capsule review

Canon Pixma MG2120 Color Inkjet MFP: Basic With Pricey Black Ink and a Short Warranty

At a Glance
  • Canon Pixma MG2120

    PCWorld Rating

    On the surface, it’s a nice bargain for home users who print infrequently, but the pricey black ink and all-too-brief 90-day warranty make it a meager long-term deal.

Depending on how much and what you print, the $70 (as of 03/07/2012), USB-attached Canon Pixma MG2120 color inkjet multifunction printer may be adequate for a home user. But its black ink is hardly a bargain, so if you print mostly text, you won't like the ongoing costs. On the other hand, if you normally print mixed text and color graphics, this MFP costs about the same to operate as most of the competition.

The Pixma MG2120 will handle low volumes of printing, copying, and scanning easily. Not surprisingly, given the price, it has no amenities such as an automatic duplexer, or an automatic document feeder (ADF) for the scanner. On the plus side, the lid for the letter/A4-size scanner telescopes to accommodate thicker material, and you can even push-scan by changing a setting in the scanner dialog. The single input tray handles about 100 sheets, and the output tray directly above it handles 50.

The control panel is rudimentary. The single-digit LED and array of flashing-light indicators can be hard to decipher, despite some good labeling. There are no media-card slots, nor is there a display for navigating menus or previewing photos.

Canon, unlike HP with its Photosmart 5010, offers a full-featured PC printer driver. The unit has the regular panoply of layout options such as booklet and "n-up," or tiled, pages (multiple pages reduced in size and printed on a single sheet of paper).

Mac users, however, will be disappointed: You'll find no manual duplexing support for the Mac, and Canon's solution for supporting Lion (OS X 10.7) was to send me to a website where I could find no download specifically for the Pixma MG2120, only those for more expensive models. Fortunately, Apple's own Add Printer installation found, downloaded, and installed a suitable driver for the unit.

The output from the Pixma MG2120 is decently fast considering the price and its intended low-volume usage. Text prints at about 5.8 pages per minute on the PC, and 5.7 ppm on the Mac; 4-by-6-inch photos print at 2.4 ppm on plain paper and at about half that rate on glossy photo paper. The full-page photo we print from the Mac takes a little less than 4 minutes, or 0.3 ppm--a bit slower than the norm. Scans and copies on the other hand, are a on par with, or quicker than, those of most MFPs.

The quality of the Pixma MG2120's output is about the same as that produced by other Canon Pixma MG-series printers. Text is not laserlike, but certainly serviceable, even for business correspondence. Color graphics have a warm, friendly vibe. They’re not terribly accurate in terms of their color palette, skewing orangeish even on Canon’s own photo paper. They do, however, show nice detail.

The Pixma MG2120's black ink is expensive no matter which size of cartridge you purchase. The PG-240XL Extra Large black cartridge costs $21 and lasts for 300 pages, which is a pricey 7 cents per page (cpp). The $38, 600-page PG-240XXL black cartridge is only slightly cheaper at 6.3 cpp. The tri-color CL-241XL cost $30 and lasts for 400 pages, or 7.5 cpp. That makes a four-color page 13.8 cpp at best, which is about average for an inkjet MFP.

Canon offers only a 90-day warranty on the Pixma MG2120. Before discovering that, I would've estimated that the construction of the unit would have it lasting far longer than three months. However, Canon's brief commitment to the unit should be noted.

If you print in low volume--a few pages a few times a week, or an occasional photo--then the economics of the Pixma MG2120 might work for you. For more frequent use, opt for something a tad pricier with better black-ink costs, such as the Brother MFC-J430W or the Epson Stylus NX430. Both of these units also carry a more reassuring one-year warranty.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    On the surface, it’s a nice bargain for home users who print infrequently, but the pricey black ink and all-too-brief 90-day warranty make it a meager long-term deal.

    Pros

    • Nice output quality
    • Low purchase price

    Cons

    • Expensive black ink
    • Short, 90-day warranty
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