If you go by sales figures and consumer recognition, Canon and HP are the two top printer brands. This isn't a great surprise — both companies make well-built, fast, great quality printers and multifunctions to suit a range of homes and small businesses. Whether you're looking to print school assignments, lab-quality photos or business documents, there is bound to be a printer from either of these manufacturers to suit your needs. The question is: which brand is better and for what purposes?
Bang for buck
Multifunctions seem to offer everything but the kitchen sink these days, with up to five types of connectivity as well as a multitude of scanning and printing accessories to make the devices all the more useful. For the price-conscious buyer, it is about finding the right mix of these features.
Canon's "hero" product is the PIXMA MP630. Though we criticised the multifunction's slow print speeds when we reviewed it, its print quality is superb. The integrated Easy Scroll Wheel makes flicking through photos a breeze and it offers direct CD/DVD printing. Ethernet and Wi-Fi are missing (though you can wait for its successor, the PIXMA MP640), but considering you can currently grab the MP630 for as little as $199, we can forgive this.
HP's alternative, the Photosmart C6380, offers Ethernet and Wi-Fi at the same price point as the PIXMA MP630, but lacks direct CD/DVD printing. It still prints fantastically — and significantly faster too — making the choice an even more difficult one.
The PIXMA MP630's large LCD and scroll wheel makes it easier to use than the Photosmart C6380, but you can't overlook the latter's print speeds and connectivity. Unless you want to decorate your home movies (or your DVD slideshows), HP's multifunction is a better option.