Canon has taken to quoting sensible speeds for its inkjet printers and claims 7.5ppm for black print and 4.5ppm for colour. Our 5-page black text document completed in 54 seconds, giving a real-world speed of 5.6ppm, but the 20-page document boosted this to 6.9ppm, not a long way off the claimed speed. The five-page text and colour graphics document produced a speed of 2.4ppm, though, little more than half the rated speed. The machine performed quite a bit of housekeeping before starting some of these prints and this time is normally excluded from ISO print speed tests.
A single page colour copy completed in 41 seconds, while a 5-page black text copy from the ADF took one minute, 16 seconds; both of these times are quite acceptable for a SOHO machine. A 15 x 10cm photo on Canon glossy photo paper, printed at High quality, took 1:21, but printing at Normal quality from a PictBridge camera, the time reduced to just 53 seconds.
Both these photos were to Canon’s normal high standard, with colours looking very natural and showing good levels of detail. Dark areas of the image were less detailed than we normally see from Canon machines, and although this could be tweaked through software, we’ve seen better from earlier Canon all-in-ones.
Colour graphics on plain paper are generally good, though there’s some noticeable dithering in lighter shades. Colour copies showed signs of a purple cast in some shades of blue and black text over coloured backgrounds displayed some bleeding. Black text in general is reasonable, though there’s some fuzziness, particularly around headings.
The two ink cartridges are available in standard and high yield versions and using the high capacity variants produces costs of 4.3p for ISO black pages and 9.3p for ISO colour, both including 0.7p for paper. Neither of these costs is particularly good, with similarly priced machines, like the HP Photosmart Plus B209a, producing equivalent costs of 3.1p and 7.7p. You can definitely get inkjet devices that are cheaper to run than this machine.
Canon’s PIXMA MX340 is a neat, serviceable all-in-one, with reasonable speed, good fax facilities and fair print and copy performance. It’s expensive to run, though, and the print quality, unusual for a Canon machine, isn’t the best in its class. While the wireless connection is handy to have, it’s becoming far less of a differentiator than it was. There are quite a few machines which can get close to or exceed the performance of this machine, in what is becoming an increasingly crowded product area.
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