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Canon PIXMA MX850 - Canon PIXMA MX850
The printed output is good quality, with black text coming through crisp and clean. At least, it does for single-sided documents, but with duplex ones, the black ink is much less dense, more a dark grey, and the edges of text are more jagged. We suspect this is because single-sided documents use the printer's pigmented black ink, while double-sided ones use dye-based black.
Photo prints are well up to Canon's normal standards, with well-differentiated colours, good detail in areas of low light and smooth, gradated colours in areas of sea and sky. Although they don't have quite the delicacy of hue that the six-colour PIXMA MPs can produce, photo quality is still more than adequate.
We always hunt for low prices for original cartridges when assessing print costs, but were surprised to the point of marginal incredulity at the £3.15p we found colour cartridges for on Amazon. Checking them out, they aren't remanufactured or third-party, so we can quote a particularly low cost per colour page of just 2.15p. This is a very good figure, compared with the competition, which averages nearer to 5p.
Pigmented black ink, from the same source, costs £4.85p, giving a cost per page of 1.78p. This is also a good figure, though more in line with the printer's rivals. The print heads should last the lifetime of the printer, so ink cartridges are your only consumable cost.
This is a serviceable SOHO multifunction printer, with a good feature list for most uses. Unfortunately, two of the machine's key features, duplex printing and copying, are flawed. Not only does black print on double-sided documents not have the same density and blackness, but the speed of duplex print is so low that most people won't choose to make the resource savings and will opt for single-sided print, instead.