Potentially a stunning deal for its meagre £56 price tag, the appeal of the Pixma MP180 will depend on whether you want it for graphics or for office work.
Strangely, it's rather better suited to the office. We say strangely, because the MP180 comes kitted out with all the features sought out by budding photo enthusiasts. The now ubiquitous PictBridge port is included, as is a full flash memory drive. And the Canon's funky styling makes it seem more suitable for home users.
The specifications are nothing sensational, although they're still very decent, considering the price – after all, the device prints, scans and copies. The print resolution of 4,800x1,200 and optical 1,200x2,400 compare well with the likes of the HP PhotoSmart C3180 and PSC 1610, while the optical scanning facilities are also competitive.
Fire some text through the Pixma, and it passes the tests with flying colours. You won't want to bother with the fastest mode and its faint output, but you can get excellent results by bumping up the resolution a touch. Indeed, the Canon generated sharp, clean text at a decent 6.6ppm (pages per minute) – at a similar speed, the PhotoSmart 3180's output was more blurred and less well-defined.
Colour graphics, however, are another matter. Speed was competitive, but the Pixma struggled to inject real vibrancy into the prints. While the HP's output was vivid and eyecatching, the Pixma's bordered on the dull. And while the print mechanism worked fine on text, colour printing tended to make the paper curl.
Scanning facilities were competitive with the HP, even if the colour wasn't as plush. However, scan times were decent, and Canon's software is extremely intuitive.