Canon Pixma MG-5250 Wi-Fi all-in-one inkjet printer
Hard copy companion for iOS 4 and Android users
Review Canon has launched so many photo all-in-ones recently that only a handful of people outside Canon seem to be able to tell one from another. One thing I can say, though, is that if you go shopping for the Pixma MG-5250 to print your Christmas pics on, you shouldn’t be disappointed.
Canon's Pixma MG-5250
Sleek, black and with curvy edges, this device combines a photo inkjet printer and CIS scanner in a fairly large but unfussy case. That said, it is in the running for Register Hardware’s Most Easily Broken Plastic Component Award for its rear lean-back input tray. Just flip it up, pull it out, fold it back... and snap it off. Luckily, most photo papers are happy to be loaded in the standard tray which is accessed as a cassette from the front.
A cute little tilting colour LCD window allows you to navigate printer settings. More usefully, it becomes a photo browser when you connect a camera or insert a camera card, operated using a rotating wheel and OK button, like a classic iPod.
The camera card slot supports standard Secure Digital, Memory Stick and Compact Flash, but Canon claims to support a list of other types, such as Micro, Mini and x-D. Note that these are only compatible if you buy appropriate SD or CF adapters (there are none provided).
The LCD panel not only shows settings, but previews images on storage cards
Borderless prints on glossy stock come out beautifully, thanks to the one-picolitre droplets of the printhead, and even matte-finish photo paper produced impressive results. However, be prepared to wait a minute or two for each 6 x 4 print to complete.
Next page: iOS 4 and Android printing
Psst ... Want a Fax/Copier/Printer - no Fax/Copy function. Going cheap!
I have this combo unit in my junk cupboard. Everything was great until the scanner went bad - now it's only a printer.
Buy a laser instead
I can't comment about the pros and cons of this particular printer as opposed to any other inkjet but my general advice is... don't buy an inkjet, buy a colour laser instead! Unless you do a lot of printing, a laser printer is much, MUCH cheaper!!
I probably print no more than about 20 pages a month at home at most. I used to have inkjet printers of various brands but was forever buying new cartridges because they'd dry out, produce stripey printouts, clog up, spurt out tons of ink in pointless "cleaning" cycles, etc.
The typical lifecycle of an inkjet printer was: buy printer (£150), buy new set of cartridges every six months (£50 for a full set), after 2 years throw printer away because it was crap and still produced crap printouts despite brand new full set of cartridges. Repeat. Total cost: £300 every 2 years, and lots of frustration.
Then, 2 years ago I bought a colour laser printer (£250). Still using the original toner cartridges and barely made a dent in the supply levels. I fully expect to still be using that printer in 2 or 3 years time.
Unless you print a lot of full page glossy colour photos or can guarantee to use it regularly enough that you never dry out the ink jets, a laser printer is better in every respect: cheaper, faster, better quality, and the ink doesn't smudge if it gets wet.
How many multi-function machines have you encountered where a function has failed?
My experience is that, like Jack of all trades, multi-functions are as never as accomplished as dedicated, single function, machines. There are always compromises in some function.