Canon's big, black all-in-one printers aimed at home users, and specifically at photography enthusiasts, have made quite a name for themselves. The PIXMA MG8250 sits right at the top of its range, so has all the extras the company can throw at it.
Said to be modelled on its EOS range of digital cameras, the matt look of the printer is a great improvement over the high-gloss, fingerprint-prone models further down the range and we can only hope the new look filters down. The scanner top looks quite plain, until you switch the machine on when, not only does the 88mm LCD display light up in the centre of the lid, but illuminated touch buttons appear towards its front and indicators shine through its beautifully textured surround. It's a kind of magic.
Under the lid is a fold-down front panel, which becomes the output tray, and below that is a 150-sheet paper cassette. There's a second, 150-sheet paper tray which lifts up from the rear of the machine, so you can load both plain and photo paper simultaneously. A third printing source is for CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs, which you get at by pulling down a guide inside the printer and sliding in the supplied disc tray.
To the right of the front panel, a flip-open cover gives access to three memory card slots, adding CompactFlash to SD and MemoryStick, which are the usual complement. Under these is a USB/PictBridge socket, for insta-printing from your camera. Yet another way to get pictures onto this printer is by removing the white reflector under the scanner lid and using the transparency adapter to scan in slides or negatives, at resolutions up to 4,800 x 9,600ppi.
Other data connections include USB, 10/100 Ethernet and wireless. The wireless connection is particularly noteworthy as it gives access to a wide range of direct print technologies, including PIXMA Cloud Link, which uses Google Cloud Print, and AirPrint for iPad, iPhone and other wireless Apple devices.
The machine uses six inks, with both pigmented and dye-based black and an extra grey ink to add to the CMY set, useful when printing black-and-white photos. They each clip into the semi-permanent head and LED indicators show when they're properly located and flash when ink is low.