It’s been less than a year since we reviewed Canon’s last round of TS-series Pixma printers, which included the Pixma TS8020 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One.[amazon_link asins=’B01MXYIJQR’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c6a0f233-cd55-11e7-880a-db1986ec3c85′] That model is the precursor to the machine we’re reviewing here, the $179.99-MSRP Pixma TS8120 ([amazon_link asins=’B074VFYJM1′ template=’PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’97dfa658-c331-11e7-be39-afaad3baef7f’] at Amazon).
It’s unusual for a printer maker to refresh its line so soon. Speculating why Canon did so here would be, well, speculation. All we know for sure? Earlier in 2017, the Pixma TS series replaced the company’s MG-series Pixmas, a line of long-in-the-tooth photo-centric all-in-ones (AIOs) that we’ve reviewed year after year throughout the ’10s. Perhaps Canon felt that the first round of the new TS series wasn’t quite right. Or perhaps evolving market trends tipped the imaging giant’s hand.
[amazon_link asins=’B074VFYJM1′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’80e9a922-c331-11e7-8c71-6707203cdb11′]In any case, the Pixma TS8120 is second from the top dog in Canon’s recent TS-line upgrade. This new line of five printers comprises the Pixma TS9120 ($199 MSRP, discounted to $149.99 as we wrote this in mid-October 2017) [amazon_link asins=’B074VFYB9J’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e689e3e5-cd55-11e7-b05e-c5e815f56117′], today’s Pixma TS8120 (discounted at many e-tailers to $149.99) [amazon_link asins=’B074VG3C5C’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f9bd0d73-cd55-11e7-83be-b1aa445bae55′], the Pixma TS6120 ($149.99 MSRP, discounted to $99.99) [amazon_link asins=’B074VD4WZS’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0eddaea2-cd56-11e7-ac41-b5fe570ba1e7′], the Pixma TS5120 ($99.99 MSRP, discounted to $89.99) [amazon_link asins=’B074VGYJWN’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1b8baf3b-cd56-11e7-bb7b-49d8bcbd6428′], and an all-new entry-level iteration, the Pixma TS3120 ($89.99 MSRP, discounted to $59.99).[amazon_link asins=’B074VD1GGT’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’298bd1fa-cd56-11e7-8469-27f5c5e7e466′] We’ll be reviewing four of the five; this is the first in our Canon review wave.
All but that last one are updates to existing models. And, as usual, from top to bottom, as the prices shrink, so do the feature sets. For a $20 higher list price than the Pixma TS8120, for example, the Pixma TS9120 adds Ethernet connectivity and has a 5-inch display, whereas the Pixma TS8120 does not support wired networking and comes with a 4.3-inch screen.
Because these models are positioned as photo printers, how well they print photos is paramount to everything else. As we’ve seen over the years, five- and six-ink printers tend to do a better job of printing across a wider variety of photos than standard four-ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, or CMYK) machines. With that in mind, the two top TS Pixmas, the TS9120 and TS8120, use six inks; the next two down the chain (the TS6120 and TS5120) use five inks; and the TS3120 uses the standard four inks.
A change this time around is that instead of the “photo gray” ink that six-ink Pixmas have been using for the past several years, the sixth ink is now a “photo blue.” Where the photo gray ink was claimed to increase the color gamut (or color range) somewhat and help print superior gray-scale images, the new photo blue, according to Canon, reduces graininess. (We assume that the photo blue ink should increase the color range, too.)
The TS8120 comes in three colors: black, red, and white, as shown below. Canon sent us the red one…
A standing difference between consumer-grade photo AIOs and their office-oriented counterparts is that the former generally cost more to use: The per-page ink cost is higher. Canon’s photo-centric Pixmas traditionally have had slightly higher running costs than their competitors, and printed some of the best-looking images among consumer-grade photo printers. Nothing has really changed on those fronts.
Whether the Pixma TS8120 is right for you depends on several factors. Positioned as a photo printer foremost, not only does it cost more to use than some other inkjet AIOs, but it also lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multi-page documents to the scanner. ADF AWOL is not unusual with this class of printer, especially those under $200. That trend has begun to change of late, though, with newer models such as the HP Envy Photo 7855 All-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B074P4T1FT’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4a0c2247-cd56-11e7-a204-5fbe71714596′]; we’ll look a little closer at this important development in the next section.
The bottom line on the Pixma TS8120? If you’re looking for a machine mainly for printing photos, it’s hard to beat this little AIO (aside from getting the stepped-up Pixma TS9120, which we’re also reviewing, or one of a few Epson photo-centric models to be discussed later). If, on the other hand, you also need your photo printer to be nimble at making copies, printing lots of documents, and scanning pages with regularity, the Pixma TS8120 has a few shortcomings in those areas.
How much should they affect your buying decision? That depends on just how much printing, copying, and scanning you need to do. Let’s dig in and judge.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper