The Pixma MP450 all-in-one printer resides in the middle of Canon's multifunction printer line. Unlike Canon's more expensive office all-in-ones, the $129 MP450 is designed for home users. It offers neither fax nor networking capabilities, but its various functions let you print, scan, copy, and print photos from a memory card or a PictBridge camera without your PC. It's a basic printer, with only one paper feeder and no duplexer. If you want multiple paper sources (for different types of paper, for example) and autoduplexing, check out the next step up in the Canon line, the $179 Pixma MP500, which also features a larger LCD. For its price, however, the MP450 score points for its excellent print quality, fast print speeds--copying is a bit slow, however--and its small footprint. For about the same price, the HP PSC 2335 and the Lexmark P6250 offer roughly the same features but poorer performance and print quality. If you need a basic yet versatile home printer that doesn't take up a lot of desk space, we recommend the Canon Pixma MP450. The Canon Pixma MP450 is reasonably compact for a home all-in-one. With its input and output trays folded in, it measures 17.5 inches wide by 12.2 inches deep by 6.3 inches tall. It weighs a light 13.6 pounds--considerably lighter than the 21-pound Pixma MP500. The paper input tray and support panel sit vertically in the back. The output tray is simply the folded-out front wall of the printer. Unfortunately, it lacks an extension to keep long paper under control. Hidden in the depths of the output tray is a lever that you can switch to adjust the printer according to the thickness of the media you're using: for most types of paper, keep the lever to the left, but for envelopes and T-shirt transfers, shift it to the right.
The media card reader is hidden behind a door and accepts most common card types. You'll need an adapter for the xD-Picture card, MiniSD card, and Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick Duo Pro cards. A PictBridge USB port on the front allows you to print straight from PictBridge-enabled cameras and camera phones, while the IrDA port lets you print wirelessly from infrared-enabled camera phones. You can also purchase an optional Bluetooth adapter to use with the USB port, which will let you print from Bluetooth devices. The flatbed scanner can scan originals up to 8.5 inches by 11.75 inches--roughly the measurements of A4 paper. The lid lifts to accommodate thicker originals up to 0.75 inch.
The control panel is fairly basic for an all-in-one printer. You can adjust the angle of the 1.9-inch color LCD according to your viewing conditions, and although it's small, it's easily readable. The panel has buttons for toggling between tasks, navigating the menu, and printing a photo index sheet. Two start buttons (one for black-ink only and one for color), a stop/reset button, and an on/off button round out the control panel. The menu is easy to navigate, and your options are represented in both text and graphics.The Canon Pixma MP450 uses four-color ink: one black tank and one tricolor tank (it ships with the high-capacity tanks). You can access the tanks by lifting up on the control panel; a plastic support bar flips down to support the lid, much like a piano lid or a car hood. The tanks are a cinch to replace. The high-capacity black tank costs $29.99 and the high-capacity tricolor tank costs $34.99. Canon estimates the cost per page for this printer to be about 4 cents for a page of black text and 11 cents for a page of color graphics. For comparison, the Pixma MP500 offers more ink flexibility: three separate dye-based color ink tanks, a black dye-based ink tank, and a black pigment-based ink tank.