Canon PIXMA MP280
Decked out in the familiar livery of matt and reflective black, the Canon PIXMA MP280 is another model in the company’s range of multifunction devices. Currently this product is taking on the role of the company’s budget entry model. Box-shaped with rounded corners, the two-tone colour arrangement is such that the reflective black elements are panels running along the sides of the unit where they should not come into contact too much with fingers that leave behind unsightly smears.
With dimensions of 450 x 335 x 153mm (W x D x H), the MP280 requires a reasonable, but not too demanding, amount of work space. You do need to make allowances for the flip-back paper input support tray, which can hold up to 100 sheets, and the drop-down output flap which opens automatically if you forget to carry out the task prior to starting a print run. Both the mains power socket and USB port are conveniently positioned on either side of the unit for easy access.
Setting up this model is straightforward once you have located and removed the numerous pieces of sticking tape that adorn it in its pristine state. Two inkjet cartridges (pigment ink for black text and tri-colour dye ink for brighter colours when printing photos) need to be inserted in the appropriate holder located inside the printer unit. Before connecting the MP280 to your computer, whether Windows or Mac based, you will need to install the supplied software.
You will be given the choice of an Easy or Custom install with the latter giving you the opportunity to select from items that include drivers, Navigator EX, Solution Menu EX, On-Screen Manual, Easy-WebPrint EX and Easy PhotoPrint EX plus select the destination drive and folder. The installation process is not particularly quick but you are kept updated regarding its progress. At the appropriate stage you will be advised when to connect the MP280 via USB.
The A4 flatbed scanner, positioned on top of the printer unit, gives you a scanning area of 216 x 297mm. Guide marks are provided to help with the placing of different document sizes. The scanner lid can be raised a little when scanning from thick books. Delivering 48-bit colour, the scanner has an optical resolution of 1200 x 2400 dpi which can be increased to 19200 x 19200 dpi interpolated. When scanning to applications on a computer you have the choice of TWAIN or WIA interface.
Positioned alongside the scanner is the unit’s control panel. A small LCD window displays the number of copies to be produced. As with other PIXMA models, this window shows the numbers 1 to 9 and then displays the letter “F”. Buttons are available to cycle through A4 Plain, A4 Photo and 10 x 15cm Photo. You can also select a Fit to Page option and choose either monochrome or colour output.
Although Canon rates its print speeds using the ISO/IEC 24734 and 24735 measurement tests to give a more realistic real-world rating for its model, I have run tests based on my standard 102-word document using the three different quality modes supported by the Canon print driver. The results can be seen in the table below.
|Colour with image||10ppm||6.25ppm||2.25ppm|
Although you would not want to use Fast mode for important documents, the print quality would be fine for editing purposes. Standard mode could be used for many tasks while High Quality could be reserved for really important correspondence.
Earlier I mentioned that this PIXMA multifunction device makes use of tri-colour dye ink for printing photos. Putting this ink to the test I printed out images on 10 x 15cm and A4 photo paper using the supplied Easy-PhotoPrint EX software giving full borderless images. A 10 x 15cm image was printed in 41 seconds and the A4 image required 2 minutes 31 seconds. I was more than happy with the print quality of both images.
The PIMXA MP280 is attractively priced at £59.00 which should appeal initially to those on a limited budget. However you do need to be aware that replacement ink cartridges could soon cause a drain on your available cash resources. A black cartridge will cost you £14.99 (220-pages) while the tri-colour cartridge is listed at £19.99 (224 pages). If you are just looking for a multifunction unit for light work then this PIXMA MP280 will surely fit the bill.
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