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Canon PIXMA MP990 – All-in-One Inkjet Printer review



  • Recommended by TR
Canon PIXMA MP990 – All-in-One Inkjet Printer


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Canon’s PIXMA MP990 is the most expensive all-in-one in the company’s range and has all the bells and whistles of the others, plus some. It’s designed for home use and aimed also at photo enthusiasts, particularly those interested in black and white photography.

This is a big, silver and black machine, relieved by the fact you can leave it closed when not in use and by its 150-sheet paper cassette, which slides in underneath, so the rear tray, also 150-sheets, only need be opened when you’re printing photos or on special paper. As with several other PIXMA models, this one can print on properly coated CD and DVD blanks, using a separate disc holder, which slots in behind a fold-down cover inside the machine.

A small, hinged panel in the scanner lid reveals the machine's control panel and also a large, 93mm LCD display. The controls include Canon's click-wheel, which is used to navigate most menus, and large, clear buttons for other functions.

The scanner itself is a standard A4, glass flatbed with no Automatic Document Feeder. Inside the scanner lid, though, is a removable panel which reveals a transparency and negative holder, which can be laid on the flatbed for high-resolution scanning of photographic media.

A rather flimsy cover, set into the right-hand, curved front edge of the machine reveals three memory card slots, for CompactFlash, SD and MemoryStick, and xD cards. There's also a PictBridge socket, which doubles up for reading USB drives.

At the back of the machine are sockets for USB and Ethernet, but the PIXMA MP990 also offers wireless networking. Wi-Fi setup is pretty straightforward, though entering a WEP passcode with just the click-wheel is a bit long-winded.

Canon provides a good software bundle to back the machine and includes a copy of the ArcSoft PhotoStudio photo editor, as well as the usual package. There are drivers for Windows and Mac included on separate CDs.

The PIXMA MP990 uses a six-ink print engine, but rather than adding light cyan and light magenta, it adds photo black and grey inks to the standard CMYK set. All six cartridges click into the print head in standard Canon fashion and each has its red LED indicator to show it’s properly seated and to flash when the ink is low.

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December 22, 2009, 6:15 pm

Why will photo black and grey inks enhance its wireless capabilities??


December 22, 2009, 9:01 pm

How is it different to the MP640, which seems to have the same spec at half the price?

Jay Werfalli

December 22, 2009, 11:39 pm

@Flatline - What? Haven't you heard about wireless inks..? (Cheers! Summary changed)

Jay Werfalli

December 23, 2009, 12:03 am


- The MP990 has 6 inks for enhanced monochrome printing (MP640 - 5 inks)

- 3.8in LCD screen, (3in LCD screen)

- The MP990 has a film adapter unit for scanning 35mm negatives and slides (CCD-based).

- It prints a little quicker than the MP640 (according to Canon).


December 23, 2009, 2:27 am

@Jay - that's alright then!


December 23, 2009, 4:24 am

I think you have to be really into your monochrome printing to make this worth it extra over the MP640.

Derek Davies

December 23, 2009, 3:32 pm

I've been looking forward to a Review on this product, although my interest started with its predecessor, and my particular interest was with the transparency and negative scanning capability but I was torn between sticking with my current Photo Printer and buying a replacement 6400dpi transparency and negative scanning-capable Scanner, or this All-in-One device, albeit at 4800dpi...but you don’t appear to have tested this functionality...or have you? or will you??...any thoughts or recommendations?


February 16, 2010, 11:03 pm

I'm very disappointed by the lack of review of the scanner unit, especially considering this is the major cause of the price difference with the MP640. CCD scanners are much better than CIS scanners, and the MP990 is the only one in the Canon range with such a good scanner. I have no doubt the resolution is excellent (considering it can be used to scan slides and negatives), I would have liked to know more about colour fidelity, etc.


May 16, 2010, 3:58 am

Lovely prints but drinks ink like you would not believe! Frequent automatic head priming make the ink levels plummet even when not printing. Went through first set of colour cartridges for only 35 pages of text and 2 small b&w photos.

Andrew 19

July 28, 2010, 6:22 pm

Shame on you for giving such a high rating to this machine. Yes it does give good prints and its scanner is excellent, but the running costs are ridiculous and much higher than quoted. When this machine performs a cleaning cycle, it uses an extraordinary amount of ink, so if you only use it once a day, then you can run out a whole set of cartridges within 8 weeks! That is a huge cost and not reflected properly in the scoring. Worse, you cannot disable this auto clean feature, which Canon say is necessary to keep the jets clear. Clearly this machine is only useful if you are doing high volumes - but in that case you would be better off with something else. So what is the point of this machine - absolutely none.

Again another case of TR not reviewing product properly.

Also where are the outputs so we can see the quality and compare it with other machines. This appears on other review sites, so why not here too.

There is also very little about the scanner itself. Again shame on you for not reviewing this properly.


December 21, 2010, 1:49 pm

Canon have let themselves down again by not providing support for Linux users with this printer.

In fact, it would be very handy if reviewers would remember to include which OS are supported in printer reviews (obviously you couldn't check every disto, but at least mentioning that the printer is or isn't supported in Ubuntu and OSX would be great).

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