Canon Maxify MB2050 review

Canon Maxify MB2050 review

Improvements in speed, quality and running costs mean that inkjet printers can now provide real competition for laser printers in the business market, and Canon is the latest manufacturer to introduce a new range of inkjet printers aimed at business users. Here's our Canon Maxify MB2050 review.

The Maxify range is designed for smaller businesses and people who work from home, and prices start at just £159. It’s not quite as compact as Canon claims, as it measures a rather chunky 260mm high, 463mm wide and 459mm deep, so it will need a small table or desk devoted to it. However, it performs well for the price, and crams in most of the features that small businesses users are likely to need. (See also: Best multifunction printers you can buy in 2014)

As well as 1200x600dpi printing, the MB2050 includes a 1200x1200dpi scanner and copier, and 300x300dpi fax machine. The paper input tray holds 250 sheets of paper, and the printer’s duty cycle is rated at 1,000 pages a month, which should be more than adequate for most small businesses. There’s a 50-sheet document feeder, automatic duplex printing, and both USB and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The MB2050 supports Apple’s AirPrint for printing from iOS devices such as the iPhone or iPad, along with Google CloudPrint, and Canon’s own ‘scan to cloud’ option, which allows you to scan documents and upload them directly to cloud services such as Dropbox or Evernote. The only thing missing here is an Ethernet interface for wired networks, but there is another model called the MB2350 that provides Ethernet, along with higher printing speeds and 500-sheet paper tray for just another £30.

Canon rates the MB2050 at 16 pages per minute for mono printing and 11ppm for colour. Our tests actually produced figures of 14ppm when printing simple text documents with Microsoft Word, and a more modest 8ppm with PDF files that contained text and colour graphics. Even so, those figures are still quite respectable for a printer in this price range, and the MB2050 seems like a good choice for people who work at home or in a small office.

Print quality is very good too, with sharp black text that genuinely rivals laser quality. It can even produce good photo output, even though the MB2050 only uses the four standard CMYK inks – cyan, magenta, yellow and black – rather than the five or six inks that Canon employs in some of its specialist photo printers.

A full A4-size photo took just 18 seconds to print on plain paper, and showed no signs of the banding and striping that often afflicts inkjet printers. The colours were rather dark, though, so we also printed the same image using more expensive glossy photo paper. The results here were extremely good, with much more vivid colours and lighter skin tones. The print time increased to a full two minutes when using glossy paper, but that’s not unusually slow and the MB2050 can certainly be used to print product photos, fliers and marketing brochures from time to time.

The ‘starter’ cartridges provided with the MB2050 last for only 400 pages for mono printing, or 300 pages for colour, and after that you’ll need to buy replacements. Canon’s XL cartridges provide 1,200 mono pages or 900 pages for colour, but you can’t buy them directly from Canon and online prices seem to vary enormously. The lowest prices we could find put all four cartridges at £14 each, which comes to 1.2p per page for mono and 4.6p for colour. Those are good prices, but we also saw the same cartridges selling for more than twice as much on some sites, so you really do need to shop around.

Canon Maxify MB2050: Specs

  • Four-colour (CMYK) A4 inkjet printer
  • 1200x600dpi print resolution
  • 1200x1200dpi scanner
  • 300x300dpi fax
  • rated speed – 16/11ppm for mono/colour
  • 1x USB interface
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • 250-sheet input tray
  • dimensions – 463x459x260mm
  • weight – 10.7kg
  • Four-colour (CMYK) A4 inkjet printer
  • 1200x600dpi print resolution
  • 1200x1200dpi scanner
  • 300x300dpi fax
  • rated speed – 16/11ppm for mono/colour
  • 1x USB interface
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • 250-sheet input tray
  • dimensions – 463x459x260mm
  • weight – 10.7kg

OUR VERDICT

The monolithic appearance of the MB2050 isn’t going to win any awards for elegant design, but it does provide a good, affordable workhorse printer for small businesses and home workers. The lack of Ethernet interface may deter some potential users, but its speed, quality and running costs will appeal to many people – just as long as you make the effort to shop around for good prices on those replacement ink cartridges.

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