Canon Pixma MP960 multifunction printer

The Canon Pixma MP960 is a six-color photo inkjet multifunction printer that, when used with its built-in 4800 dpi scanner, works as a stand-alone copier. This top-of-the-line model doesn’t come cheap, but its sturdy design and easy-to-use controls give it an air of refinement missing in most printers in this class. And the prints look great too.

Straightforward installation

Though a little larger than most inkjet MFPs, the Canon Pixma MP960 is Mac-friendly and quick and easy to set up. To ensure proper installation, the MP960’s ink-cartridge head contains small lights for each ink color, which illuminate when a cartridge snaps into place. After installing the MP960’s drivers and choosing from USB (cable not included) or Bluetooth connectivity options, the included software CD guides you through the rest of the setup process. Within minutes, the MP960 was ready to print, scan, and copy.

The printer has two paper paths, a top loading sheet feeder as well as a tray on the bottom of the unit, giving the unit a 300-sheet capacity. This is convenient for heavy-volume printing or switching between different types of media, without having to replace paper each time. You could, for example, put plain paper in the top and photo paper in the bottom and choose which to print on from the printer driver.

The MP960’s software is neatly organized and thoughtfully programmed, giving you maximum control over the quality of your prints. For instance, if you want Photoshop to manage the color of a print, the MP960 software will automatically disable the printer’s built-in color conversion function. This prevents beginners from accidentally using two color determinations and getting very skewed results. As for controlling quality, the MP960’s customization settings are easy to identify and select.

The software doesn’t fall short when it comes to scanning. In its preview mode, the scanning software automatically performs a quick and clean crop of the image you’re scanning (compared to some other scanners we tested that captured blank space when auto-cropping). Advanced users can tweak resolution and color settings, and those settings are conveniently saved even after closing and reopening the scanning application.

This multifunction printer also features a nifty, large, flip-up TFT display, which is navigable with a scroll wheel. These combined features make the copier and memory card printing functions especially easy to access and customize.

Speed and quality

The Pixma MP960 is a quick printer, able to finish a one-page Word document in less than 10 seconds and print a four-page PDF in less than half the time of some of our recently reviewed inkjet MFPs. Its scanning speeds were about average.

We assembled a panel of Macworld editors to evaluate the print and scan quality of the MP960. This unit received ratings of Very Good for all print tests, including photo, text, graphics, and copying. Scans rated a Good in terms of quality, but they weren’t stunning. This MFP did a very respectable job of scanning with its built-in transparency adapter, however, capturing lots of detail and accurate color.

Timed Trials: Print

10-page Word test 1:10
1-page Word test 0:09
22MB Photoshop image 1:40
4-page PDF 1:54

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

timed trials: scan

8-by-10-inch Photo, 600 dpi scan 1:43
4-by-6-inch Photo, 1,200dpi scan 2:15

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

jury tests: print

Graphics: Fine Lines and Gradients Very Good
22MB Photoshop Image Quality Very Good
Text Quality Very Good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

jury tests: scan/copy

Color Good
Clarity Good
Copy Very Good

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

specifications

Print Resolution 9600x2400 dpi (color); 600x600 dpi (black)
Scan Resolution: optical 4800 dpi
Max Scanning Bit Depth (output) 24 bit
Connection USB 2.0; IrDA; optional Bluetooth 2.0
Paper Sizes Credit card (2.13x3.39), 4x6, 4x8, 5x7, 8x10, letter, legal, No. 10 envelopes
Cost to Replace Ink/ Toner Cartridges $102 ($16 for pigment black; $14 each for black, cyan, magenta, yellow, photo cyan, photo magenta)
Weight (in pounds) 26.5
Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches) 8.9x16.9x18.6
Paper Capacity 300 sheets
Special Features Duplex printing; 3.5-inch TFT display; easy scroll wheel; transparency scanning.

Macworld’s buying advice

The Canon Pixma MP960 is a multifunction printer that all levels of users will appreciate. Its convenient software, sturdy, well-thought-out design, and very good print quality make this printer a real contender for the photographically inclined.

[ Jim Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. Brian Chen is Macworld's assistant editor. ]

Canon Pixma MP960

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