All-In-One office printers have slowly been evolving to incorporate new features, better print, scan speed and quality. Canons latest entry is the PIXMA MX850 and it is no different. The MX850 boasts both faster print speed and higher quality color prints.
- 1 picoliter sized ink droplets
- PictBridge capable
- Scanner: 4800 x 9600 dpi, with 48-bit color depth
- 30 page automatic document feeder
- USB 2.0 interface
- Plug into a Network: connect to a home or office network
- Printer: up to 9600 x 2400 color dpi.
- 2 Way Paper feed: Built-in dual paper trays
- High-end faxing: Fax at up to 33.6 Kbps2 in color/B&W
One of my favorite features on modern printers is the ability to connect them to a network. A printer that can be connected to a network is very easy to share with other computers. If the printer has a fax, scanner, or other features, then those can also be shared. The MX850 has the ability to connect to a network and share all the features with any computer that is also connected to the network.
The scanner is fairly standard and provides scan resolutions of 4800 x 9600 dpi optical and 19,200 x 19,200 dpi interpolated. The output for each scan is 48-bit internal/24-bit external. The maximum document size that can be scanned is 8.5″ x 11.7″. The automatic document feeder (ADF) can be used to make scanning easier by letting you load 35 pages to scan and then walk away and come back when it is finished.
The MX850 uses only five ink cartridges, the colors are: cyan, magenta, yellow, dye-based black and a pigment-based black. The dye-based black is used for mixing with the other colors so the printer can make new colors. Without this color the printer would have a much harder time printing photos and other highly colored documents. In addition, the MX850 has 1 picoliter sized ink droplets which means the images it prints will have very fine detail.
The cost of photos remains about the same. The pigment-based black cartridge costs $17.25 and the other cartridges are $14.99. One good thing is that the MX850 comes with full ink cartridges, which means you won’t have to buy new cartridges anytime soon. A light mounted on the front of each cartridge slot tells you when your cartridge is low or empty.
The fax uses a built-in 33.6 Kbps (Super G3 color fax) modem. Even though it is not the fastest modem you will probably not max it out because most public telephone lines are limited to 28.8 Kbps or lower, depending on telephone line conditions. With this modem the MX850 can transmit in Color and Black and White. It takes about 3 seconds per page to send a Black and White page and about 1 minute per page for color documents. If you are sending a color pages make sure the other end also has a color fax, otherwise you are wasting your time. With the included internal memory the fax can store 100 speed-dial codes, and can store 250 pages for transmission or receiving.
The copier offers a lot of useful features. It is able to copy in color and in black and white. Color is copied at about 2.5 seconds per page and Black and White is copied about 1.9 seconds per page. There are also many other features that you can use when you copy like: 4-in-1 / 2-in-1 Copy, Auto Duplex Copy, Fit-to-Page, Multiple Copy: 1-99 pages , Preset Copy Ratios and Sort. The copier also allows you to reduce and enlarge from 25% to 400%.
The MX850 is very large and heavy. With dimensions of 20.0″ (W) x 19.0″ (D) x 10.2″ (H) and a weight of 30.7 lbs it is one of the largest and heaviest Canon printers.
The front of the MX850 is where you will find the controls, paper output, memory card slots, and a PictBridge connection. The controls consist of about 45 buttons which control every aspect of the printer and a small color display. Fourteen of those buttons are set aside for the Fax functionality. You have 12 for dialing numbers just like on a phone, a redial/pause, and coded dial button. The buttons to the left of the fax buttons are for accessing the menus. The buttons to the right of the fax buttons are for manually starting the copier or fax, there is a button for color and another for black and white copies and faxes. On the far left there are several buttons that determine what mode the printer is in. This mode determines what it does when you press buttons and access menus. For example, if you are in fax mode, then when you press the start button the MX850 starts sending a fax. Also, if you want a fax to be printed immediately when it is received you need to be in fax mode, otherwise it will be stored in memory. You can print and scan from your computer no matter what mode it is in. Below the mode buttons is another number pad. This one is used for setting up speed dials. This is really redundant because the buttons that are for the fax could also be used for the speed dials. The last button which is on the top left is the power button. There is nothing fancy here, it just turns the printer on and off.
Below the control panel is the paper output tray, PictBridge connection, memory card slots, and the main paper input. When printing, the paper output tray opens up automatically which is convenient if you forget to open it yourself. The memory card slots are to the right of the paper output tray. The memory card slots consist of a CF and SD slot. With these two slots you can use up to 13 different card types. The PictBridge connection is right under the memory card area. It is standard, just plug in your camera or just about any other USB device and choose print. Under the paper output tray is the paper input cartridge. It slides all the way out for easy paper loading and can be adjusted to hold many different sizes of paper. You can load your plain paper in here and leave the rear paper tray in the back for your custom paper. Use the feed switch button on the control panel to choose where you want the paper to come from. You can also use the printer settings on your computer to override the feed switch. Both the paper input tray and the rear paper tray can hold about 150 sheets of paper.
On the top is the Automatic Document Feeder. This will hold up to 35 pages at a time and can be used for the Fax, Scanner and Copier. Behind that is the manual paper loading tray. It is enclosed with a nice cover that when opened, the cover functions as the paper guide.
