Canon PIXMA MP495
Arriving as the replacement for its MP490 model, Canon is now offering users the PIXMA MP495. Like its predecessor, the MP495 brings together print, scan and copy facilities within a single inkjet unit. In addition the MP495 features wireless connectivity as standard but this does come at a cost with regards to other types of functionality. Canon has taken the decision to remove any support for memory cards and PictBridge. I feel that this omission could well disappoint many users.
Apart from the removal of memory card and PictBridge slots, Canon has opted to stick with the same design concept used by the MP490 with the A4 flatbed scanner being mounted on top of the inkjet printer unit. The rounded corners remain the same, as does the black reflective sheen which does suffer from the usual finger smear affliction. The unit’s dimensions of 450 x 335 x 155mm are identical while the product’s weight shows a slight increase to 5.6kg. Connection sockets for mains power and USB connectivity are kept out-of-sight at the rear of the unit.
The MP495’s paper path is from the rear of the unit to the drop-down front opening which forms the paper output tray. You can load up to 100 sheets in the paper input tray. The various controls for this All-in-One product are arranged on a panel situated alongside the scanner unit’s lid. A small LCD window provides feedback as to the number of copies required (this shows the numbers 1 to 9 followed by an “F”) and status symbols – you might need to check out the electronic version of the User Manual to sort out the meaning of these symbols. There is the usual on/off button along with scan, colour and black selection button plus an ink level warning light and the option to cycle through A4 Plain, A4 Photo and 10 x 15cm Photo types of paper.
Setting up the unit is only complicated by the numerous pieces of tape that you need to remove. Two cartridges (pigment black and dye-based colour) are provided. These are initially stored in the paper output compartment and need to be inserted into the bowels of the printer. Surprisingly I was not offered the opportunity to run a test print by default.
Before connecting the MP495 to the computer system either wirelessly or via the supplied USB cable, you will need to install the software provided on the accompanying CD. You can decide whether to take the Easy or Custom route with the latter allowing you to cherry-pick from the available utilities and select the destination folder. Including among the supplied software are drivers, MP Navigator Ex, Solution Menu, Easy-WebPrint, on-screen manual and Easy-PhotoPrint.
At the appropriate stage you will be advised when to make the connection and turn on the MP495. Initially feedback is provided as to the progress of the installation but once the connection is made you are then left in the dark as to how things are progressing. In fact you might think the process had crashed but by showing a little patience you eventually move on to the completion screen and are ready to proceed.
The unit’s A4 flatbed scanner comes with TWAIN / WIA drivers. It has a maximum scanning size of 216 x 297mm. Optical resolution is 1200 x 2400dpi increasing to 19200 x 19200dpi interpolated.
Using Canon’s FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Engineering) technology designed to deliver virtually grain-free photo-lab quality prints with a 2pl drop size, the MP495 offers Standard and Business print qualities rather than the usual array of Fast and High modes you normally get. Printing my usual 102-word monochrome text document produced 14 pages per minute in either mode with no discernable difference in print quality. Repeating the test with coloured text and a full-coloured image produced 6.25 pages per minute with both settings; again no discernable difference was noted in the print quality.
Switching to photographic printing brought the supplied Easy-PhotoPrint utility into play. With this software you can select the images to be printed, choose from different paper types and sizes plus select from various page layouts. Tests were run printing a single image and four images on matte and glossy A4 photo paper in borderless mode. Prints were produced in 107 seconds with image quality being preferable when glossy paper was used. Repeating the process with 10 x 15cm photo paper resulted in images being produced in 56 seconds. Finally using the MP495’s copy facility of scanning and printing a document took 40 seconds for coloured output and 15 seconds for monochrome printing.
As with the general appearance of this All-in-One device, the price remains the same at £79. Black cartridges are priced at £14.99 (220-page capacity) with colour costing £19.99 (244-page capacity). Print quality, whether involving text or images, is of a reasonable standard with print speeds that should not keep you waiting too long. While the wireless connectivity is a useful addition, I feel the lack of memory card and PictBridge support could put off some possible purchasers.
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