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The mp170 is an "all in one printer", boasting a scanner, photocopy, fax, printer etc. All this in one package. It sounds like a winner! Sadly, it doesn't do any of these things as good as a proper scanner/ proper printer etc. Here is the review:
Ok, starting with printing, the printer can do colour, and black and white, and replacing the ink is pretty easy. However, the paper is fed in via a slot (and can be expanded to size A3 or whatever you want). However, because of this, often the paper isn't fed properly through the machine, and frequently gets jammed up. If it doesn't get jammed, then either the paper gets creased horribly, the page gets printed at a weird angle, or the machine tells you that it is out of paper (even though you are looking right at a load of paper). This makes printing unreliable, time consuming, and very annoying. Considering that this is what most people will use this for, its a very bad negative already! It would be much better if they had a tray loaded system like most printers, as these do not have such bad problems (but then you couldn't expand to A3, but to be honest, who ever does for home use?).
Ok, the scanner. This lifts to top lid, and away you scan. This isn't too bad... but as there is no feeder system, you have to scan one page at a time. In a busy office, this is too slow, but its ok for home use. This is what confuses me about this printer. Its not a good enough printer for home use, but not a good enough scanner for office use, so its actual use confuses me. Although to be fair, you can use microsoft word image identification software to turn all text into a word format, which is pretty darn useful sometimes. And it does scan up to A3.
As for fax... well I have never sent a fax in my life, and do not intend to start with this. I don't feel like it would excel at it, as I imagine it would be similar to a photocopy.
As for a photocopier, this again is a bit failure. This is because the fact that to open the top lid presses on the papers that you loaded. So between every copy, you have to continously re-adjust the paper. To be honest, I find difficulty making it work, so what I do is scan every paper, then print off every paper in one go. Making the photocopy aspect useless.
On final point is that this thing is quite bulky, its very big due to being able to do a3. Although it may not be as bulky as a seperate scanner and printer.
So in summary, a real shame. This printer has real potential, but for 2 things, A the paper loading system is bad, and B the scan input could do with having 2 ways of scanning like most scanners. I get the feeling this was done for A3 capabilities, but I have never used A3 printing before ever, and don't intend to start. I would personally not go this again, and instead invest in a scanner (around £10-20 these days?) and a printer. This would be cheaper, and probably quicker. All you loose is fax and copy capabilities, but as I wouldn't even know how to send a fax (email is so much easier), and as the copy feature on this isn't all the great, you honestly won't miss much.
So in summary. Jack of all trades, master of none!
The Canon Pixma is a very reliable printer combi, i've had mine for about 4 years now maybe longer and it has always ran smoothly. It has lived at several addresses with me so has been very hardy along with surviving a royal mail delivery from when i bought it off ebay.
Its a little bulky but is really light for its size and all its features work well. The scanner on it is brilliant and it pics up the smallest details well when scanning pictures although if your scanning in letters, documents etc.. it can get confused and sometimes just scan a logo or title off a page so you have to scan some documents a few times before it scans the whole page.
The photocopier is good too and you can copy in black and white or colour but i don't use this too often as its just as easy to scan. You can operate the scanner and copier from the front of the printer or from your computer.
The printer prints pages quickly although it does make a LOT of noise when processing. It seems to be making lots of cog turning sounds for quite a bit of time before it starts each print. This is rather annoying and detracts from the quick actual printing time.
The print quality is pretty good but this seems to depend heavily on the paper type you use. You can set the print quality to high, normal or low which is handy. On high the print is very crisp and clear especially in word documents. It prints digital pics pretty well too, but you can see the pixels if you look closely.
The ink cartridges are not cheap if you buy cannon ones but i generally get them refilled. The ink low warning is very out for black! and i mean very out! but a friend gave me a tip about holding down the ok button and menu button in a particular order to reset these. I wish i could remember what he said but i'll ask him and update this when i know.
I would recommend this printer as a good reliable basic as its fairy outdated now.
The day may home scanner broke was a very sad day. I could no longer archive my pile of old photographs or scan documents for my business. I needed a scanner and I needed one fast, and preferably cheap.
A visit to the local Tesco's introduced me to an all in one printer, scanner and copier all for less than £50. To me this seemed a bargain, so I purchased one quickly.
The item in question was the Pixma MP170 by Canon.
The first thing you notice when you unwrap the box is that the unit is rather heavy and very plastic. In the box are driver discs, power cable and two ink cartridges (one for colours and one for black). There is however no USB printer cable which is a fine if you are replacing a printer but a pain if you're not.
The installation of the software is the first thing you need to do. This starts automatically and installs the driver plus a couple of photo manipulation utilities. It also installs a PDF of the operation manual. Fortunately I didn't need to consult this as installation was a breeze. Despite already having a working printer attached to the PC the software didn't interfere with the other printers function. The printer did however make the new printer the default printer on the PC, though this was easily remedied by a couple of clicks in the Printers area of Control Panel.
