What would you expect to pay for a basic all-in-one printer, with flatbed scanner, good quality black and colour copying and plain and photo print? Canon’s PIXMA MP270 is available at just less than £40 from several online retailers, which is less than any other all-in-one we’ve tested.
The neatly-styled black and very light grey box follows the lines of Canon’s other PIXMA MP machines. A slight curve to its vertical edges gives it a modern, functional look. The flatbed scanner uses a Contact Image Sensor (CIS) scanning head, which means it’s particularly slim and doesn’t add much to the overall height of the machine.
The control panel – set straight into the top surface of the printer, to the right of the scanner cover – is surprisingly well-endowed. There are buttons for copying and scanning, one to fit a copy to the page and others to select paper type. The main display is a single, seven-segment LED, which is used to set copy numbers, from 1 to 9, but indicates much more.
The display is also used to show a number of alphabetical characters, so you can select different menus without having to have an LCD panel. The characters used don’t tie in that well with their functions, though – 'U' for head alignment, 'A' to print the nozzle check pattern, for example.
Paper feeds from the a tray at the rear - where a support pulls up and locks into position - to the inside of the front cover, which automatically flips down if you start printing without opening the machine manually.
There’s a Pictbridge socket to the right of the output tray, which enables direct print from a camera, but there are no memory card slots and no USB print, because there’s no way to display and select files to print from a USB drive. If you plug one in, you get an enigmatic E9 error.
At the back is a solitary USB socket, as the PIXMA MP270 supports neither cabled nor wireless networking. Lift the scanner section and the twin head carriers slide into the middle of the carriage, so you can clip in the cartridges. There’s a black cartridge and a tri-colour one and both plug into place very simply.
Canon provides Windows and OSX drivers for this machine on the bundled CD, as well as standard Canon utilities for scanning, photo editing and printing Web pages.