Canon Pixma MX860 review: Canon Pixma MX860

The printer comes with a driver installation CD with a robust software suite that will definitely appeal to your creative side. The settings let you cycle between commonly used quality templates like standard, business, paper-saving, and photo printing that automatically adjusts paper size and orientation, paper, and output quality. The driver lets you dive deeper into photo editing with options for vivid photos, borderless, monochrome effects, and even manual color adjustments, while the pop-up status monitor gives you a heads up view of the job status, document name, printer status, and a rough idea of the current levels of ink. We much prefer the status monitor on the driver that comes with the MP860, especially as opposed to the MP330's that didn't show the print progress.

The MX860 driver also automatically installs Canon's Easy Photo Print EX software onto your computer that flaunts all the creative features of the MX330. It lets you print simple snapshot photos on the fly, create whole albums of artwork, print calendars with custom pictures, and custom stickers using Canon's proprietary sticker paper. The explorer window on the main page works just like a Windows Explorer pane, except we prefer HP's Solution Center layout that automatically scans and detects printable pictures on your hard drive for you. Canon's creative suite is incredibly easy to use, however, and even lets you make simple photo edits like red-eye correction, face sharpening, and blemish removal, which is great for users who don't want to deal with the hassle of third-party editing software like Adobe Photoshop.

The copy functions on the MX330 are relatively standard for a multifunction device: you can make up to 99 copies at once and easily adjust the contrast and magnification of a document from 25 percent to 400 percent, all directly through the settings on the LCD menus. The scanner gives you two options to scan either single photos and documents or a stack of documents using the automatic document feeder. You also have several choices in terms of where you want to send a scanned document, such as directly to a PC as a JPEG, TIFF, BMP, or to 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. All scanned files are placed into your custom "My Box" directory, which displays all scanned and imported images as well as recently saved images onto the hard drive for future projects.

Performance
When it comes to print speeds, the Pixma MX860 has the upper hand on the competition, setting the pace in the color graphics speed, single-photo speed, grayscale scan, and black text copy speed tests. It even stayed ahead of the Pixma MX330 in all of the benchmarks except for text, where it only printed text at 4.47 pages per minute compared with the MX330's 5.54ppm, tying the HP OfficeJet J6480 for first place. It really shined in the scanning and text copy tests, registering an impressive 3.48 pages per minute to copy a 10-page stack of text and 4.1 pages per minute to scan a page of black-and-white graphics.

Printing speed
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Text copy (PPM)  
Grayscale scan (PPM)  
Photo speed (1 sheet)  
Color graphics speed (PPM)  
Text speed (PPM)  
HP OfficeJet J6480
1.84 
3.27 
0.83 
2.17 
5.54 
Canon Pixma MX330
4.1 
3.5 
0.93 
1.88 
5.54 
Canon Pixma MX860
3.48 
4.1 
1.28 
2.29 
4.47 
Kodak ESP5
3.81 
1.37 
2.13 
4.39 
Brother MFC-5890CN
0.81 
2.37 
3.95 

The MX860 is equally competent with graphics quality as it is with output speeds. The text in our sample prints came out a rich black with fully formed characters and thick lines, and the color spread retains its quality as well. Our 4-inch-by-6-inch photos are evenly saturated and smooth throughout color transitions, but we do have a few complaints about graphics printed on plain paper. While the details are all fairly sharp and detailed, we noticed some blotches in pictures with multiple color transitions. The result is a series of tarnished white specks spread across the image. These malformations are visible at arm's length, and while the specks don't affect images printed on Canon's glossy photo paper, it may be an issue for offices that print out presentations and graphics on plain paper.

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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Quick Specifications See All

  • Type fax / copier / printer / scanner
  • Printing Technology ink-jet
  • Optical Resolution 2400 x 4800 dpi
  • Functions copier
    fax
    printer
    scanner