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.
As with any other printer, printing documents from a computer is a straightforward task. When printing photos, you can also print from a media card or directly from a PictBridge camera. When printing from a card or camera, you don't even need to touch your PC. You have options such as printing photos one at a time, specifying a range of photos to be printed, or even printing an index sheet of all the photos on a card. You can indicate on the index sheet which images you want printed and scan in the index sheet, and the MP800R will print just those images. And when using a memory card, you can even search by shooting date.
Copying also presents a useful range of options, including special copy (such as borderless or image repeat), shrinking or enlarging, fitting two or four pages onto a single sheet, and double-sided copying with the built-in duplexer. When scanning, you can save your scanned documents as JPEGs, TIFFs, bitmaps, or PDFs. You can scan into an application such as Photoshop or attach the file to e-mail. With the included ScanSoft OmniPage SE, you can convert the scanned document to text using optical character recognition. In addition to scanning documents, the MP800R scans up to six negatives and or four slides at once. With slides and negatives, you can scan them to a PC or print them as photos. The negative- and slide-scanner feature gives this printer a leg up over printers such as the office-oriented HP 7410, but you don't get an automatic document feeder (to scan or copy a multipage document mostly hands-free) or fax capability.
The Canon MP800R uses five ink cartridges: a dye-based black, a pigment-based black, and separate cyan, magenta, and yellow tanks. The upside to this is that you can replace each color separately as it runs out, instead of ditching a partially full tank because just one color runs dry. And you won't have to switch out tanks to print photos, either. When you open the body of the printer to access the ink tanks, each tank has a light that indicates whether it needs to be changed. Also, a graphical representation of the ink tanks on the LCD keeps you updated as to the relative amount left in each tank. The tanks are simple to switch out, and the print head is labeled so that you know which tank goes where. (The lights flash if you insert them incorrectly.) The dye-based ink tanks cost $14.25 each, and the pigment-based black tank costs $16.25 to replace. Canon ships with full tanks. The cost per page of the MP800R is the same as that of the MP830: both black and color text prints will cost an inexpensive 2 cents per page. The Canon Pixma MP800R's speeds were quite impressive, especially when compared to an office all-in-one. It produced text at 7.97 pages per minute (ppm), scanned grayscale photos at 11.88ppm, scanned color photos at 10.75ppm, and printed 4x6 photos at 1.84ppm. The MP800R's scores are nearly identical to those of the MP830 but blew away those of the two HPs, including the office-oriented 7410.
|Copy speed||Color scan speed||Grayscale scan speed||Photo speed||Text speed|
We had high hopes for the MP800R's print quality, but it didn't quite live up to expectations. Since it's a photo-oriented printer, we weren't totally surprised by the subpar text quality. At first glance, it looked fine, but closer examination revealed jagginess everywhere. As the text point size decreased, the letters began to look slightly fuzzy, even on coated inkjet paper. The blotchiness was evident on the color graphics print, too. The colors in the image portion of the color graphics page were off: flesh tones were overly red, and the grayscale portion was overly blue. The color graphics were a bit grainy and not as saturated as we like, though the printer handled the color gradients and grayscales nicely. We were satisfied with the 4x6 photo prints, as they showed good flesh tones, sharp detail, and only the slightest compression in the dark end of the grayscale. We liked the color scan, with its good detail and color representation. The grayscale scan was also good, though it also showed slight compression in the dark end of the grayscale, resulting in some detail loss in shadow areas.
|Color scan||Grayscale scan||Photo||Graphics on inkjet paper||Text on inkjet paper|