This new multifunction Canon Pixma MG4150 from Canon offers printing, scanning and copying, delivered within a smart polished black design. It’s stylishly curved and looks good enough to fit into any living room or home office.
Canon makes much of its new FastFront design. This mainly affects the method of loading in the paper. Inkjets and MFDs traditionally have a stack of paper loaded into a feeder that protrudes from the back of the printer. In the case of the MG4150's FastFront feature, though, the input tray is located at the front of the printer - directly above the output tray.
The main strength of this arrangement is to save space on your desk. However, it also means that paper dropping into the output tray can get mixed up with the blank sheets located directly underneath. And since the output tray is itself rather flimsy and lacks depth, there's little to stop newly printed sheets tumbling into the bottom tray.
We were a little concerned at the durability of the rather brittle output tray. FastFront also means that ink cartridges are replaced from a compartment at the front. However, the cartridge loading mechanism wasn't very easy to use, and we found ourselves having to lift up the printer in order to get a good look at what we were doing.
This isn't a great problem, since the Canon Pixma MG4150 is rather light. But it did rather put the kibosh on the vaunted ease of use of the Canon.
A 3in colour display is built into the front. This is nicely illustrated, with a number of intriguing features.
The system gives you plenty of tools for manipulating photos, making photocopies, and printing out templates (graph or manuscript paper, for example). You can even tap into eco and quiet settings. However, while it's very nice graphically, the MG4150's system isn't quite as easy to use as it might be.
The screen isn't touch-sensitive, but you are presented with a wide range of different buttons. Options on the screen are chosen using the three buttons directly below the TFT. In addition, you also have a multidirectional control pad, along with a variety of different select keys.
Moving between all of these buttons isn't as intuitive as it should be. We felt a simplified control panel might have improved the ease of use.
The Canon's connectivity options are wide-ranging. Besides memory cards, USB, and 802.11b/g/n wireless, the Canon can also link up with Android, iPhone and other portable devices. Even Sony Playstation 3s can be hooked up. And the MG4150 embraces Cloud Computing, letting you access the Canon Image Gateway.
Copying and scanning facilities are good. The Canon's scanning lid is lightweight and probably won't stand up to prolonged use. It is highly adjustable, though, and expanding the scanning component to accommodate large books is very straightforward. Colour reproduction is strong.
Canon Pixma MG4150: performance
On the face of it, the MG4150 isn't the speediest of printers. At its fastest setting, it turns out pages of text at just 8.6 pages per minute. However, even in this basic mode, the quality of the text is quite strong.
The middle mode sees speed fall slightly to 8.1ppm. This figure is very competitive with the competition. Characters are fairly well defined for an inkjet. Even two point font sizes are mostly clear and easy to make out. There's the occasional blurring on some letters. Mostly, though, clarity is good.
The best mode isn't significantly better, and on the whole, the Canon gets nowhere near to laser quality. Nonetheless, for an inkjet the Canon is good.
It also comes with auto duplexing. On fast and standard modes, speed drops to 4.8 and 4.1ppm respectively.
Truthfully, speed isn't quite high enough to make people want to use the auto duplexing. But should you be economising, the option is there.
Colour reproduction is excellent. It turns out adequate speeds - 3.8, 2.5 and 1.4ppm at Fast, Standard and Best modes respectively - and even at its fastest the colour is vibrant and attractive, with only a slightly pale sheen detracting from the overall effect.
In the Standard mode, the level of detail is very strong, and the images are beautifully textured. Use the Canon with photo paper and the results can be stunning.
Running costs are adequate for colour, and the Canon costs around 4.5p for a page of colour. This compares very favourably with the Epson Stylus SX525WD, for example, although it can't compete with the Kodak Hero series.
This Canon is not such good value for black-and-white work – 2.8p is quite expensive for text.