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Canon PIXMA MP495 Multifunction Printer

Canon PIXMA MP495

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Some, like the Lexmark S405 and Epson BX305FW add functionality for the home or small office, including direct fax facilities complete with an ADF (Auto Document Feeder).

But what if you just want a straightforward Wi-Fi printer/scanner that you can use from all over, without all the extra bells and whistles? The new Canon MP495 might be just what you’re looking for.

Considering its asking price of just £60, the Canon MP495 has a decent specifications list. A 4800dpi print engine running on Canon’s latest ChromaLife100+ pigment and dye-based inks is coupled with a 2400dpi scanner to enable one-touch mono or colour photocopying, as well as printing or scanning from anywhere around the home thanks to Wi-Fi connectivity. But look a little closer and you’ll spot a few omissions.

Unlike practically every all-in-one printer on the market, the MP495 has no LCD screen, not even a basic mono text display. All you get is a few LED indicator lamps and a single-digit numerical display for setting photocopy quantities between 1 and 9.

With a distinctly limited set of onboard controls, you also have to connect the printer to a PC to enable Wi-Fi set-up and configuration, and there’s no PictBridge port or any media card slots, so direct printing from cameras or memory cards is out of the question.

Another potential drawback is that, while even tri-colour cartridge stalwarts like HP and Lexmark have moved to individually replaceable ink cartridges in recent models like the HP Photosmart Plus and Lexmark S405, Canon has kitted out the MP495 with a black pigment-based ink cartridge and a tri-colour dye-based cyan, magenta and yellow cartridge.

In normal use, if you use each of the colours in fairly equal quantity, running costs aren’t all that steep at 3.5p per mono page and 8.2p for colour (using the optional high yield cartridges) but if you print a lot of one particular colour, costs can be significantly higher.

Print speeds proved pretty average in our tests at 15 seconds for a mono text page and 23 seconds for a mixed text and colour graphics DTP page.

Standard quality photo output actually proved 15 seconds quicker than with the more up-market Canon MG5150, at one and a half minutes for a borderless 6 x 4-inch photo.

Photo quality itself, however, is relatively poor, with a lack of contrast and depth, although colour rendition is reasonably accurate for a four-ink printer.

Canon PIXMA MP495: Verdict

As a bare-bones Wi-Fi all-in-one printer the MP495 is just about adequate, although what you save in the reduced purchase price you may well end up losing in higher running costs, thanks to the absence of individually replaceable colour cartridges. It’s some of the other omissions, however, that are more telling.

We liked

The MP495 is very compact for an all-in-one printer and the inexpensive purchase price is refreshing if you only need a very basic set of features. Wi-Fi compatibility is a nice addition on a printer at this price and print speeds aren’t too sluggish.

We disliked

The absence of a colour or even mono menu screen makes onboard control quite limited, and there’s no possibility of printing direct from memory cards or a PictBridge camera because the MP495 lacks media card slots as well as a PictBridge port.

Canon’s usual feature of dual paper input trays is also lacking, leaving only a single rear-mounted feed tray. You can’t print onto CDs or DVDs either.

Wi-Fi set-up is a bit long-winded and has to be done through a connected computer, rather than on the printer itself, again due to the lack of onboard controls or a menu screen. Photo quality is also a little shabby, with poor contrast and depth.

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Pros

  • Dual cartridge system makes for simpler stocking of replacements
  • Very compact and fairly quiet in operation
  • Simple to use in both standalone and computer-connected or Wi-Fi print modes
  • All-black finish looks quite sleek

Cons

  • No PictBridge port or card reader slots for direct printing
  • No LCD menu screen for advanced standalone print settings
  • Running costs with dual cartridge system can be expensive
  • Wi-Fi set-up can only be carried out via a connected computer rather than on the printer itself
  • Photo quality isn't up to Canon's typically high standards

Verdict

Considering that the street price of the MP495 is only £15 less than
the MG5150, it’s a far inferior printer, even if the latter does lack
Wi-Fi connectivity.

Most of the refinements that make Canon’s
models so popular, such as the five-ink print system, dual input trays
and excellent photo quality output, are all lacking.

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