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Canon PIXMA MX850 review



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Canon's range of PIXMA multifunction printers are well made and have good feature sets, but most of them are aimed at digital photo enthusiasts, using six, coloured inks and a second black to provide high-quality photo prints and fast plain paper printing.

These printers are in the MP range, but there is a parallel MX range, too, with a slightly different emphasis. The MX four-colour printers, again with a second black, are aimed at the SOHO market, though they'll still make a good attempt at a photo.

This PIXMA MX850 is the top of this second range and offers pretty much everything you would expect from an inkjet all-in-one. It's a big printer, particularly in its depth; its footprint is nearly square on the desk. It's styled in silver and black, with a nicely integrated Auto-Document Feeder (ADF) on top. There's a 150-sheet paper tray at the back and a paper cassette of the same capacity slots in underneath. Both paper trays can take media from 15 x 10cm up to A4, providing flexible paper feed for plain and photo paper.

A well-designed, full-width control panel juts out from the front of the machine, offering a 62mm LCD display, a series of fast-dial buttons for the integrated fax facility and a full number pad, together with a four-way wheel of controls for menu navigation. Four, illuminated function buttons select Copy, Fax, Scan and Memory card modes and big buttons at the right-hand end initiate black and colour copies.

There are two, multi-format memory card slots behind a cover on the right-hand side of the front panel, with a PictBridge socket below these. The printer can also handle direct CD/DVD print; just flip down an internal cover and slide in the supplied disc carrier.

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peter m

December 2, 2008, 6:53 am

As typical with new printers today, there are too many bells and whistles and therefore, too many things that can go wrong. The Ethernet doesnt work. I telephoned Canon here in Sydney and they actually acknowledged that they were receiving a number of complaints. After 2 hours trying to work through we just gave up and bought a second printer. Additionally, the print quality of this printer (and many others produced today) is substandard. I have an old 2003 HP 1210 that would cost $10 second hand today. Although very slow with printing, the quality is far far superior to this Canon Printer and a new HP printer we bought. The sales people in Harvey Norman were shocked when I went back to them and asked them (a) if they ever test the printers from the manufacturers before they buy a wholesale lot (they said no) and (b) to choose which print came from the 2008 printer and which from the cheap 2003 printer (they chose the 2003 printer both times).

Bullet points:

- Ethernet doesnt work (and by Canon's own admission)

- Scan quality is very poor

- Print quality is only 'adequate' but essentially substandard.

- Very difficult to follow set up instructions for the more advanced features


April 10, 2009, 8:11 am

It is a pity that Peter M couldn't get his MX850 network printing + network scanning to work. I installed the software provided by Canon and was able to get it working the first go. MX850's network printing and scanning are quite useful. You can the memory card reader on MX850 via the network. Furthermore, it is one of a few SOHO multi-function printers that can do double sided scanning (so double sided scanning via network is possible).

MX850 costs less than a MP830 and yet it comes with an Ethernet port. Canon is able to do this because Canon switched to a CIS based scanner for MX850. The scanner in MP830 is better. The CIS scanner in MX850 is not bad, but its default setting (when doing photocopying especially) can result in slightly lighter output. This can be fixed by using Auto setting, but that resulted in two scans (first to determine the best darkness/contract level and second pass to scan the picture). Alternatively, adjust the level before you photocopy. Majority of SOHO multi-function devices nowadays come with a CIS scanner. They all have the same issue.

CD/DVD printing is also a plus. Overall, printing quality is good enough. I don't print photos very often (prefer to go to the shops and have them print the photos for me as cost of printing photos using an ink jet printer is just too high). Double sided printing is not good (because Canon refuse to have the printer use the pigment black ink to print the second side). The long wait for the first side to dry before duplex printing resumes is also annoying.

If network printing and scanning is important to you, MX850 is worth considering. Just with all ink jet printers, the running cost of ink is generally quite high. It would have been better had Canon put a CCD scanner in there, but with the competition keeping the price low, it is reasonable for Canon to switch the scanner to a CIS scanner.

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