Play it again, Canon. It’s not unusual for a printer manufacturer to slap a few minor enhancements onto an existing machine, rename it, and rerelease it as a new model. We see this often, and most printer makers do it, but seemingly none more frequently than Canon.
This time, the printer giant has revamped not just one, but three of its entry-level, photo-centric Pixma print/copy/scan models: 2011’s Pixma MG4120, MG3120, and MG2120 are reborn as the MG4220, MG3220, and MG2220. (We’re working on reviews of the other two new models; the MG4220 is the first of the set we looked at.)
The problem here with this tweak-it-and-relaunch-it approach? The original models weren’t stellar printers to begin with, so you run the danger of simply getting the same old middling machines, but with a few new features. On paper, that’s what it looks like happened with these three new all-in-one (AIO) models. All three are essentially the same as last year’s Pixmas, and those models printed documents and photos at less-than-industry-standard speeds, with costs per page (CPPs) that were far too high.
Alas, our tests of the MG4220 bear out that little has changed. This new trio of Pixmas is budget-priced (with MSRPs from $69.99 to $129.99), with the MG4220, the focus of this review, the most expensive and functional of the three. As Canon’s MG models go (“MG” is the company’s designation for its photo-centric AIO printers), the MG4220 falls between the $149.99 Pixma MG5320 and the $79.99 Pixma MG3220. (We’ll be posting a review of the MG3220 shortly.)
The $60 difference between the MG3220 and the MG4220 gets you support for several types of memory cards, as well as a small (2.4-inch) full-color LCD that makes scanning to and printing from memory devices and configuring the printer easier. If you step up to the MG5320, though, for the extra $20 you get a 3-inch screen, the ability to print labels on CDs, a significantly faster print engine, support for USB memory and other USB devices, and better-looking prints, especially photographs.
This is not to say that the MG4220’s output is subpar or in any way unacceptableâ€”not at all. It’s just that, to our eyes, at least, the MG5320’s five-ink-cartridge system churned out better-looking prints than the MG4220’s two-cartridge system. (Furthermore, the MG5320 has been on the market for a while now, and we found it at several online outlets for under $100. Conversely, we couldn’t find the MG4220 for less than $119 yet.)
Our take? The MG4220 is a capable printer. It’s easy to set up and use; it prints good-looking documents and photos, and in our tests, it was reliable. Compared to recent competing models (such as HP’s $129 Photosmart 5520 e-All-in-one and Kodak’s $99.99 ESP 3.2 All-in-One), though, it’s slow, even when printing photographs. However, our biggest concern with this model is its high per-page cost of ink, which we discuss in the last section of this review. Other modelsâ€”including other similarly priced Pixmasâ€”can deliver comparable (and sometimes better) print quality at faster speeds, as well as provide a better overall value over time.
Read full review at Computer Shopper.