So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
The Canon Pixma MX300 colour inkjet multifunction printer offers students and home-office users basic functionality for a low initial price.
- Cheap, crisp text
- Expensive inks
The Canon Pixma MX330 gives entry-level users a decent multifunction device to work with, but high-volume users would do well to choose a model with less-expensive consumables.
Price$ 109.00 (AUD)
If you print a lot, however, look elsewhere, because the Canon Pixma MX300's inks can be expensive.
As is typical of inkjet MFPs priced in this bracket, the Canon Pixma MX300 has a feature set suitable for low-volume use. It comes with a rear, vertical 150-sheet input tray and a front, flip-out 50-sheet output tray.
A 30-page automatic document feeder unfolds from the top. The ADF can handle legal-size media (five sheets at a time), but the scanner platen fits letter-size sheets only. The scanner's lid telescopes to accommodate thicker media.
Duplexing is a manual operation, and the Canon Pixma MX300 offers helpful onscreen prompts to step you through the process. Connectivity is limited: a front port lets you print photos directly from a PictBridge-compliant device or save scanned files to a USB key drive; Canon sells a Bluetooth adaptor.
The Canon Pixma MX300's control panel is fairly well designed. All of the buttons have coherent word labels, but the 1.8in colour LCD for viewing menu options is small and would be easier to use if its navigation cues were clearer.
Sometimes you need to push the up/down arrows and other times the Settings button to move through the menus. The included documentation covers the nuances well, but it didn't make intuitive sense to us when using the machine.
As you'd expect of a printer this inexpensive, speed isn't a selling point. At least Canon is honest about it, claiming a top text speed of 7.5 pages per minute, and a top graphics speed of 4.5ppm. In our tests, the Canon Pixma MX300's text speed actually exceeded expectations slightly, reaching 7.7ppm, while our graphics samples topped out at 2.2ppm.
Plain text pages looked pretty crisp. Graphics and photos varied more. On plain paper, images appeared grainy and a bit off-colour, with orangey flesh tones or purplish monochrome images, for example. On Canon's own paper, photos looked pale and sometimes streaky, even after repeated maintenance routines.
The ink costs for the Canon Pixma MX300 can build up in a hurry. The machine ships with a 220-page black cartridge and a 244-page tricolour cartridge consisting of cyan, magenta, and yellow compartments.
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