Canon Pixma MP500 review: Canon Pixma MP500

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The Good Simple to set up and operate. Good quality prints. Reasonably fast print times. Copying and scanning functions add flexibility.

The Bad Printer cable not included. Software takes some getting used to.

The Bottom Line The MP500 is easy to use and is a great machine if you want to do a variety of things such as make cards, print different photo sizes for frames or print labels onto CDs and DVDs.

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You finally splurged and bought that digital camera, and now friends and family are clamouring to see prints of the shots you've taken. But with the wide range of available printers expanding almost daily, what model do you go for?

If scanning and copying are tasks you'd like to be able to tackle as well as printing, a multifunction device might be the answer. Sitting roughly in the middle of Canon's multifunction range is the Pixma MP500 -- a device that is very easy to use and reproduces photos with lovely clarity. (Note: before you start, be aware the printer does not include a USB printer cable for connection to your PC, so remember to buy one at the store -- they're about AU$5 -- if you need to do that.)

Although quite bulky, the printer is light enough to move around the house or home office without too much effort. If need be, you could store it away in cupboard or closet when it's not in use, and take it out when needed.

The quick start installation guide that comes with the MP500 is very well thought out and makes setting up the printer very simple. The 2.5-inch LCD screen makes navigation and previewing photos a simple task. Included in the box are sample sheets of standard A4 paper and photo size gloss paper, both of which are great to help get you started.

Also included are five toner ink cartridges. These are supplied for one each for Cyan/Magenta/Yellow colour and two for black, so you only need to replace them as each colour runs out, instead of having to buy the whole set each time one gets low on ink. The instructions to load these are very straightforward and within no time you can have the device up and ready to go.

Being a multifunction device, the printer is also a scanner, so you can take your "old fashioned" film prints and scan them in for manipulation or e-mailing on your PC. The MP500 is a flatbad scanner, so it won't be able to scan multiple sheets automatically. However, flatbeds allow you to scan images from books or folders.

The copy function is also very simple to use and has some great functionality. We tested it by copying a 4 x 6-inch photo we wanted to print in A4. Although it took about 3-5 minutes to complete, the results were very good and the pixilation on the page was minimal.

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