Canon Pixma MG6120: High Style and Performance for a Midlevel Price
At a Glance
The Canon Pixma MG6120 color inkjet multifunction printer offers a lot for the money ($200 as of April 13, 2011), including impressive performance and features, plus the same shiny-black, touch-panel design as the much pricier Canon Pixma MG8120. A few trims to the Pixma MG6120's features compared to the Pixma MG8120 result in a high-style MFP for a comparatively bargain price.
The touch-sensitive control panel is a lot of fun and easy to use. The only physical button you'll find on the Pixma MG6120 is the power button. All other controls light up as you need them on the glossy-black panel that comprises the top of the machine. Even the scrollwheel is nonmechanical, as you just sweep your finger along its circle. The design is engaging and simple to understand. Note that the 3-inch color LCD (a small step down from the 3.5-inch display on the Pixma MG8120) that tilts upward from the panel and shows menu choices is not touch-sensitive; it took me a while to train myself not to touch it.
A lot of features come with the cool design: The MFP offers USB, ethernet, and Wi-Fi connectivity; two 150-sheet input trays; automatic duplexing for both PC and Mac users; and slots for CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD Card, and XD-Picture Card media, as well as a port for USB thumb drives and PictBridge-connected devices. The 50-sheet output tray unfolds automatically from the front when you start printing--a nice convenience. Note that the letter/A4-size flatbed scanner on the Pixma MG6120 uses contact-image-sensor (CIS) technology; the scanner on the pricier Pixma MG8120 uses charge-coupled device (CCD) technology, which is more sensitive but heavier.
One of the very few things missing from the Pixma MG6120 is an automatic document feeder; if you want that, check out the Canon Pixma MX882, which squeezes a smaller version of the touch panel onto its front so that the ADF can go on top.
In our tests, the Pixma MG6120 posted above-average speeds for an inkjet, finishing just behind its Pixma MG8120 cousin. Our monochrome documents--ten pages of plain text, and a newsletter with a smattering of grayscale graphics--looked crisp and printed at a rate of 7.6 pages per minute on the PC and 7.8 ppm on the Mac. On the PC, snapshot-size color photos printed at 2.6 ppm on plain paper and 1.9 ppm on Canon's own photo paper. The full-page, high-resolution photo that we printed on the Mac emerged at a midrange 0.5 ppm. The Pixma MG6120 scanned monochrome and color images quickly, and it copied at average speed.
Output quality is very good. Color prints and copies showed an orange tinge on plain paper (a common tendency among Canon printers), but this imperfection was less pronounced on photo paper. Simple monochrome text prints and copies looked black and crisp, but color scans appeared somewhat dark.
The Pixma MG6120's ink costs are slightly lower than the norm. The standard-size, 328-page black cartridge is $16, or 4.9 cents per page. The individual cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges each cost $14 and last for around 450 pages, which works out to about 3.1 cents per color per page. A typical page with all four colors costs 14.2 cents. Also priced at $14 each are the dedicated photo-black and photo-gray cartridges, which make the darker areas of photos look smoother and more realistic. They add relatively little ink to a typical document; Canon says that the photo-black cartridge should last for about 670 4-by-6-inch photos, and that the photo-gray cartridge should last for about 171.
The Canon Pixma MG6120 manages to look stylish and perform well, a killer pairing in any area of life. The like-priced Epson Artisan 725 has cheaper inks and slightly better speed, but it falls a bit short in features and print quality.