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.
iOS 4 and Android printing
Plug in your camera and you can use the LCD window to choose movie stills to print out. If you’ve been shooting in HD, the results are pretty good. Note, however, that this feature is only available using Canon cameras. Boo!
Despite the rates as 2400 ppi, the scanning software seems unable to go beyond 600 ppi
Plain paper printouts from Office applications and web pages take around 15 seconds, or 25 seconds from sleep mode. This printer also lets you print double-sided (duplex) as standard, if you don’t mind waiting a minute for each complete sheet. A single-sided photocopy, using the scanner underneath the thin black lid on top of the unit, takes 25 seconds.
Copying aside, the flatbed scanner is nothing to get excited about. The official spec rates it for 2400ppi optical scanning, but the bundled software (Canon MP Navigator EX) insists on a maximum of 600 ppi. This is fine for same-size whole-photo scanning but unhelpful when trying to scan and enlarge small regions.
Not the smallest but packs away neatly enough
Sensibly, Canon has built Wi-Fi into the unit as standard. Better still for gadget fans, the company has developed a free iPhone and iPad app  called Canon Easy-PhotoPrint that lets you print over Wi-Fi. Just be aware that you can only print photos, not documents from Pages and the like. Canon also produces an Android version of Canon Easy-PhotoPrint  for phones and tablets.
As well as conventional printing, scanning and copying, the Pixma MG-5250 can print colour labels onto Direct Disc CD/DVD media. This is the kind of feature that is a massive waste of time in the office, but surprisingly silly fun at home. Canon wants you to have silly fun!
NSFW? Rather than an office job, disc printing is best suited to domestic decadence
Discounted by up to £40 in some places, this is a cracking family all-in-one for the price, and the ink cartridges are affordable at under £25 for a complete set of five. However, you’ll empty several sets of ink cartridges long before the dispatch of festive snaps is over. ®
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