At just £59 the Canon Pixma MP280 colour inkjet multifunction printer (print/copy/scan) is priced to tempt budget-minded users.
Available in September 2010, the Canon Pixma MP280 offers impressive output quality, but its minimal features and higher-than-average ink costs mean that only low-volume users need apply.
The Canon Pixma MP280's speed is middling. On a Windows PC, plain-text pages averaged 5.6 pages per minute, and photos came out at 1.5 ppm. Its text speed was identical on a Mac, but the higher-resolution photo we used in that test understandably took longer. Scanning and copying were slower than average.
Where the Canon Pixma MP280 really shines is in the quality of its output. At default settings on plain paper, text looked nicely black and very smooth, but photos appeared too orangey; the effect disappeared when we switched to Canon's own photo paper. Colour copies were precise and vivid.
There's no doubt that the Canon Pixma MP280 is designed for low-volume use. It has neither an automatic document feeder for the scanner nor automatic duplexing for the printer, and it sports only a single 100-sheet, vertical paper feed in the rear. Though it comes with manual duplex help for PC users, Mac users get nothing. The software is the same capable printing/scanning/editing bundle you get with Canon's more-expensive units. The control panel's buttons are labelled, but the bulk of communication relies too heavily on a single-digit LED and a small array of indicator lights; their codes and flashing are impossible to understand unless you consult the on-screen manual.
The standard-size, 220-page black costs £14.99, or 7p per page. The 224-page, tri-chamber colour cartridge costs £19.99 or 9p per page. The high-yield inks offer little relief. A low-volume user might be able to tolerate such costs.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>