Canon is more honest than most with its speed claims and rates the PIXMA MP560 at 9.2ppm printing black and 6.0ppm in colour. Even these fairly modest speeds are hard to duplicate under test, mainly because the machine is keen to take short pauses for cartridge housekeeping during most print jobs.
Our 5-page text print took 53 seconds, equivalent to 5.7ppm and on the longer, 20-page document it still only increased to 7ppm. Our black text and colour graphics job returned a speed of 3.3ppm, only just over half the rated speed.
Even these speeds, though, are not far off those of the main competition. When you look at the duplex print performance, though, they look positively cheetah-like. Our 20-page document, duplex printed on 10 sheets, produced a speed of 2.0 sides per minute, which really is so sluggish many people won’t print duplex at all.
The print quality is up with what we’d expect from Canon and is good on both plain and photo papers. Black text is quite heavy on the page, but still manages a clean impression, so remains easy to read. Colours are also well reproduced and although there's some obvious dither patterning in lighter shades, such as yellows, overall the result is clean and bright.
The colours in our test photocopy were close to the original, with only slight lightening of colour shades. Our test photo, printed in the machine's best photo mode, gave smooth colour gradations and plenty of detail in brighter areas of the image. However, colours were a little over-rich especially the reds, and some shadow detail was lost.
The four ink cartridges are the only running costs in this machine and there's only one version of each, so all you can do is shop around for the best price. Using the best prices we could find gave a cost per ISO black page of 3.3p, with 7.4p for an equivalent ISO colour page.
These costs are pretty good, coming in, for example, between 1p and 2p lower than those of the £110 Brother MFC-5490CN, which recorded equivalent costs of 4.3p and 9.3p.
Sitting roughly midway between the PIXMA MP490, with its dual-cartridge design and no duplex print, and the faster PIXMA MP640 with its CD and DVD print, Canon's PIXMA MP560 is a good mid-ranking inkjet all-in-one. Although its own duplex print may be so slow as to be only marginally usable, most of its other features, including the ease of wireless connection, make it a good choice for home and some small business applications.