Do you remember when single-function inkjet printers—yes, once all printers did was print—sold for about $80? We do…and it wasn’t all that long ago. In those days, multifunction printers (machines that could print, copy, scan, and fax) started at about $300; they were slow, and, generally speaking, their print quality wasn’t all that great. All that has changed now. Despite the state of the economy here in 2012, good old-fashioned competition in the printer industry continues to bring us remarkable deals.
Take, for example, Canon’s $79.99 Pixma MX372, the least expensive in a set of three under-$150 all-in-one (AIO) business-centric inkjets the company has rolled out here in the first half of 2012. Like the other two in the bunch (the $99.99 Pixma MX432 and the $149.99 Pixma MX512, both of which we reviewed earlier this year), the MX372 not only prints, but it also copies, scans, and faxes. On paper—no pun intended—that’s a great deal for $80.
Because the Pixma MX372 is the least expensive in this pack of three, it naturally has the fewest features. For instance, for the $20 you’d save between it and the Pixma MX432, the next model up, you give up the ability to print over Wi-Fi networks, as well as support for printing directly from PictBridge-enabled USB devices and USB memory sticks. And for the $70 difference between the MX372 and the MX512, Canon works in automatic duplexing (that is, support for printing two-sided pages without user intervention), a 2.5-inch color LCD, and support for most popular memory devices.
Of these three models, the MX372 is, relatively speaking, the basic, bare-bones machine. Then again, it’s pretty tough to call a device that provides so many office functions—as well as an automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning, copying, and faxing multipage documents—bare-bones. But that’s what it is—a stripped-down version of the other two higher-priced models. It has the same innards, or print engine, uses the same ink cartridges, and it prints, copies, and scans at similar speeds.
Being the same on the inside, of course, also means that it prints and reproduces documents and photographs at the same exceptional level of quality as its higher-priced siblings—though, along with that, it also shares the same high per-page cost of ink. In every sense, the Pixma MX372 is a personal AIO, designed primarily for use by one user who needs hassle-free, high-quality prints, copies, and scans. It’s not a high-volume workhorse designed to churn out hundreds of pages every day. Considering its exceptionally low price and wide range of functions, as well as its print, copy, and scan quality, this is one instance where we won’t squawk—too loudly, that is—about per-page printing costs. Still, this model makes sense only if your print and copy volume is low.
Read the review at Computer Shopper.