The Canon Pixma MP950 is Canon's top-of-the-line photo all-in-one printer for avid photo hobbyists and home users. It shares many of the features found on the Pixma MP800R--print, copy, scan, and no fax--but they're all bumped up. For example, the MP950 can scan up to 12 35mm negatives at once, whereas the MP800R can scan only 6 at a time. The MP950 lacks networking, a major omission at this price point; the MP800R is network-ready--both wired and wireless. Both printers cost $400, so the trade-off is features vs. quality--the MP950 is capable of higher-quality prints and scans, whereas the MP800R can be easily shared among the PCs networked in your office. If you're looking for an office-oriented all-in-one printer that includes fax capability and networking, check out the HP OfficeJet 7410. Or, if you want to stick to a photo-oriented all-in-one but need office-centric features such as faxing and networking, check out HP's comparably priced Photosmart 3310.
The scanner lid is sturdy and lifts smoothly and, like the MP800R's, detaches entirely so that you can copy or scan thick books or documents. On the inside of the scanner lid is the detachable platen protector and behind it is a spot to store the slide or negative scanner guides. Because the MP950 can scan up to 12 frames of 35mm film or up to eight mounted slides, the guides are larger than those on the MP800R, which can scan 6 35mm frames or four slides. With the MP800R, you can store both guides behind the platen protector; on the MP950, you have to choose just one to store in that spot and stash the other somewhere else. The platen itself can accommodate up to A4-size originals, which means you can't copy or scan legal-size documents.
Like the MP800R, the MP950 has a PictBridge USB port for PC-free printing from a PictBridge-enabled camera, an IrDA port for wireless printing from compatible devices, and a media card reader that takes all media card types (some media cards require adapters). You can also plug a Bluetooth adapter into the USB port for printing wirelessly from Bluetooth-enabled devices.
The MP950 has two input trays: one paper cassette that holds about 150 sheets of plain paper and an auto sheet feeder that folds out from the rear of the printer. The cassette is only large enough to handle A4-size paper, so anything longer needs to be fed from the auto sheet feeder. Both inputs have adjustable paper guides. The output tray folds out from the front of the printer with a touch of a button. It has a pull-out extension to keep long pages from flying to the floor.
One major difference between the MP800R and the MP950 is the placement of the control panel. Most of Canon's photo all-in-ones have the control panel mounted on a shelf that juts out from the front of the machine. Additionally, the photo preview LCD (if included) generally folds up from the "shelf," allowing for multiple viewing angles. On the MP950, the control panel is built into the scanner lid, and the LCD is mounted on the inside of the control panel's cover, which folds up to reveal the buttons. While we appreciate the enormous, 3.6-inch color LCD, the design requires the LCD to be at about eye level in order to see it; in most cases, this means you will have to be seated. Additionally, as there is essentially only one viewing angle, you can't adjust the LCD for different lighting conditions. Although this setup does make the printer more compact, we think it's a major design misstep.
The LCD aside, the control panel is standard for a Canon photo all-in-one: a feed switch to toggle between paper input locations; dedicated buttons to switch between functions; menu, settings, OK, back, and a four-way rocker to navigate the menus; a search button to search through photos on a media card; a trimming button that lets you crop photos; a photo index sheet button; and two start buttons (color and black), a stop/reset button, and an on/off button.