Best Multifunction Printers Do It All, But Performance Varies Widely

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Canon's new Pixma MP600 is fast, and makes attractive prints and scans. But it lacks a fax machine and a document feeder.
Canon's new Pixma MP600 is fast, and makes attractive prints and scans. But it lacks a fax machine and a document feeder.
Each of the multifunction inkjet printers on this month's chart is a newly tested model. Among these MFPs--also called all-in-ones--speeds varied widely. In our lab tests, the best performer across the board was the Canon Pixma MP600, which is priced low at $200 and earned our Best Buy.

Regardless of whether it was churning out text, graphics, or photographs, the MP600 printed faster than the competition, generating text at a brisk 11.9 pages per minute, graphics at 3.7 ppm, and glossy photos at 2.3 ppm.

The MP600 has many features, including dual paper trays and a duplexer for producing double-sided prints. Whether this model is the appropriate device for you, however, will likely depend on two features it lacks: It has no built-in fax capability, which limits its appeal for office users; and photo enthusiasts will be disappointed that the product doesn't scan film.

If you're willing to spend more, the $399 Canon Pixma MP960 delivers the works. It has a duplexer and two paper trays, as well as a big, 3.5-inch LCD screen, a scroll wheel for easy menu navigation, seven inks, and film scanning.

The $99 Lexmark X5470 distinguishes itself with more than just a very low price: It's the only model here that has a built-in fax machine.

Copies and Scans

As a copier, the MP600 is fast--on average it took 13 seconds per page. The MP960 churned out a copy every 17 seconds. Some of the other models took significantly longer. Epson's RX580 required 25 seconds to make a single copy, HP's C5180 took 28 seconds, and the Lexmark X5470 dragged its feet, finishing the task after 32 seconds.

The MP600 and MP960 delivered the best-looking copies, earning a Very Good mark for the dark, sharp text in their reproductions. The HP and Lexmark models received a Good for copy quality; and the Epson RX580 scored a Poor.

The Epson and the Lexmark produced the least-attractive scans; a lack of sharp details and inaccurate colors contributed to the Fair grade that each printer received. Scans from the other three devices looked slightly better--each model earned a score of Good.

Find the Very Latest Printer Charts

Click on the links below for the latest online printer rankings or a comprehensive list of all printers we've tested.

Top 5 Printers From the February 2007 Issue of PC World Magazine

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