Summary

Our Score

8/10

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You could be forgiven for not noticing Canon's new range of PIXMA all-in-one printers, as they all look very similar to their predecessors. Slightly different lines in their silver and black cases are probably not enough to distinguish them from last year's models, but on the PIXMA MP640 there's one tell-tale sign; a blue, flashing Wi-Fi logo.

This is a mid-range all-in-one device with several of the niceties Canon builds into its machines, such as twin paper trays and CD/DVD direct print. It is a substantial device, with the company's unique design which sets the control panel in the scanner lid, protected when not in use by a fold-down cover, which itself contains the machine's 75mm LCD display.

The control panel is particularly well laid out with large, easy-to-use buttons for the main functions, two programmable buttons for context-sensitive entries and Canon's unique little click-wheel for selecting menu options.

Under the lid there's a standard flatbed scanner and if you lift the whole of the scanner section up, you get easy access to the five cartridges in the semi-permanent head carrier. As is becoming increasingly standard, there are two blacks, a pigmented one for printing text and a dye-based one for picking out details in photo prints.

The right-hand front corner includes a curved cover, which hinges open to reveal three memory card slots, adding CompactFlash to the standard SD, MemoryStick and xD mix. Below the slots is a USB socket, which can take USB drives as well as PictBridge cameras.

Paper handling is versatile, with a 150-cassette which slides in under the machine from the front, supplementing a standard 150-sheet upright tray at the back. Canon recommends you use the rear tray for photo blanks and the cassette for plain paper, but both are capable of feeding either media.

There's also Canon's convenient direct CD/DVD print facility, where you load disc blanks into a carrier which slots in from the front, once you've pulled down an internal cover.

Canon offers a good selection of support software, including an excellent CD/DVD label design applet. Drivers are provided for both Windows and OS X and install in a simple, workmanlike manner.

Wireless connection is also a straightforward, two-stage process, where the printer is first logged onto the wireless network, using WPA or WPS. The software installation then picks up the newly available printer.

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