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Epson Stylus NX430 Small-in-One All-in-One Printer
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If your expenses demand you spend no more than $70 on a printer, the Canon Pixma MG2220 is a worthwhile option, as long as you're comfortable with its limitations. At this price, don't expect to see convenient features like an auto document feeder, wireless access, or even a full one-year warranty. But Canon doesn't skimp on its core competency; this device serves up excellent copying, scanning, and photo quality output that can produce snapshots on par or even better than the prints you'd get at a pay-per-photo kiosk. The company also generously provides the same software suite it bundles with its pricier models, including My Image Garden for photo organization and scrapbooking and Full HD Movie Print for pullingl HD photos out of compatible Canon digital camcorders. Boasting an impressive list of features and performance scores to boot, the $69.99 Canon Pixma MG2220 is a great option for students and households on a fixed budget.
Canon keeps the hardware costs down by not giving the Pixma MG2220 an elaborate LCD screen, instead opting for a simple two-line readout that displays basic information like the number of duplicates you want from the copier. The rest of the control panel is equally svelte and includes single-function buttons for selecting media sizes, fit-to-page toggle, and black and color scanning options. One thing to note about the cockpit is that you need to look directly down onto it, so you'll need to situate it lower than eye level for best visibility and access. Still, in a worst-case scenario, you can always access all of the same shortcut features through the virtual options on the driver.
The MG2220 is in the first batch of Canon photo printers to use a new method for loading ink cartridges. The company calls it "FastFront," and it lets you simply pull down a door behind the 100-sheet paper tray to expose the inks. The new method makes cartridge replacement easier, and you don't have to lift up the scanner lid to replace them. The minimal two-ink cartridge system inside means this device isn't ideal for printing batch photos because of its limited color output. You'll see in the Performance section of this review that the Pixma MG3220 still served up decent-quality snapshot pictures, but it's not their quality that should concern you -- high-frequency photo prints on the "Best" quality setting put you at risk of spending more money in the long term on cartridge refills than on the hardware itself.
The package includes a driver CD with all the installation files you need to customize your prints. Within those settings, you can choose among commonly used templates like standard, business, paper saving, and photo printing that adjust the type of media, paper size, and source. Additionally, the driver software lets you adjust for borderless printing, vivid photos, grayscale prints, and even manual color intensities by numeral increments. It also features a pop-up print status monitor that shows the current job, document name, device owner, status, and a graphical representation of the ink cartridge levels. Conveniently, this pop-up automatically disappears once the job in the queue is finished printing, but I prefer status monitors that show the page number and progress of a print.
The copy functions on the printer are relatively standard for a multifunction: you can make up to 99 copies at once and easily adjust the contrast and magnification of a document from 25 to 400 percent, all directly through the settings on the driver menus. You also have several choices in terms of where to send a scanned document, such as directly to a PC as a JPEG/TIFF/BMP, or as a PDF file, or you can attach it to an e-mail with the option to scan and convert to text using optical character recognition (OCR).