It must be spring—the first in Canon’s line of updated entry-level, business-centric all-in-one (AIO) printers has just arrived in our labs. Every year, almost like clockwork, the Japanese imaging giant sends us three or so under-$150 models in its “MX” line of small- and home office-oriented machines.
And in recent years, we’ve typically responded with something equivalent to “So, where’s the beef?”
While other printer manufacturers, such as HP, Epson, and Brother, consistently turn out new, faster, and sleeker AIOs, Canon, in its recent successive generations of AIOs, has satisfied itself with tacking on a feature or two, upticking the model numbers, and calling these refreshed versions “new.”
That’s indeed the case with the subject of this review, the $149.99-list Pixma MX522 Wireless Office All-in-One. A refresh of the Pixma MX512 we looked at back in March 2012, the MX522 is the most feature-rich (and therefore most expensive) of a trio of low-cost, office-oriented AIOs in Canon’s vast Pixma stable. The other two are the $99.99-list Pixma MX452 and the $79.99-list Pixma MX392, which are, aside from a few productivity and convenience features, essentially the same machine. (Note: Because they’re intended for office use, these models can fax as well as print, copy, and scan.)
What you give up for the modest price differences among these three models, though, is substantial. For example, for the rough $70 cost savings between the Pixma MX392 and MX522, you’ll have to do without Wi-Fi connectivity or wireless networking. This, in turn, precludes support for Apple’s AirPrint technology (for printing from iPads and iPhones) and the ability to print from mobile devices in general (aside from using Bluetooth), as well as support for Google’s Cloud Print and some other mobile channels.
In addition, the MX522 is the only model of the three that comes with wired (Ethernet) network support, auto-duplexing (for two-sided printing without user assistance), and a color display for PC-free printing, copying, and scanning. Configuring the MX522 is easier, too, with the help of that display. The other two Pixmas come, instead, with two-line, old-school monochrome LCDs.
Where you won’t find many differences, however, is between the Pixma MX522 and its direct ancestor, the 2012 Pixma MX512. The newer Pixma looks and performs nearly identically to its predecessor. Primarily, what makes this Pixma “new” are its expanded alternative channels for printing from mobile devices, which we’ll discuss in the Design & Features section (the next page). In addition to these updates, Canon has done away with the slots for the wide range of memory cards supported by the MX512, leaving only a USB port for direct printing. That may or may not be important to you, depending on whether your small or home office prints a lot of photos.
Aside from that and a slightly tweaked chassis, the MX522 is essentially last year’s machine, right down to its relatively poky performance printing our test business documents, and its too-high cost per page (CPP). Combine those things with its relatively small 100-sheet input tray, and you get an AIO that makes sense only in environments with moderate-to-low printing requirements.
What it does print looks good, though, and with that said, the Pixma MX522 works for us as a light-duty solution for offices with low-volume printing needs—say, a few hundred pages each month, tops.
See the entire review at Computer Shopper.