The Canon PIXMA MP990 is Canon's top-of-the-range PIXMA inkjet multifunction printer - refreshed and now armed with integrated wireless and USB flash drive support.
The Canon PIXMA MP990 improves on the previous model, though not enough to warrant an upgrade if you already own the PIXMA MP980.
Those new to Canon's PIXMA range will find plenty to like in the Canon PIXMA MP990. It has an automatic duplexer, direct CD/DVD printing, a 3.8in LCD display and the ability to scan 35mm slides and negatives using bundled attachments.
The Canon PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction connects over USB, Ethernet and 802.11g Wi-Fi; the printer can't use both network interfaces simultaneously, however. Wi-Fi set up is a matter of entering your router's WEP/WPA/WPA2 password or simply pushing a button if your router supports Windows Connect Now (WCN) or Wireless Protected Setup (WPS).
An integrated multi-card reader supports SD, MemoryStick, MemoryStick Duo and CompactFlash for directly printing photos. A front-mounted USB port connects to PictBridge-compatible digital cameras and mobile phones as well as flash drives, though the Canon PIXMA MP990 can only print photos from these devices. The PictBridge port is recessed, which means you won't be able to use large or awkwardly shaped USB flash drives.
Canon's Easy Scroll Wheel - usually a favourite feature of ours - has been slightly redesigned since the Canon PIXMA MP990, and not for the better. The wheel now looks and feels a little less polished, and even stops responding if spun too quickly. While this won't make a difference most of the time, entering long wireless network passwords can be a particularly frustrating process.
Oddly, Canon has built a web-based interface into the Canon PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction - a feature usually reserved for networked laser printers. The interface is only useful for changing and configuring network settings, but the ability to input the Wi-Fi password without the Easy Scroll Wheel is certainly useful.
The Canon PIXMA MP990's speed is marginally better than its predecessor's, though it's not the best printer if you're in a hurry.
Print quality is fantastic overall. Text characters are sharp and accurate across all tested font sizes, while colours are vibrant in document graphics though aren't always solid. Photos suffer no notable colour inaccuracies or aberrations. Like the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II, we achieved deeper blacks in black and white photos when printing with full colour consumables rather than using the greyscale setting.
The Canon PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction uses six consumables, for a reasonable total running cost.
The PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction boasts an impressive scanning resolution of 4800x9600dpi, though this quality option will only be available when using the negative and slide attachments. Scan resolution is capped at 600dpi when initiating a job directly from the control panel, though this is sufficient for documents and most photos.
There isn't much separating the PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction from the much cheaper PIXMA MP640, but if you're looking to preserve analogue negatives and slides, this printer will do that and much more.
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