Many of my clients ask for recommendations on printers. I set up and troubleshoot a LOT of printers for our clients, and when it comes to inkjet printers, I find Canon machines are generally reliable and easy to set up.
So when my Canon Pixma Pro 9000 recently bit the dust after several years of service, I decided to purchase an all-in-one to replace it. An all-in-one is a printer that also scans, copies and, in this case, faxes. I have a nice Epson stand-alone scanner, but I wanted the “copy” feature of an all-in-one. Plus my Epson is a flat-bed scanner and I figured I might as well get one with a document feeder so I can scan (and copy) lots of pages at once. Other features I decided were important are:
Of the major brands, Canon is the only one I seriously considered. HP printers have buggy software. Often I’ve set them up only to find that the software can’t find the printer on the network, even though I can manually connect to it using the printer’s ip address, which means it’s the software, not the computer or a firewall. (Don’t worry if that sentence makes no sense to you. Just read on if you’re looking for a good all-in-one (AIO) printer.
I haven’t set up many Epson printers by comparison, but they have a good reputation. However, I read several reports indicating that their wireless is not reliable, so I decided to steer clear.
Brother printers are good quality and I used to recommend them, but their support is horrendous. I have a client who purchased a $500 business-class AIO from Brother and when we needed to call them, they made it clear that, in their opinion, our time was not the least bit valuable.
Canon makes two types of “home/homeoffice” AIO – the “photo” AIO and the “office” AIO. “Photo” AIO’s don’t have a document feeder, which means you have to scan or copy one page at a time. So I went with a slightly more expensive “office” model, the Pixma MX922. The specs related to print quality are pretty much identical for the “photo” and “office” models. At $200 retail (you can find it around for $150), it was certainly not the cheapest, but it had all the features I wanted.
While I’m comfortable buying most things online, including computers, I prefer to buy printers locally. Printers are big and heavy and hard to pack. Generally you’ll only pay about $20 more to purchase it in a store, and it will be worth it for the ease of returning it in the unlikely event that you receive a “lemon”.
Wireless set-up was a breeze. A new feature that many printers have is “push-button” or WPS set-up. This means you don’t have to enter the wireless encryption key (or “wifi password”). You just “push” a button on the router and it finds the printer and they talk to each other.
Being a geek, I prefer to connect to the wireless by typing in the encryption key. One reason is that not all routers have the push button. Additionally, if you have a wireless router provided by your cable company, such as a Time Warner router/modem (which I don’t recommend but some people have it anyway), you will not be able to log into that router to tell it to look for your printer. I have come across printers that were very insistent on using “push-button” set-up. If you preferred not to use it or were unable to use it, you were out of luck, or at least had to spend several minutes search ing through the manual to locate the setting to connect to the wifi manually. Not so with the Canon wireless. It gave the option for WPS setup, but a little icon underneath indicated what button to push for other setup options. And before I knew it I was typing in my wifi password. That was relatively painless as well, as the Canon has nice big buttons for scrolling between the letters on the LCD screen. (No annoying scroll wheels.)
Next I installed the Canon scanning software. The software detected the printer on the network with no problem. A nice feature of this printer is that you can “scan to” the computer. In other words, after putting the document you want to scan in the scanner, you press a button or two on the scanner and it sends the scan to your computer. So you don’t need to walk back to your computer to open the scanning software, and then return to the scanner to remove your document. It used to be that only business-class scanners had this feature but it has become common on consumer products and it worked without a hitch on this model.
You may need to tweak a few settings to change the resolution or to get the scanned image to go into the folder you want or to have the photo editing software you want to use automatically open, but if you need help, one of our NY Geek Girls tech can assist you with your printer set-up.
Next I printed a photo. It started (and finished) printing quickly. I’ve experienced a delay with some older (and cheaper) models of Canon wireless printers but that was not the case with this printer.
The quality, even in standard mode, was very good. Amazingly, the colors of the print were a remarkably close match to the colors of the picture on my screen, which is more than one has a right to expect from a printer in any class. (Print and screen use different color spaces – CMYK for print and RGB for monitors. Click to learn more about the differences between CMYK and RGB.
Finally I decided to try out AirPrint and print an email from my iphone. (Your smart phone needs to be connected to your wireless network for this to work. But that’s not hard to do.) I opened an email, hit the arrow icon, then “print” and my phone located the printer. After clicking “print” under the options, the email printed with no further ado – no driver to install, no firewalls to configure. Fun!
Need ink? We use InkPlusToner.com. We’ve had much success with their remanufactured ink cartridges, which cost a fraction of the price of the original manufacturer’s cartridges. (Please note: while we’ve never had a leakage issue with cartridges from this company, we can’t be held responsible if yours leaks. Highly unlikely, but we’re just saying…)
I didn’t try out the fax because I don’t intend to use it. Seriously, does anyone fax anymore? That’s so “20th century”.
If you need a reasonably priced printer that is superior to cheap home printers and has a nice set of features, I recommend you consider the Canon Pixma MX922.