Canon's new Pixma MG6120 multifunction printer satiates our high expectations for consumer-level printers at the $200 price point. This capable machine registers top marks in both speed and output quality and also innovates with features like a 3-inch display, a touch-sensitive control panel, and dual paper feed trays thanks to the auto-document feeder (ADF) mounted on the back. If you're on the hunt for a printer truly worthy of its all-in-one moniker, the Canon Pixma MG6120 earns our recommendation for its equal balance of affordability and features.
The Pixma MG6120 features a thinner shape than we're used to from Canon printers, with a unique design that incorporates folding trays to keep the footprint small. The printer measures 18 inches wide, 14.5 inches deep, and just under 7 inches tall with the trays folded. It also weighs slightly more than average at 20.2 pounds due to the rear-mounted ADF and the six internal ink tanks, but it should still be relatively easy for anyone to transport around the home or office.
The far left side of the printer houses the only hard button for power. Touch-sensitive virtual buttons for copy, scan, and print controls light up the top-mounted interactive panel when you initially hit the hard power button, but the printer only illuminates the commands necessary for each function once you select a print mode. This feature helps eliminate confusion typical of heavily populated control panels.
The MG6120 will always display the "home" and "back" navigation buttons regardless of which application you access (print, copy, scan), but you can also scroll through the menus and adjust the number of print copies using the active touch wheel. Finally, an ample 3-inch color LCD screen lifts up from the middle and tilts 90 degrees forward and back to flush within the unit to complement the virtual buttons.
The new "as needed" buttons are useful and easy to use, but we hope the next version will give the user access to adjust their sensitivity. The current setting is so sensitive that a quick swipe can easily trigger an accidental press, and even hovering your finger over the sensor can activate it.
Dual 150-sheet paper trays fold out of the top and bottom of the MG6120 and adjust forward and backward to accept a range of paper sizes from 4-inch-by-6-inch snapshots all the way up to legal-size sheets. The 300-sheet overall paper capacity means you can put different sized media in both compartments, but the trays themselves both feel easily breakable; we can't vouch for their durability over time and continued use.
Setting up the printer is simple no matter how you choose to connect it to a computer, and the installation disc provides onscreen instructions to guide you through three options: 802.11 b/g/n wireless, an Ethernet cable, or a simple USB cord. You can either select the Easy Install or the Custom Install that lets you pick the extra features you want including Easy-PhotoPrint EX for managing your digital photos, MP Navigator EX to guide you through the scanning process, and more. Keep in mind, however, that you'll need 691 megabytes of free hard-drive space on your computer if you go with the comprehensive Easy Install.
Once Easy Installation is complete, Windows users will notice several new buttons displayed above the taskbar on the lower right side of the screen. These shortcuts are designed to give you quick access to five of the most commonly used printer functions: Scan a document, Layout print, Photo Print, Show Main Screen, and Hide.
The MG6120 also includes Canon's HD Movie Print that lets you pull still snapshots out of videos shot with compatible Canon HD video cameras. We tested the printer with a Canon Powershot S95 top-flight handheld camera and were impressed with the Canon Solution Menu EX software's step-by-step walkthrough instructions.
The software allows you to edit video images and prepare a moving clip for grabbing still shots from the video. It's as simple as selecting a video snippet and either capturing a group of 10 frames or hitting the "capture" button to select single images. Once that's finished, you can edit the image to reduce noise and sharpen images and although the SD95 is only capable of 720p video resolution, the software supports true 1080p digital SLR cameras like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
The lid of the MG6120 lifts to reveal the five-ink cartridge bay for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink tanks, and there's another high-capacity pigment black cartridge inside that only draws ink when you toggle the "monochrome" mode within the driver preferences. This convenient feature actually saves you money in the long term by extending the longevity of the smaller black cartridge, since it only gets depleted in color print mode.
Printing functions aside, the MG6120's copy function has all the features you'd expect from a diligent multifunction printer. You can enlarge the original copy 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 in 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, and the scanner supports document sizes up to 8.5 inches by 11 inches, but a fixed hinge makes it difficult to stretch the scanner cover over thicker documents and books.
We're surprised at the disparity between the MG6120's impressive text and presentation speed output versus the time it took to print photos and pages of color graphics. It's no match for the Epson WorkForce 610 and drops down to second place in the text page test with a respectable 8.24 pages per minute (PPM) but loses momentum and falls to the bottom of the pack at a sluggish 1.02 pages of color graphics and 0.87 full-color photo snapshots per minute. Despite polarizing speed test results, you're unlikely to notice the subtle differences as a consumer unless you're printing consistently high pages of text or photos. To that point, the MG6120 isn't the best performer for busy offices, although we wouldn't hesitate to flaunt its output quality in a boardroom presentation.
|Presentation Speed (PPM)||Photo Speed (1 Sheet)||Color Graphics Speed (PPM)||Text Speed (PPM)|
Contrary to the speed tests, the Pixma MG6120 performed well in our quality examination, printing solid, dense text with fully formed characters down to five-point font size. The color graphics test emerged solid and evenly distributed, but we did notice small portions with more neutral tones than the original, specifically in areas with gradual color gradients. To confirm, we repeated the test in three iterations and the imperfections were consistent throughout, although likely unnoticeable to most eyes. In most cases, snapshot photos came out with vivid coloration and with even tones.
Service and support
Canon supports the Pixma MG6120 with a standard one-year limited warranty program that includes InstantExchange and a year of toll-free phone support. In addition, the product page for the printer features frequently asked questions, registration, recycling information, driver downloads, and more.
The Canon Pixma MG6120's slower-than-average print speeds are offset by its competent home office capabilities including HD Movie Print, simple installation, and dual paper trays that let you store up to 300 sheets at a time. In the future we'd like Canon to allow adjustments to the touch-sensitive control panel, but we're satisfied to recommend a printer that finally achieves a balance between the modern luxury of touch sensitivity and the need for quick access to the control panel.