Canon rates the PIXMA MG5550 at 12.2ppm printing black and 8.7ppm for colour. The black print claim is reasonable according to our test results, which gave 9.4ppm for the 5-page document and 10.3ppm for the 20-page one. The colour result, at 4.5ppm, is only around half the claimed speed, though.
A colour copy from the flatbed took 25s, which is very reasonable and a 15 x 10cm photo from a PC in highest quality took 1:04, also quick. A photo from a Samsung Galaxy Mini Android phone took 53s, using Samsung’s own app, but we couldn’t get AirPrint to find the machine – probably a problem related to the earlier server difficulties.
The quality of prints on plain paper is very good, with dense black text and no signs of jaggies or feathering. Colours are generally bright and solid fills show no signs of dither patterns and are well registered, when there’s black text on top of them.
The colour copy loses some colour brightness, but is still fair. The scanner retains plenty of detail and its 1,200 x 2,400ppi resolution is enough for photo scanning as well as documents. Photo prints are better than very good, with smooth, natural colours and plenty of detail in light and dark areas of images.
It's worth noting that the PIXMA MG5550 is unusually noisy for a Canon machine and we measured peaks of 68dBA during paper feeds.
The four ink cartridges are available in two capacities and using the XL versions gives page costs of 3.1p for black and 9.0p for colour. Both these sit pretty much in the middle of the range for all-in-ones in this price bracket. The black price is a little better than average and the colour is a little below.
There’s a lot going for this all-in-one and it does well where it counts, against likely rivals. The £100 price point attracts machines such as the Brother MFC-J625DW, which offers an ADF, memory card slots, dual paper trays and fax, but noticeably lower quality plain paper prints.
It comes down to what you want from an all-in-one. If you want the most versatile feature set to be found in a multifunction machine, Canon’s PIXMA MG5550 is probably not your best bet, but if you value top-quality print at good speed, then you won't have any complaints here.