The Canon Pixma MX700 colour inkjet multifunction printer offers strong overall performance for a comfortably midrange price.

While no single multifunction unit could satisfy everyone - we dislike certain aspects of this model's print quality and design, for instance - the Canon Pixma MX700 deserves credit for its balanced mix of features.

One of the faster units we've tested to date, the Canon Pixma MX700 pushed out text pages at a rate of 9.1 pages per minute (ppm); graphics pages averaged a swift 3.2ppm overall.

Text looks nicely black. A slight unevenness to the edges makes closely spaced fonts look mushy, though. colour images have an orange cast. On plain paper, this helps enliven the palette; on photo paper, it can be overpowering, especially with flesh tones. Copy samples we made were quite crisp, while the Canon Pixma MX700's scan samples were reasonably (if not perfectly) accurate for colour and precision. Cost per page is low.

The Canon Pixma MX700's design includes a clearly labelled front control panel with a mostly intuitive layout. Buttons for primary functions adjust what's shown on the small (1.8in), tiltable colour LCD, whose menus are navigable using the adjacent arrow buttons.

The automatic document feeder, which unfolds from the Canon Pixma MX700's top, takes a generous 30 sheets of paper. Its media slots take most card types; you'll need a third-party adaptor to add xD media.

The dual 150-sheet input trays are a nice bonus. The rear, vertical input takes all accepted media sizes. Use the Canon Pixma MX700's control panel's toggle button or the printer driver to choose between it and the front input, which takes just letter, A4, and B5. But this front tray is literally overshadowed by the two-part output tray, which guides paper over the front input tray, concealing it entirely.

That's more going on in a small space than we'd like.

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