The Pixma MP980 offers a collection of features that make life much easier for the home photo enthusiast. You can connect the printer to a computer through a standard USB cord, or to your network with the Ethernet port on the back, or even go wireless with the built-in 802.11b/g wireless print server. There's also a PictBridge USB port on the bottom as well as a full media card reader for transferring and printing photos directly from a digital camera. Unlike the competition, Canon doesn't include a wireless configuration tutorial with its software, so you might encounter problems similar to ours during setup, which requires you to establish a USB connection first. After several days of trying to get our router to connect with the printer, we finally just started clean and reinstalled the driver. After that, everything went smoothly, but it might take you a couple tries before your system connects with the MP980.
The copier on the MP980 has all the features you'd expect from a multifunction printer. You can enlarge the original up to 400 percent or simply fit the entire document to a page. Other special features include two-sided copying, borderless copying, exact duplication, cropped copy, and 2-on-1 and 4-on-1 photo collages.
Scanning is also typical, with save options that include sending the file straight to your PC, as an e-mail attachment, scanned as a PDF, or simply open it to an application. You can save all documents as TIFF, JPEG, bitmap, or PDF files, and the scanner now supports film and negatives as well. The negative and slide holders are accessible underneath the document protector underneath the lid. The scanner supports document sizes up to 8.5 inches by 11 inches, but the fixed hinge makes it difficult to stretch the scanner cover over thicker documents and books.
The Pixma MP980 showed significant speed improvements across the board with the exception of the color text test, where the MP970 scored 7.85 pages per minute to the MP980's 5.75 pages per minute. Compared with the rest of the competition, though, the MP980 fared about average. It was unable to get ahead of the chart-topping Epson Artisan 800 and the HP Photosmart Premium Fax all-in-one, which remains our favorite home photo printer.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Photo speed (1 Sheet)||Color graphics speed||Presentation speed||Color Text speed|
Print quality on the MP980 suffers from the same problems as its predecessor, specifically in our test of color graphics. Text prints look fine at first glance, but upon closer inspection, we saw many jagged edges and malformed lines. Color text is marred with white blotchy marks within the letter bodies, and where smaller text should be clearly formed turned out thick and barely legible in two point size. As usual, we also printed out a page of color graphics on plain paper to test print quality, and we're disappointed again by the washed-out colors and undersaturation. All of the pictures on the document look hazy and dim, especially in facial tones that normally appear vibrant on our monitor.
Service and support
Canon offers a standard one-year warranty for the Pixma MX700. Toll-free phone support is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to midnight PT and on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. E-mail support is available 24-7 via a Web-based form. Canon's standard online support options include downloadable drivers and software, manuals, and FAQs.
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