With the software and drivers installed and the transit tape removed from the printers innards I powered up the unit. Lifting the top half of the scanner unit (which is similar to the bonnet of a car and has an arm that keeps the body in place) I could then access the printer cartridge wells. Installation of the Ink cartridges was straight forward and simply requires a push and lift to install. That said the space inside the machine was cramped and slightly awkward to access. After inserting A4 paper into o the rear of the unit (you can place up to 100 pieces of standard thickness A4 paper in the tray) the scanner, printer and copier were now all ready to use.
The three main functions of the unit are to copy, scan and print. I will briefly touch on each these functions now.
The copier function is very easy to use. The top of the unit has a thin lid that you lift to reveal the scanner bed. The glass scanner bed has markings alongside that illustrate where to position A4 and B5 documents. Once you have inserted your documents face down you can close the lid. To copy, you have a choice of either B&W or Colour copying. Selection of this is easy as there are dedicated buttons on the front control panel to select either choice. A single push of this button and the scanner starts to simultaneously scan and print out your document. In addition to straight copying you can access a menu on the front panel that allows you to reduce, enlarge, change contrast and select paper type.
The quality of the copied image, tested on plain paper was good; however I did find the image slightly darker than the original and needed to make a couple of adjustments. To copy an A4 sheet took approximately 25 seconds. The unit is quite noisy and thumps as the print heads shift back and forth. Overall I was pleased with the quality, though this would not replace a toner based photocopier as found in most offices. The ability to copy colour is a great advantage though.
The Scanner, the main reason for my purchase, is also extremely easy to use.
Assuming that the software package you are using supports the function; you can push the Scan button on the front panel of the unit and the scanner options window is displayed on your screen. From the scanner options window you can set the resolution, scan area, colour and contrast settings of the image you are about to scan. There is also a preview option that can quickly perform a dummy scan of the document and automatically detect the size of the item on the scan bed that you are scanning and make adjustments accordingly. This can be really useful if you are scanning non standard size items such as photographs or tickets. If your software doesn't support the 1 touch method of input then you can usually active the scanners twain drivers by using the menu's in you software application. For example using Microsoft word you would need to open the Insert>Image>from scanner or camera option.
The scanning time varies on the size of the object that you are scanning and the resolution that you are scanning in. The higher the resolution the longer the scan takes. The scanner is able to scan up to 1,200 x 2,400 dpi. It is also worth noting that the scanned image file size increases dramatically the higher the resolution set. Leaving the scanner on its default settings I scanned a page of A4 and the overall time was about 15 seconds.
The quality of the scan was excellent without noticeable degradation of quality. A few rogue white spots were noticed but these were tippex marks on the scan bed glass which were easily removed using glass cleaner.
The printer, which I hadn't bought the unit for, is an inkjet type of printer.
The printer has two cartridges; one black and one colour. Having a tri-colour cartridge can prove problematic as if one colour runs out then you have to discard the entire cartridge regardless of the other ink levels. One useful function is that the printer can use combinations of the colour inks to replicate black, should your black cartridge fall unexpectedly low. The other thing to consider is that the Cartridges are quite expensive to replace, in fact they are almost half the price of the whole multifunction unit. There are ink replacement and refill kits available for the printer but they will invalidate your warranty. If you do go down the refill mode it is also worth noting that the print heads are built into the removable cartridges and deteriorate after each refill.
Expensive ink aside, the quality of print of the machine is very good. Black text on white paper was sharp and showed no sign of blurring or ink spiders (bleeding of ink from the font across the paper). Colour pictures were slightly saturated but still sharp and useable. Changing the media to Canon endorsed photo paper and changing the settings in the print driver panel saw vibrant, lightfast and photo realistic printouts which were nearly as good as the ones obtained in a photo store (though printing at home is a much dearer option when you consider the ink and paper costs).
The only downside is that the printing speed is quite slow. In test, an A4 photo in photo quality too in excess of 2 minutes. Lower print quality settings drastically reduced the overall printing times. I could never attain the pages per minute figures quoted in the manufacturers specifications.
So the multifunction unit worked well in all three test areas. The build may be a bit too plastic and the hinges on the paper exit tray are quite weak however the durability of the unit cannot be questioned. The quality of the scanned images is great for home office use or a small business and the ability to use it as a copier without having your computer turned on is also useful. The additional ports for memory cards and pictbridge were useful though I think that in most circumstances users prefer to edit and enhance their images prior to printing so may not get used that often. Considering the cheap price point and the multifunctional use then it seriously is a good product.
Copyright M Jones (Otalgia) July 2008