The Canon Pixma MP510 is a general-purpose all-in-one that prints high-quality photos at an affordable price.

Canon's Pixma MP510 is an affordable combination of printer, scanner, and media card reader. The Canon Pixma MP510 lacks the frills that come with many multifunction printers, such as film scanning and faxing, but you can get the basics done quickly and with a minimum of fuss.

A flap to the right of the Canon Pixma MP510 folds up to reveal the control panel. The 1.9in colour LCD is smaller than that of many competing models. The Canon Pixma MP510 also lacks the iPod-like Easy-Scroll Wheel that Canon is introducing with most of its latest printers, including the Canon MP600 (reviewed here) and MP960 models.

The Canon Pixma MP510's in-printer editing functions are limited to automatic photo optimisation and face-brightening options, which don't require the larger screens and fancier controls of its pricier siblings. If you expect to work mostly from your PC, then the LCD size and controls are largely irrelevant.

The two media slots, which sit behind a door on the Canon Pixma MP510's front panel, accept most types of digital camera memory cards, but you'll need a third-party adaptor to read xD-Picture, Memory Stick Duo, and Mini SD Card formats. The PictBridge port, for printing directly from compatible cameras, is hidden beneath the media-slot door in the recessed base of the unit, making it a little difficult to access.

Unlike several rival MFPs and many photo printers, the Canon Pixma MP510 doesn't let you read images from a USB flash drive attached to its PictBridge port. However, you can attach an optional Bluetooth adaptor to print from suitably equipped cameraphones and PDAs. The Canon Pixma MP510 also sports an infrared port that lets you beam images from many mobile phones.

The Canon Pixma MP510 lacks an automatic document feeder, so you must scan each sheet (up to letter-size paper) one at a time from the platen glass. Two separate 150-sheet trays hold paper for printing: a cassette in the base and an upright feeder at the rear, which is convenient for swapping among different sizes of photo paper. Each of the printer's four ink cartridges incorporates a red LED that flashes when the ink runs low. The device uses a pigment-based black ink to produce darker text on plain paper.

In our lab tests, text looked dark and solid, although the characters' edges could have been crisper. Line art was sharp, but we saw wide banding across the page and diagonal interference patterns in blocks of closely spaced lines. On plain paper, graphics appeared grainy with overly bright colors and posterized blacks. However, the Canon Pixma MP510 printed superb-looking photos on Canon's Photo Paper Pro; they looked very sharp, with bright colours and plenty of shadow detail, though skin tones seemed a little too orange. Scans and copies scored well across the board for a multifunction device in this price range, with no notably strong or weak points.

Against the clock, the Canon Pixma MP510 showed solid performance. On plain paper, it printed slightly above average at 8.2 pages per minute for text and 3.3 ppm for graphics. It printed our test photo on letter-size photo paper in a commendable 40 seconds. The MP510 scans quickly, completing our test scan of a 4-by-5in photo at 100 dots per inch in only 7.1 seconds. Its 5.0-ppm average copy speed is among the fastest showings we've seen for an inkjet MFP.

Canon Pixma MP510: Specs

  • Photo lab quality: max. 4800x1200dpi
  • economical single ink system
  • print a 10x15cm borderless photo in around 47 seconds
  • 4.7cm colour LCD screen
  • direct photo printing: PictBridge, memory cards, mobile phones
  • two paper trays
  • 1200x2400dpi scanner
  • Photo lab quality: max. 4800x1200dpi
  • economical single ink system
  • print a 10x15cm borderless photo in around 47 seconds
  • 4.7cm colour LCD screen
  • direct photo printing: PictBridge, memory cards, mobile phones
  • two paper trays
  • 1200x2400dpi scanner

OUR VERDICT

The Canon Pixma MP510 makes an excellent choice if you're looking for a straightforward printer/scanner combo capable of printing good-looking photos, though its colour LCD could be bigger.

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