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Canon Pixma MP560 Review

Updated on November 11, 2010

The amount of features companies like Canon, Epson and Lexmark has been able to pack into inexpensive multifunction printers is nothing short of amazing. The days of dropping $400 on multifunction units have bitten the dust, unless you move up to top-end offerings. One starts to wonder how it is profitable until putting the price of cartridges into account. Operating expenses determine the real cost of owning a printer and yet it is all too often ignored by consumers. Manufacturers prey upon this weakness. In the printing business, the money is in the cartridges.

Canon’s Pixma MP560 is an average performing printer in terms of print quality and colour photo printing speed. However it makes up for it with nifty features like its 2” scroll wheel controlled screen, Wi-Fi capability and cheap running costs. Total cost per page is lower than the Epson PX810FW, Lexmark S605 and HP Photosmart Wireless. Only the Kodak ESP 7 costs less to run. Since its both inexpensive to purchase and maintain, the MP560 is unbeatable in terms of bang for the buck.

Partially due to the fact the MP560 is a missing fax keypad (and functionality), the look is clean and minimalistic. It has a stylish glossy black and matte silver finish and measures 18 inches wide, 14.5 inches deep, and 6 inches tall, which is a modest footprint for a multifunction printer. Those short on desk space should note that in order to print you need to extend the paper tray which will add about four inches to the width.

The controls are revealed when you lift the panel on the far right of the unit. The 2” colour LCD flips up and below it you are greeted by an intuitive scroll wheel in addition to one-touch buttons for basic tasks such as switching applications, setting the number of copies, and start/stop functions.

Just under the display and controls is a smaller door that gives you access to numerous connectivity options. The media card reader supports Memory Stick, xD, SD, MMC, and microSD formats. Canon designers decided to place the PictBridge compatible USB port underneath the compartment, possibly because users have the habit of leaving USB cables dangling from printers when not in use. This way you can keep the door shut when using the USB port.

In terms of print speed the Pixma is middle of the road. Plain black text and full-colour photos speeds are balanced unlike the WorkForce 310 for example which spits out text super-fast but has an exceptionally slow photo speed. Print quality is also average which is to be expected from a printer at this price point. If quality photo prints and top speed is your main concern, have a look at the Lexmark Impact S305. It isn’t quite as sexy but is a better performer.

Copying is typical of what you’d expect from a multifunction printer. You can enlarge original documents up to 400 percent if the need arises. Advanced features include two-sided copying, borderless copying, exact duplication, cropped copying, and 2-on-1 and 4-on-1 photo collages.

The scanner allows you to either send the image to your PC, as an e-mail attachment, Adobe PDF or to open it in a given graphics application. Images can be saved in any major print format: TIFF, JPG, bitmap or PDF. The maximum scanning area is a modest 8.5” x 11”.

There are two ways to connect your computer to the Pixma MP560. You can either go the more traditional route and attach a USB 2.0 cable to your machine or take advantage of the 802.11b/g Wi-Fi capability. Business owners and IT professional may be disappointed by the lack of an Ethernet port for use with a network. It’s not a big surprise since this device is aimed at home office users or one-person businesses.

The most impressive paper-handling feature is the ability to print on both sides of a piece of paper. Auto-duplexers are rare in printers in this price range, and this adds to the thrifty appeal of the MP560. Cutting your paper costs in half without feeding in paper by hand is godsend, especially when you are printing out a lengthy report at the last minute.

Under the hood the Canon has a five cartridge system: cyan, yellow, magenta and black plus an extra black cartridge. One type of black ink is for printing plain text while the other excels at printing half-tone gradients in photos. Another advantage is that this doubles up the supply of black ink as it is always the first colour to run out in more typical four toner systems.

Print Speed Demo

Canon Pixma MP560 Review Verdict

Although it isn’t a top printer in terms of performance, the Pixma MP560 is a frugal person’s dream. It is both cheap to buy at only around $150 street price and inexpensive to keep running. The addition of automatic double-sided printing also allows you to cut paper costs.

The 2” LCD screen is sexy however it probably would have benefit more people if Canon skipped the flash and built a better printing engine into the MP560 with the money saved. Still, at this price it is tough to nitpick without feeling a degree of guilt. This Pixma is a killer bargain.

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      L M Reid 6 years ago from Ireland

      That was a very comprehensive review on the Canon Pixma MP560. Very well written with all the features highlighted