Canon Pixma MP800 all-in-one review: Canon Pixma MP800 all-in-one

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The Good The Canon Pixma MP800R has all the features a photo hobbyist needs, including a media card reader, PictBridge and IrDA ports, a huge color LCD, and slide and negative scanners. Additionally, you can network this printer--either wired or wirelessly--so that you can share it with everyone in your home or small office, whether they're on Windows or Mac PCs.

The Bad The text quality of the MP800R is subpar.

The Bottom Line With its wealth of photo-manipulation features, the Canon Pixma MP800R is a great choice for an amateur photo hobbyist. It's also fast at all tasks, which makes it a better choice than the HP Photosmart 3310.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Support 7


Inkjet all-in-one printers are generally split into two categories: those made for offices and those for home hobbyists. With its slide/negative scanner and lack of fax capability, the Canon Pixma MP800R Photo all-in-one falls into the latter category. Oddly enough, it's networkable--both wired and wireless--which is a feature most commonly needed in office environments (and most networkable printers provide only wired capability). With subpar text quality and a print quality that will satisfy casual hobbyists but not discerning professionals, the $400 Pixma MP800R is best suited for home users and amateur photography enthusiasts who want a wealth of photo manipulation features and can do without faxing. If you want an office-oriented inkjet all-in-one, the HP OfficeJet 7410 is a good bet, but keep in mind that you'll lose the negative scanner. If you like the features available on the Pixma MP800R but don't need networking, check out the MP800, which offers only USB connectivity and costs $100 less. The Canon Pixma MP800R Photo all-in-one is not a small machine, so make sure you have the space for it. It stands 18.6 inches wide, 19.3 inches deep, and 9.5 inches tall and weighs more than 27 pounds. Its glossy black and brushed silver plastic exterior is classic Pixma design. The scanner lid lifts up smoothly and stays up until you push it down, and it detaches entirely from the printer, which is a boon when photocopying or scanning thick documents. The inside of every scanner lid has a foam-backed sheet that protects the platen and presses the scanned item against the glass. On the MP800R, this piece detaches from the lid and on its reverse side, you'll find film guides used for negative and slide scanning.

Behind a door on the front is the media card reader, which accepts all major memory card formats, though you may need adapters for some of them. A front-mounted USB port lets you attach PictBridge-enabled cameras or camera phones for PC-free printing; you can also use it to attach an optional Bluetooth adapter, for printing from Bluetooth devices. The MP800R ships with a USB cable--a rarity with printers.

The front of the machine folds out smoothly with the push of a button. This flap functions as the output tray, and a handy extension pulls out to keep long pages in check. For paper input, you have two options. A paper cassette slides out of the bottom and can hold up to 150 sheets of paper. Unfortunately, the largest size paper it accepts is A4; for legal-size paper, you'll have to use the rear-mounted paper support, which folds out. It extends to support longer paper, but the extension pieces tend to stick as you pull on them. An adjustable paper guide lets you corral media of different sizes.

The control panel is simple for a printer with so many functions. Dedicated buttons let you switch between tasks, and a feed switch lets you toggle between the rear feeder and the paper cassette. The one-touch photo index button initiates printing a photo index sheet from your memory card. You can navigate function-specific menus using the four-way rocker switch, the OK button, and the dedicated back button. The menus are clear and concise and displayed on the enormous 3.5-inch color LCD. The LCD makes previewing photos a joy, and you can optimize the image by tipping the LCD forward and back. Rounding out the control panel are two start buttons (color and black), a stop/cancel button, and a power button.

The Pixma MP800R is ideal for small offices or homes with multiple PCs and users, as you can set it for shared printing over a network or stand-alone printing over USB. A built-in 802.11g/b adapter provides the option of wireless printing. If you live in a home with mixed allegiances, fear not: the printer works with both PCs and Macs.

Setup is straightforward; the included setup guide walks you through the process, whether you're establishing a simple USB connection or wrestling with a complicated network connection. The installation CD also guides you through the necessary steps and security for a variety of network connection scenarios. The only feature that's missing from the Canon Pixma MP800R Photo all-in-one is fax capability, which lessens the printer's office appeal. (If you need to send faxes, check out the HP OfficeJet 7410.) The many features it does offer, however, will please home users, especially enthusiastic photo hobbyists.

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