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Multifunction printers are getting ‘multier’ with each new range that comes out. Canon’s Pixma MF170 offers printing from memory cards and cameras to the staple fare of printing, scanning and copying and does it all for a very modest price.
This is a big, impressive-looking device, which consequently need plenty of space on your desktop. Styled like many of Canon’s Pixma printers, the main case is silver, with a black front, cut off at an obtuse angle.
A small, convenient control panel projects from the front of the machine, holding a two-line, 16-character display and well-marked buttons for scanning, copying and reading from memory cards. There are separate buttons to start black and white and colour print jobs, too.
Paper feeds from a single tray at the rear, out to a fold-down exit tray at the front. The feed tray can be adjusted to take A4 sheets or 15 by 10cm photo blanks. To the right of the exit slot in the front panel is a memory-card reader, which can cope with most of the common formats. Each of the two slots take several card types, making insertion a bit fiddly, but this is one of the few concessions to the printer’s price. There’s a socket for direct connection of a PictBridge camera, too.
Lift the device’s top cover and you have a full A4, flatbed scanner, with an optical scanning resolution of a healthy 1200 x 2,400ppi. Sockets at the rear take a mains lead – the power supply for this device is thankfully internal – and a USB 2.0 lead.
Installing the two print head/ink cartridges the Pixma MF170 uses, one black and the other tri-colour, is unnecessarily fiddly. Although the top section of the device lifts up well out of the way and is supported by a spring-loaded ‘bonnet strut’, the carrier for the cartridges moves to one of the least accessible places in its run for you to plug-in the two consumables.
Once they are in place however, installing the software and getting the whole device working is very simple. The printer driver offers all the usual options and provides some detail of ink usage, though should you ever remove a cartridge before it's completely spent, the software won't then detect its ink level when it's reinserted.
As it's a multifunction machine, quite a bit of software is bundled with the Canon device. OmniPage OCR software and Arcsoft’s PhotoStudio image editor are both supplied.
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