On the back is the rear cover. This is a section that opens so you can clear jammed paper. On the right side of the back is the USB, Ethernet, and the phone line connection, and on the left is the power plug.
When you first open the box you will notice that you will need to install some things. The main things to install are the print cartridges, and the cartridge holder. There are clear instructions on how to do this, but it is not in the manual, instead Canon put it on a separate piece of paper. I highly recommend that you pay attention to this paper and follow it closely. Once you have the ink installed you are ready to go. You don’t even need a computer to begin using the fax and copier functionality. If you want to scan and print you will first need to install the software and plug it into a computer.
You have two options for connecting the printer to your computers. The easiest way to connect the printer is to use the USB connection. However, this limits you to only one computer using the printer, but if you only have one computer then this is not a problem. If you have more than one computer then you will want to connect the MX850 to a network. To setup the network you first have to connect the printer to a computer with the USB. When you run the installer it will update the printer with the network connection information. When it is done you can disconnect the USB and use just an Ethernet cable.
There is one extremely annoying thing with the driver install. When the drivers are finished installing a dialog appears that asks if you want to restart the computer to finish the install; however, there is only a yes button and if you click the x it restarts the computer anyways. Why bother asking if you don’t give a choice, and why does a computer need to restart just to install printer drivers? Hopefully you are able to save and close all your documents before you are forced to restart.
Printing to the printer is as easy as just pushing the print button from your favorite program, but buried in many menus are a lot of configurations that will allow you to set the print quality, paper type and even do double sided printing. On a printer like this, double sided printing is a very nice feature. It is not a clearly marked feature, but you can find it if you look under the printer properties on the page setup tab — it is called Duplex Printing. If you don’t know what duplex means, then this will really confuse you because that same section talks about stapling. This printer does not include a stapler, but instead will leave a margin so that you can staple the pages later. For some reason, I don’t know why, Canon thought it would make sense to put duplex printing and stapling together. I would have preferred a simple check box that said Double Sided printing. Once you have it set up, double-sided printing works great.
Scanning is something you can do from the computer or from the printer. Either way it will need to be connected to a computer or else it won’t have anywhere to send the scan. You will also need to be running a program that can accept a scanned document or image. Luckily, the Canon MX850 ships with one such program, the Presto! PageManager. The quality of the scan is really good, as you can see from the following images.
Faxing is one of the tasks that you can do without the aid of a computer; because of this, it is important for it to be easy. Faxing a document is only as difficult as dialing a phone number and making sure your paper is in the ADF with the text facing up. Because there is not a duplexer on the ADF, you can only send single-sided documents. If you have a double-sided document you will have to copy one of the sides onto another page and then fax it as two single-sided documents. I really had no problems setting it up. I was even able to set up the fax to only pick up on a double ring, a double ring is a distinctive ring my phone company set up to indicate a fax was coming.
Copying, like faxing, is also something you can do without the need of a computer. Like faxing, you can only copy single-sided documents, but you can copy two single-sided documents onto one double-sided page. There are also many other options like reducing or enlarging your copy.
Overall the printing, scanning, and copying was good quality and fast. I printed off several pictures that I had and I could definitely tell that they were less quality than a store picture. Printing speeds were fairly fast. The MX850 was able to print 5 Black and White pages in about 1 minute and 25 seconds. Color printing was a bit slower, it took 1 minute and 40 seconds to print 5 color pages. During the printing of both black and white and color pages the MX850 paused several times for about 10 seconds each time. I can only guess that it was buffering the rest of the print job, never the less it was annoying to have the printer just stop out of the blue.
Printing photos was decent at about 1 photo every 50 seconds, but I would not recommend this printer for photos because the quality is not very good. As you can see below the second photo is from the MX850 and it is really grainy. The first photo is from the Epson Artisan 700 and it looks much better.
Scanning was fast with both color and black and white, both had a speed of about 12 pages per minute. Copying was quite a bit slower than scanning, but that is because it has to print what is scanned. The MX850 was able to copy about 3 1/2 pages per minute in black and white. Quality was excellent in all the tests, except the text. The text was quite a bit less than perfect. As you can see, the HP5L laser printer was the best.
Canon provides a one-year limited warranty for the Pixma MX850, as well as a year of free, toll-free phone support Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. You can also get tech support via e-mail, and Canon says it will respond within 24 hours. Canon’s site has FAQs, a troubleshooting tool, downloadable drivers and software, and PDFs of product and software manuals.
If you have more than one computer and you are looking for a new All-In-One office printer, then I think this one would be great. Because this is not a photo printer I won’t complain that the photos were not very good, but I will say that I was disappointed in the speed of the document printing. As I mentioned above, the printer would stop printing about every 3 pages, my assumption is so that it could fill up its memory. This process of stopping really caused the printing to take a long time. Either Canon needs to use faster internal memory or they need to fix this in there software. There is no excuse for long delays during printing. A decent printer should be able to keep up with any printing task. I can only hope that in the future Canon will work to fix this problem and the others that I mentioned. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|