Year after year, we looked on—and dutifully reported—as Canon’s Pixma MX series of office-centric all-in-one (AIO) inkjets floundered a bit in the small-office and home-office (SOHO) market. They certainly weren’t (and aren’t) bad products, by any means. But from model to model, they tended to be outclassed in one major way or another.
Therefore, it’s good to see that the Japanese imaging giant finally came to the realization—judging from its revised product line—that high-volume, inexpensive-to-use inkjets can be more practical than their color-laser and LED (laser-class) counterparts. Its competitors (primarily Brother, Epson, and HP) figured that out years ago. In response, in late 2014 Canon unveiled a new “Maxify” family of office-ready inkjets that hold up nicely—in terms of print speed, volume ratings, and cost per page (CPP)—to most other high-volume inkjet AIOs in the marketplace.
Perhaps we’re being a little disingenuous. We suspect Canon has known full well how important high-volume printers are to small and medium-size businesses (SMBs). After all, for quite some time, the company has been building laser-printer engines not only for its own customers and its ImageClass line, but also for HP. Possibly, Canon saw how high-volume inkjets could be a threat (and they certainly are) to its laser-printer interests—and the writing on the wall just couldn’t be ignored anymore.
In any case, the good news is that Canon’s new Maxify line of business-ready inkjets all look to be decent printers, although some may prove to be more decent than others. They range in price from $149.99 (MSRP) for the single-function Maxify iB4020 to $399.99 (MSRP) for the high-volume Maxify MB5320 Wireless Small Office All-in-One, the flagship model we’re reviewing here.
This first round of Maxify models consists of four MFPs and a single-function (print-only) workhorse. Of the four MFPs, two of them, the $199.99-list MB2320 and MB5320, have two spacious input trays, while the $179.99-list MB2020 and $299.99-list MB5020 have only one. In addition, the two MB5000 series models have twice the maximum monthly duty cycle (the maximum number of pages the manufacturer says you can print each month without premature wear on the printer) than the two MB2000 series machines: 30,000 pages monthly on the MB5000 series, versus 15,000 on the MB2000 series.
Versus the less-expensive MB2000 machines, the MB5000 series models are also faster; they have slightly larger touch screens, as well as auto-duplexing ADFs; and, most important, they sport a much lower cost per page (CPP). Where it counts, the MB5000 machines are essentially twice the printer of their parallel MB2000 models—at roughly double the list price.
As high-volume inkjets go, the Maxify MB5320 is a good one. Not only is it loaded with productivity and convenience features, but, as described in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, it uses high-volume, efficiently priced ink cartridges, greatly increasing its overall value. Overall, we found little to quibble with in this printer, but it does compete with a few well-established high-volume models from Epson, Brother, and HP. In short, this Maxify model is a very fine AIO, but then so are its primary competitors, which includes Epson’s five-star, $299.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-4630.
It would be tough to say that this Maxify is “better” than similarly priced MFPs—you can find some great high-volume inkjet machines out there, such as Epson’s $399.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-5690, which we’re in the process of reviewing. This Maxify is one of those well-built, feature-rich machines that does just about everything, and does each thing well. It excels at high-volume output, which is what it was built for.
What, eventually, may set it apart is price. Depending on how the pricing trends go on this machine, it could end up being an even better value than when we reviewed it. When we wrote this in mid-January 2015, the major online e-tailers were selling it at its full $399.99 MSRP, though we did see one, briefly, discounting it heavily—more on that at the end of the review.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper.