Printer Reviews: Canon Pixma MG5620

THE GOOD

Excellent output quality, includes auto-duplexer for double-sided prints, easy to set-up and connect with a wireless network and mobile devices.

THE BAD

Expensive ink costs limit heavy photo printing and the unit lacks a media card bay. There are better deals in the same price range.

THE BOTTOM LINE

While the Canon Pixma MG5620 is a capable machine with an easy set-up process and an attractive set of features, its high cost of consumables cuts into the overall value.

Canon Pixma MG5620

Canon Pixma MG5620 

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The Canon Pixma MG5620 is a wireless inkjet multifunction printer that can print, scan and copy documents, in addition to outputting full-color photos and text pages. The retail price scoots in at just under $80 in the US, while the UK and Australia are still waiting for availability.

At this budget-friendly price, we're neither surprised nor concerned to see that this machine omits a fax machine and peripheral features like a memory card reader, though you might not care if all you need is a printer for text and light duty photo output.

For that purpose, this is a capable unit with fast print speeds and inkjet photo quality that performs at a name-brand pedigree, but the high cost of consumables limits our full recommendation. If you're shopping for a more well-rounded machine with a copier, scanner, card reader and cloud printing, you'll be happier with the Epson XP-420 that costs less to replace ink.

Design and features

The MG5620 is an attractive printer with a matte black finish and a low-profile chassis that won't take up too much room in your work space. The exact measurements for the device are 18 inches wide, 14.6 inches deep, and 5.9 inches tall, and with no auto-document feeder in the back, you can push this printer all the way flush with a wall and keep it out of the way until you need it.

Like most Canon consumer inkjet printers, the 2,400x1,200 dots per inch (dpi) flatbed scanner sits on top of the printer and lifts up by a small indented lip on the lid. You get the standard 8.5 by 11.7 inches of space to work with here, and the company generously provides two articulating hinges on the back that let you raise the lid and fold it over extra-thick media like textbooks.

As the multifunction moniker describes, the MG5620 also functions as a copier, but it lacks a tray that normally lets you drop in stacks of paper for hands-free scanning, also known as an auto-document feeder, or ADF. That's not unusual since this is a consumer photo printer, so check out the Canon MX472 inkjet if you need more business-friendly features.

With its single-sheet feed tray, you can either duplicate an existing sheet or copy one sheet at a time using the scanner, which could be an immediate deal breaker if you make lot of copies. If that's the case, stop reading here and check out some office-friendly all-in-one inkjets that will still provide excellent print quality, but which usually offer more convenient extras designed with productivity in mind.

The basic set up of the printer is super easy and requires little effort, especially if you start with the standard USB connection that helps you install the drivers onto a computer with a hard connection. I was able to get it It's also easy enough to hook up a Wi-Fi network connection, giving you access to your files through cloud-based services like Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print that let you print wirelessly from iOS devices and Google Chromebooks, respectively. Canon also works hard to continue improving the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint app which is compatible with devices running iOS, Android and (believe it or not) Windows RT.

With the app installed, you can connect to most Canon Pixma or Selphy devices and print single photos with relative ease. Canon also bundles in two other software titles: My Image Garden to help you organize and get creative with your photos, and Full HD Movie Print, Canon's own proprietary software which lets you extract high-quality still images from movies filmed on your Canon cameras.

The front panel has a simple 2.5-inch LCD screen that works well enough to display details about your prints, although you won't be doing any heavy duty photo editing on it. The whole front section lifts forward to reveal the five-ink cartridge bay with a pigment black ink that helps reproduce extra dense text prints.

The cost to supply consumables for this printer largely depends on how much you use it, but using Canon's prices and page yields, we can calculate that the average page of mixed text and graphics will cost you about 5 cents per page, for just the black ink cartridge alone; color pages are slightly less expensive at just under 3.5 cents per page for each cartridge.

It's easy to see where Canon makes their money back on the low cost of the machine to get you started. The refill prices are the cost to play and Canon buries the knife a little deeper by including "starter" cartridges with less than average fills, but you can save a few bucks in the long term buying Canon's XL capacity cartridges that pack in extra ink for a little more.

Performance

Canon Pixma MG5620 Review

Canon Pixma MG5620 Review

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We ran a series of speed and quality tests on the MG5620 and the results fall within the acceptable realm for a sub-$100 inkjet printer. It averaged just under three pages per minute using the combined results of two different timed tests for color-photo speed and a 10-page text document that employs a variety of font sizes and fonts. Of course, if speed is a priority over output quality and you're only printing text, you should consider investing in a laser printer like the Samsung ML-M2020W monochrome printer.

If optimal photo quality is what you're looking and money isn't an issue, we can recommend this printer's output for professional documents like slide shows, full-color prints, spreadsheets and handouts.

The internal driver lets you cycle through different print qualities to conserve remaining inks, and you'll be more than satisfied with the printer's color reproduction -- the darker spots of our sample image are dense and unmarred by bleeding colors. Bright colors pop as they should, and the text is well-formed all the way down to smaller font sizes.

Conclusion

As an alternative, we recommend the Epson Expression XP-420, which costs about the same but gives you better quality output and a slightly cheaper ink cost.connected to our test desktop computer here running Windows Vista in minutes.

Epson Expression Home XP-420 is worth your attention if you're shopping for a fast, reliable printer in the sub-$100 category that fits in tight spaces. This compact "small-in-one" (as Epson brands it) inkjet printer can print, copy and scan along with an array of productivity features, including a 2.5-inch color LCD display, a memory card slot reader and cloud-printing access by way of Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint and Epson Connect.

Partnered with three separate ink tanks, average ink refill costs, and a generous bundle of desktop and mobile software to guide you along the way, the $99 list price (£89.99 in the UK, AU$120 in Australia) Epson Expression Home XP-420 should be at the top of your list when shopping for an affordable all-in-one.

Like a lot of printer manufacturers, Epson offers a few models in the lineup that add or subtract features based on your needs. For example, if you're not a photo enthusiast you can save $10 and pick the Epson Expression XP-320, another all-purpose inkjet that has exactly the same features as the XP-420 but downgrades to a smaller 1.4-inch color LCD display.

 

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