The average price of an inkjet all-in-one costs around £100, but for less than half that you can pick up a Canon PIXMA MX495. This entry-level home-office printer has a surprisingly broad feature set, including full wireless connection for printing from and scanning to mobile devices, and fax connection, too.
SEE ALSO: Best Wi-Fi Extenders
Canon has broken away from its old Japanese lacquer-box design, reducing the overall height of this unit. As a result, the MX495 is a compact device with a flat top that still incorporates a 20-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF). As is common these days, a section of the top cover folds over to provide the paper feed tray for the ADF.
On the left of the top cover is a control panel made up of membrane buttons. These may not be quite as easy to use as a touchscreen, but they're clear and simple to operate. Behind the button array is a two-line by 16-character mono LCD screen. While this could be very restricting, it's been intelligently used by Canon to display number of copies and ink levels, as well is to scroll status messages.
The front panel folds down to make a paper feed tray and a second panel inside folds down and telescopes out to make the output tray. It's a neat arrangement, if you're conscientious enough to fold away the trays when the printer is not in use.
Changing the cartridges is fiddly. You need to fold down a third panel that sits behind the two paper trays in order to slot the black and tri-colour cartridges horizontally into their holders, before pushing them up to click into place.
As well as a rear panel USB socket, there are connectors for a phone line and third-party handset, providing a through path for single-line fax use. Wireless connection is also supported, with a simple WPS connection and the ability to print via Canon’s downloadable apps, from Android and iOS devices.
The software bundle includes Canon apps for simple graphic manipulation and OCR.
Canon rates the PIXMA MX495 at 8.8ppm for mono print and 4.4ppm for colour. Neither speed is particularly quick, although the mono speed isn't too optimistic. We saw 6.7ppm for our five-page mono test print, rising to 7.5ppm on the 20-page document.
For colour documents the MX495 was slower. We measured a meagre 1.6ppm for our five-page mono text and colour graphics test. Copy times were pretty good for this class of machine, with 36 seconds for a single-colour page from the flatbed and 58 seconds for a five-page mono document via the ADF. Photos of 15 x 10cm in size took 1 min 10 secs from an Android smartphone at standard quality, and a long 2 mins 33 secs from a PC when printed at top quality.
Print quality is rightly considered one of Canon printers' best features, and here black text is sharp and densely black. We did see some fuzz around emboldened headlines, however. Colour graphics are clean and bright, with a good range of tones, and although a colour copy was slightly lighter than the original, it was closer than many others achieve.
Photo prints displayed high levels of detail, true colours and plenty of detail – even in shadowed areas.
The two ink cartridges are available in standard and high-yield versions, and with the best prices we could find for the high-capacity units, page costs amounted to 3.7p for mono and 8.1p for colour.
These are competitive for a printer in this price range, and compared with models such as the HP Officejet 2620 are marginally better for both pages.
Unusually for Canon, this is a very noisy machine: we measured peaks of 73dBA at 0.5m during paper feeds. You wouldn't want to be on a call while this printer is in use.
There are several all-in-ones you should consider in this price range, such as the Epson Expression Home XP-255 at £40 and the £45 HP Envy 4500. The HP has a better LCD screen and duplex print as standard, but lacks ADF or fax facilities. The Epson has more economical ink cartridges, but it, too, has no ADF or fax.
SEE ALSO: HP Officejet 2620
Although The Canon PIXMA MX495 has some issues, particularly its slow colour print and very noisy paper feed, you get a lot of printer for your £44. With an ADF, full fax, a compact design and, above all, excellent print quality, this all-in-one should be high up on your short list.