Canon rates the PIXMA MX515 at 9.7ppm printing black and 5.5ppm in colour. Our test results showed lower speeds, with the highest black print speed 8.1ppm on our 20-page text. The 5-page black text test gave 7.7ppm and the 5-page black text and colour graphics document scraped just 1.8ppm.
When it comes to duplex print, speeds are also low, with our 20-side, 10-page document producing just 2.2ppm. As well as using the dye-based colour inks to produce a much fainter black print than the pigmented ink it normally uses, the printer repeatedly took random breaks of 10 seconds or so during printing, which appeared unrelated to the ink-drying needed when printing duplex.
The quality of prints from the Canon PIXMA MX515 is good, with well-placed black text and strong, bright colours in graphics. Reversed text looks a little thin in places and colours in copies looked more washed out, but are still very acceptable. Unusually for Canon, photo prints appear over-vivid, with primaries coming through too strongly, almost like a laser print.
The integrated head and ink cartridges are available in two capacities, standard and high-yield XL. Using the XL versions at the best prices we could find gives cost per page of 3.7p for ISO black print and 7.9p for ISO colour. These prices are reasonable when compared to the machine’s competitors and the colour cost is 2p per page lower than for the Canon PIXMA MX715.
The use of a tri-colour cartridge can lead to ink wastage, if you don’t print roughly equal quantities of each ink colour. This problem isn't unique to this model or even this brand, of course, but the PIXMA MX515 is quite a high-priced machine not to use separate cartridges.
We have always found Canon inkjet all-in-ones offer excellent value and good feature sets, but the PIXMA MX515 is slow and unwieldy. A single, 100-sheet paper tray, duplex print so slow it's almost unusable and an integrated tri-colour cartridge susceptible to ink waste don't make this an attractive offering.