo, in normal quality from a PictBridge camera, took a pretty zippy 57 seconds.
Text print quality is good, though we did notice a little fuzziness around emboldened characters in printed headlines. Colour business graphics are quite bright, though some dithering is noticeable. Black text registration is good.
Photo prints, despite this machine being primarily aimed at business, are excellent, with smooth colour gradations and plenty of detail in light and dark areas of an image. Colours look natural and this machine is quite capable of printing off photos to a good home standard.
Canon claims a noise level of 47dBA, but when copying and feeding paper we measured it at peaks of 66dBA, at our standard measuring distance of half a metre. This is quite noisy for an inkjet machine but, as usual, it's the paper feed not the print mechanism that makes the noise.
The two ink cartridges are the only consumables on this all-in-one and given its target market, it's reasonable not to have separate colour ink cartridges. There are two available capacities for the black and tri-colour cartridges and using the high-capacity version of each gives costs per page of 4.09p for black and 8.78p the colour.
Slightly oddly, this makes black print more expensive and colour print slightly cheaper on this machine than on the photo-based MP540. Neither figure is particularly good with, for example, HP's OfficeJet 6500 producing equivalent costs of 2.28p and 5.41p, respectively.
The PIXMA MX320 offers convenience for most home office uses and the integration of the ADF and fax facilities is still very useful in transferring paper documents quickly. Print quality is more than adequate for general use and although colour prints are a bit lethargic, black print approaches the headline figure. Running costs are on the high side, though, which is a shame.