For $200, Canon’s Pixma MX870 color inkjet multifunction printer offers a lot of features and performance for the money, especially for small-office or home-office users. Its ink prices are good, too.
One of several new inkjet MFPs introduced by Canon in recent months, the silver (with black accents) Pixma MX870 is both sporty and simple in design. Big buttons on the front control panel let you bring up its major functions (copying, faxing, scanning, and memory-card reading), and the menus appear on a 2.5-inch color LCD. Augmenting the traditional four-way rocker navigation button is a scroll wheel around its edge if you prefer to twirl through options; an ‘OK’ button occupies the middle of the rocker nav.
The MX870’s performance is more than adequate for a small office. On both our Mac and PC test platforms, plain-text pages emerged at a rate of 6.4 pages per minute. Color pages averaged just under 0.5 ppm on the Mac and 1.8 ppm on the PC. Also on the Mac, scanning a 7.5-by-9.9-inch photo at 600 dots per inch averaged about 45 seconds, while scanning a 4-by-6-inch photo at 1200 dpi took about 90 seconds. Color prints on both plain and photo paper had rich, smooth color, and text pages looked black and sharp. Our only beef involved color scans: At the default settings, they were excessively dark, giving the appearance of being shot on a rainy day.
Business-friendly features abound: You can connect via ethernet, USB, or Wi-Fi. The beveled scanner bed cover includes a foldout, 35-sheet automatic document feeder, an essential feature for any office. The Pixma MX870 also has an unusually generous paper capacity, with a 150-sheet undermounted drawer for plain paper only, plus a 150-sheet rear vertical tray for feeding all other kinds of media. The automatic duplexer helps you save money and trees. The unit will even lower the front output tray automatically before printing. (“Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”) Card readers accommodate CF, MS, and SD formats; you’ll need a third-party adapter for xD. There’s also a PictBridge port. Canon sells a Bluetooth adapter (BU-30) for $50.
The Pixma MX870 has a separate ink cartridge for each color. The pigment black (PGI-220) costs $15 and is specced to last for 524 pages, or 4.62 cents per page. The cyan, magenta, and yellow CLI-221 cartridges cost $13 each and should last for 510 to 535 pages each, which works out to about 2.5 cents per color per page; a page with all four colors would cost about 12.4 cents. The CLI-221 photo black will lasts for about 814 4-by-6-inch photos, by Canon’s reckoning.
Macworld’s buying advice
The Pixma MX870 is one of the better-balanced inkjet MFPs we’ve tested recently. It delivers good performance and good features for the price. While the machine is best suited for a small or home office, its media slots and good color output make it useful for a busy family as well.