Canon Pixma MX860 Inkjet MFP
At a Glance
HP Officejet Pro 8000 A809N Printer
You get nice print quality plus Wi-Fi and automatic duplexing, but speed is just average overall.
Canon's Pixma MX860 color inkjet multifunction printer is a nicely equipped, moderately priced ($200 as of May 5, 2009) machine that would serve a small office well. Its older cousin, the Canon Pixma MX700, is faster and a little cheaper, but has fewer features.
This boxy, silver unit harbors a multitude of features. It offers two 150-sheet inputs: a bottom cassette exclusively for plain paper, and a universal, rear vertical tray. The rear tray's panels are prone to rattling and they collapse easily. There's also a flip-out, 50-sheet front output tray and a 35-sheet automatic document feeder. Automatic duplexing is available for letter-size media only, both for printing and for copying via the ADF.
Connectivity includes options for ethernet, USB, and Wi-Fi; Canon also sells a Bluetooth adapter for $50. Media slots for CF, MMC, MS, and SD nestle behind a front door. (You'll need an adapter for xD, miniSD, or microSD.) A front USB/PictBridge port lets you print photos directly from a camera or save scanned files to a USB key drive.
The control panel sports clearly labeled buttons and a 2.5-inch color LCD. I'd have liked clearer cues for navigating menus on the LCD; it's not always clear whether you should push the up/down arrows or the Settings button to make a change. Canon does a good job in the documentation--but not in the interface itself--of explaining what to do.
Canon tells you upfront that the Pixma MX860's top text-printing is just 8.4 pages per minute, and that's exactly what we got in our tests. Graphics pages meandered out at a rate of 2.2 ppm (Canon claimed 5.6 ppm for graphics). The results were pleasing: Text looked very black and crisp. Though graphics and photos printed on plain paper tended to look pale and pinkish or orangey, on Canon's own paper they looked great. Contrast this with the similarly priced Epson WorkForce 600, which is blazing fast, but produces unremarkable output.
The machine ships with a full set of five separate ink cartridges. The costs are a little better than average: A 324-page black cartridge costs $15, or 4.6 cents per page. Cyan, magenta, and yellow cost $13 each and last for about 510 to 535 pages (about 2.5 cents per page). A second black ink, also $13, is used primarily in photographic images and adds a minuscule cost to the industry-standard business documents used for calculating page yield. (Per Canon's own testing, it is good for 815 4-by-6-inch photos, which works out to 1.6 cents per photo for that color.) A page with all four main colors (plus a little photo black) costs about 12.8 cents to print.
The Canon Pixma MX860 supplies a wide array of features for an affordable price. But if you need more speed, step up in price to the HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 Wireless All-In-One.