Review: Canon Pixma MX885

Our score: 4/5
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May 18, 2011 8:57 AM
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Published: May 17, 2011 11:00 PM
By Marine Goy / Morgane Alzieu
The Pixma MX885 is the high end model in Canon's latest inkjet range. It's a multifunction colour printer, promising pro features and improved photo quality. Targeted at independent workers and companies, it will also serve very well as your home machine.


Hardware

The Pixma MX885 is obviously a Canon. It looks sober and elegant, has nice curves, is all in black and has alternate matte and glossy areas (watch where you put your fingers!). This all-in-one will print, scan, copy and fax and has wi-fi and Ethernet connectivity, making it easy to share. Double-sided mode is included (not the case with the models lower down the range MX360, MX410, MX420). There's still no touch screen on this latest generation range. Is this a deliberate choice by Canon? Nevertheless, it covers all the bases when it comes to drivers, with Windows, Mac and Linux all catered for.

The front of the MX885: it looks like a touch screen but it isn't!

Inside, you'll find five separated cartridges. There are two blacks, one a pigmented black for office documents and the other for photos. The printer selects the cartridge according to the type of print you go for.

Speeds
: very fast for office documents and photos both

Rapid is all we can say here. 11 pages per minute (ppm) in colour, 15 ppm in black & white making it twice (colour) and three times (b&w) faster than the Brother MFC-J615W, which is also targeted at small companies.


In double-sided mode the Canon does slow down, falling to 3 ppm for both colour and black & white.

Its photo print speeds are also among the fastest of those we've tested. The entry level Canon MX360 takes 2 minutes to print an A4 photo whereas the MX885 only takes 1 minute. A 10 x 15 cm print takes 52 seconds on the MX360 against 23 seconds here.

A4 and 10x15 cm prints in seconds

Quality

The quality of prints is excellent, though colour office documents are a notch down in quality on the photo prints. Our test graph (not easy to reproduce accurately) is perfectly sharp with the shading on the single tone areas in line with the original. Nevertheless, while colour accuracy, shaded areas and sharpness are all excellent, the fact that you can make out the droplets (only 1 picolitre all the same) is a shame. In black & white, the contrasts, sharpness and characters on the graph are irreproachable.


The photo prints are worthy of a good specialised photo printer. The colours are accurate and the details sharp and well reproduced. Nothing takes away from the overall result, either in A4 or 10 x 15 cm format. You might easily think the prints had come straight from a lab. The size of droplets is completely invisible to the naked eye, even when you look at the photo very closely. What's not to like?




Scanner and copier

The scanner works well and is fast. It takes 11 seconds to scan a document at 300 dpi, which is fine. What's more surprising is that the scanned document doesn't lose too much detail and is better quality than most scans which are often dull, imprecise or with a tendency towards red, like the Lexmark Genesis S815 for example. Here, the scanner is just 5% off
 

Copies take just 10 seconds for black & white and 13 seconds for colour. Again this is fast. When it comes to copy quality however, this multifunction is very much in line with other models, meaning it does fine with text but the single tone areas on the colour copies of our by now notorious graph, with its complex tones and nuances, are so grainy that the graph is illegible. In black & white, the characters on the graph are legible but the shading is too light, not at all accurate.


Energy consumption & noise levels

Canon has shown itself perfectly capable of making printers that draw under 1 Watt in standby, so why does the MX885 draw 2 Watts? Of course, this is still relatively low. When printing, the MX885 consumes 19 Watts, which is good enough for us. Noise levels of 52 dB (A) make it a slightly noisy printer.


Cost per page: 9.8 pence


The cost per page here is 9.8 pence. This isn't bad for an inkjet though Canon could have pushed print costs down by offering high capacity cartridges. Unfortunately only standard format is available on this machine. This is why we've rated it at four instead of five stars.

ISO lifespan for text
Cartridge Price ISO lifespan Cost per page
PGI-525PGBK2 (black - twin) £18 682 2.7 pence
CLI-526C (cyan - triple) £25 520 1.6 pence
CLI-526M (magenta - triple) £25 500 1.7 pence
CLI-525Y (yellow - triple) £25 204 3.5 pence
CLI-526BK £10 3005 0.3 pence
4/5 Canon Pixma MX885 DigitalVersus 2011-05-18 00:00:00

Pros

  • All-in-one, wi-fi, networked, double-sided
  • High quality prints, excellent photo quality
  • Rapid
  • Good quality scanner (a rare thing)

Cons

  • Not the quietest: 52 dB (A)
  • Cost per page: 9.8 pence
  • No XL format cartridges
  • Copier can't handle complex documents

Conclusion

We almost gave this model a 5-star rating. The Pixma MX885 is an all-rounder, gives good quality, is responsive in all modes and comes stuffed with features, but its cost per page is too high for it to take top spot.

OUR SCORE 4/5
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