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About a year ago, I convinced my manager that I needed to buy a small desktop printer to take with me to offsite conferences that I organise - having managed to break two lent to me by the venue during a recent conference, I wanted something reliable which I knew how to work.
I spent some time browsing our office supplies catalogue trying to decide what to get. I wanted a good quality printer, easy to set up and use, with copier and scanner functions, able to print photos (I didn't need it but I thought I might as well have that option) and not too large or heavy. I also didn't want a horribly ugly boxy looking thing, which is where the Canon Pixma range had the edge - they're fairly attractive things as far as printers go, so I chose the MG5450 which was in the price range I was looking at (under £100) and which seemed to be getting good reviews.
Set up wasn't as easy as I'd hoped, but frankly I think it's just me. I always have issues with setting up printers, and this is further hampered by my work's IT security procedures which mean my laptop gets upset when I try to install something new. It seemed to take me ages to get the printer set up first time round - which fortunately I did when still in the office, rather than waiting until I actually needed to use the printer offsite.
Once the printer was set up and my laptop had got over it's tantrum, reconnecting the printer every time I need to use it has been incredibly straightforward - I literally just connect it to my laptop by USB cable, plug in the printers power, and we're off. Now that my laptop knows the printer, it's fine.
So, the printer. The first time I used it, I noticed the speed of printing. Of course it's slower than the massive multifunction printer we have in the office, but for an inkjet printer I thought the MG5450 was really quite nippy. You don't have to wait ages for a document to print - but if you're printing a sheet which is solid print, i.e. a powerpoint slide with a full background, that does take a bit longer.
Print quality is also very good. I can tell that my printouts come from an inkjet instead of the laser multifunction one that I'm used to, but printing is clear, and doesn't smudge. The ink on paper feels ever so slightly damp when it first comes out of the printer, but I've not managed to smudge anything yet. The printer is also fairly quiet when printing.
I find using the printer to be very easy on the whole. I just send the document to be printed to the printer, and out it comes. However, when I step away from straightforward printing, it gets a little more tricky. I only recently discovered how to do double sided printing, a year after purchasing the printer. Copying is easy, but scanning has caused me a lot of trouble. I have tried so many times to scan something by pushing buttons on the printer, but it just never works, it never pops up on my computer. Some time ago I figured out how to do it - and then promptly forgot. So when our laser multifunction was broken for about a week recently, I was using this little printer and had to spend ages figuring out how to scan - eventually I remembered that I needed to control the scanning from my computer, not from the printer. I still haven't figured out how to scan to PDF though - this seems to be an option on the little screen on the printer, but not an option when starting the scan from my computer.
I have printed some photos on the MG5450, and it is very good quality - I was certainly happy with the results, although it might not satisfy serious photographers.
Ink usage is something I've found hard to track. Until recently I was only using the printer for a few days every month or two, and during that time I wasn't generally using it heavily. Yet I remember being surprised I had to change one of the ink cartridges during the first conference I used the printer at. As I mentioned previously, recently I was using this printer as the main office printer, which meant more regular use, and higher levels of use. Over the course of about a week and a half, I had to change three of the five ink cartridges, two colours and the black toner thingie - but the cartridges weren't fresh at the start of that period, they had been used previously. So I'm not sure what the rate of consumption is - I think in honesty that it is fairly high, but that will really depend on your use. If you were to use this like I did recently as the main printer in an office, you'd find you were going through ink at an awful rate. If this were your home printer and it was only getting used once or twice a week, ink would last quite a while. The ink seems to me to be reasonably priced - you can buy multipacks of the colours for about £35, and the black toner is about £12.
The Canon Pixma MG5450 is a really decent little printer for what I need it for - it has always run smoothly, print quality is good, and it works quite quickly. I've been very pleased with it - although it can't replace the large multifunction device we have in the office, I've left the Canon set up on my desk for odd bits and pieces of printing. The only trouble I've had with it is scanning, and there is the possibility that that trouble would disappear if I read the instruction booklet...
Good looks are certainly not everything but the Canon MG5450 is quite a sleek looking machine. Not all that important, but rather pleasing. I am a bit of a Canon fan all round so I will say straight away that I use Canon Ink and paper. I personally think this is important and it assuredly gets me the results that I am looking for.
As usual on arrival it was well packed and presented. I found the instructions very straight forward and easy to follow, and I'm no whizz kid. All that you needed was provided and set up was not a problem.
The placement of the paper load and output trays was particularly useful as it meant that you could place the printer against a wall, or on a shelf, or even in a cupboard. It doesn't take up too much room the output tray opens automatically when it receives something to print.
It produces excellent print quality in both monochrome for text documents, and in colour for my photos. I love the way it automatically selects the correct paper tray for each print job. Two sided printing is also available. Its versatility is amazing and the quality of both printing and scanning are great. In scanning I really appreciate the option of Jpeg or PDF format scans which is really useful. Top panel controls make scanning and printing very easy. It prints from our phones and also from Tablets, so I am told. The provision of two black cartridges is also a big plus.
A tip for when setting up on wireless, you need to be in arms reach of your router as you need to press buttons on both at the same time.