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Canon PIXMA MP640 - Canon PIXMA MP640

By Simon Williams



Our Score:


Canon's speed claims are not nearly as outlandish as they used to be, as the company now quotes ISO print speeds for normal mode printing. Even so, the headline figures on the PIXMA MP640 are 9.2ppm for black print and 8.1ppm for colour.

Our five-page black text print returned a speed of 5.66ppm and the longer, 20-page document increased this to 6.56ppm. Our five-page black text and colour graphics print gave 3.95ppm. These speeds are unspectacular, but are in the middle of the range for an inkjet all-in-one in this price range.

Duplex print speeds are better than before, as the paper rests for only a second or so between sides, where some of the machine's competitors wait as long as 15 seconds before printing the second sides. Our 20-side, 10-page document still took 5:52 to complete, though, giving the machine a real-world duplex speed of 3.41 sides per minute.

An A4, colour copy took 37 seconds, which is about average for a sub-£150 device. Its appearance was very good in comparison with a direct print, with colours coming out very close to the original. Areas of solid colour are a little mottled, but then they are in the original prints, too and there are no signs of banding. Colours are bright and clear. Black text is dense and generally sharp, though there is occasional feathering of ink into the paper fibres, giving a more fussy appearance.

Photo prints are still among the best we've seen from any SOHO machine. Colour blends are smooth and clean and shadow detail is much better than from some rivals. Colours are natural and correspond well to those in original images and foreground detail is sharp and precise. These are some of the best four-colour photo prints you'll see from a mass-market machine.

The five cartridges are the only consumables in the PIXMA MP640 and they're all priced reasonably, giving costs of 3.14p for an ISO black page and 8.11p for an ISO colour one, each including 0.7p for paper. These are competitive with machines such as the HP Photosmart Premium C309g, tested recently, but roughly a penny per page higher than for any of the new Kodak ESP machines.


What you get if you choose the Canon PIXMA MP640 is a versatile, well-designed, easy-to-use all-in-one. It may not be the cheapest to run, but you do get high quality photo prints, better than average plain paper prints and the facility to set up plain and photo paper simultaneously. You also get the facilities to print on CDs and DVDs and to duplex pages with less speed overhead than from most of its rivals. It doesn't quite do enough to secure an award, but it won't disappoint if you do pick one up.


November 8, 2009, 6:28 am

It's a nice design, but it's a shame that it requires microchipped cartridges, and the hassles that entails.


November 9, 2009, 12:17 am

Nice review. I would like to read one for the MP990 too which seems more interesting to me.

Kevin Gordon

November 9, 2009, 6:11 pm

I bought one a few weeks ago, after returning an Epson and then a HP wireless printer. The Canon is much better than the other two. A testament to this is that I haven't and am not planning or returning it.

And the self-opening paper tray is just sooooooo cool!


November 12, 2009, 10:00 pm

Just bought one of these - fantastic print quality, and works pretty much flawlessly with both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard (though the latter required some lateral thinking to get it to install!)


February 10, 2010, 10:45 pm

"Duplex print speeds are better than before, as the paper rests for only a second or so between sides, where some of the machine's competitors wait as long as 15 seconds before printing the second sides."

Unfortunately there is a price you have to pay for this. Namely when automatic duplex printing is enabled (even when you only need to print one page) the pixma mp640 will print the text much lighter. So black will look more like very dark grey.


March 20, 2010, 9:02 pm

Excellent review. Good printer for the money. Setup was easy, especially the network part which can be a nightmare for some printers - just let the printer search for your network under the 'easy' setup choice, then instal the software and you are ready to go. I searched the web and came up with the professional quality ILFORD Galerie Smooth Gloss 290g/m2 photo paper, 100 per box, for the best results and economy for this printer - no Canon paper can match Ilford in price and quality. However, stick with the Canon brand inks. Pictures really look stunning, the primary reason I bought this printer for. I don't care about other features that much. I have laser printers at home for the regular text printing. Make sure you print out something every week to avoid clogging, which is less of a problem with dye based printers like Canon MP640 as compared to the pigment ones. Save your pictures in an album for longevity. Have fun.

David Hamer

April 5, 2010, 1:38 am

I was considering buying this printer, however, I just read a review on another website that stated that to scan a document to the PC you have to have the USB connection made. It will not work via wireless! Can anyone verify this as true or false? I require a fully wireless printer, having to have a USB cable connected to achieve one part of the functionality is a 'no go' for me. Thanks, DH


April 12, 2010, 9:34 am

@ David Hamer - i have this printer and i have no problems scanning a document to PC over wifi. In fact i have never connected it using a USB cable at all. There is a little bit of software that runs on your PC and listens out for scanning jobs from the printer so maybe the reviewer had 'forgotten' to install the software.

As an aside i also have a Playstation 3 and that can also print to this model over wifi (not that you'd want to very often but if you didn't have a pc it might come in more handy). All in all the best printer i've ever owned by far.

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