For a long time considered by us as the sleekest-looking finish for desktop printers, we can’t help thinking that gloss black is a tad over-the-top for home office environment where printers tend to work best when they go unnoticed. That’s certainly not the case with the 450x366x166mm MG5350, an all-in-one printer that’s as big on footprint as it is on features. A good value, if rotund package awaits those with room to spare.
The MG5350 has its head in the cloud. Using Canon’s iMage Gateway feature it’s possible to fetch photos stored on a remote server; upload them to Canon’s website using a computer, then access them directly using the printer itself. This kind of approach isn’t unique – HP’s flagship Envy line-up of printers has apps for Flickr and Facebook – but despite its cleverness we’re not convinced it’s necessary. However, the facility appears to be available to owners of Canon cameras only, which is odd; since when did brand loyalty stretch to cheap printers and compact cameras?
As well as ring-fenced cloud printing, the MG5350 has some more down-to-earth ins and outs in the shape of a USB 2.0 socket (PictBridge-compatible for printing direct from a compatible camera) two memory card slots that can handle SD, Memory Stick, and Memory Stick Duo formats, respectively.
There’s also a 3in LCD screen that promises to be the control centre, but it’s not a touchpanel. Instead, a variety of keys and a clickwheel below it are used to walk around the various features, and though it’s easy enough to use, there are sometimes two ways of doing things. It’s early days for touchscreen printers, but they’ve got the march on traditional printers like this one.
Within that interface are novel options that display some careful thought: templates for printing off quick weekly or monthly calendars, graph paper or notebook pages; printing photos from a USB thumbdrive or memory card – and as a bonus, even PDF files (though not Word or Excel files).
The various bundled software includes Easy-WebPrintEX, a Safari plug-in (we tested using an iMac) that clips portions of websites, as well as options for printing personalised photo calendars.
Hi-def movies recorded on digital cameras also get special treatment by Canon’s Pixma range of printers. Full HD Movie print makes it possible to scan through footage frame by frame in search of the perfect still image. It’s a natty feature that will tempt those who regularly film, and considering that HD video filming has been possible on compact cameras for a few years, we’re surprised it’s taken so long.
Arguably of more use is the MG5350′s flatbed scanner. Armed with an optical resolution of 2400×4800 pixels, the lid has a double hinge, something that we implore you to search for on prospective printers; as well as book scanning it also enables you to close the lid over a magazine.
In our tests the scanner performed relatively slowly, with the whole process (including pre-scan) taking a whopping 53 seconds. Still, the results were reasonably sharp and colourful, with plenty of contrast. Photos were less impressive, though will be sufficient for same-size printouts. The resulting scans – as either PDF or JPG files – can be saved either to a PC or memory card. Used in simple photocopy mode, the MG5320 managed to spit out a colour photocopy in 21 seconds.
With wireless home networks now in abundance, WiFi connectivity is now more than just a novelty feature; its presence on the MG5350 is pretty much essential. For those who don’t choose it, however, a wired USB option is also available. In the box there’s also a special tray for printing directly to optical media, such as CDs and DVDs.
The MG5350′s paper feeds are neatly designed and fold up to create a sleeker look, but we’re not convinced about their day-to-day suitability. The front tray, a cassette that needs to be completely removed in order to fill it, clicks back into position with a rather plasticky snap. Both paper feeds take 150 sheets of A4 paper.
Speed and quality
When a print order is issued, the output tray automatically opens and folds down – a good start. And then a ‘Processing … please wait a moment’ message appears. It never really goes away. Up it pops between, and often during, almost any print job, however brief and simple.
A 6x4in colour photo took just 45 seconds in our test (and also impressed in terms of its colour and detail), though almost everything else was too slow – and bookended by lengthy and noisy processing.
An eight-page document combining text and graphics took just over five minutes to print – that’s 42 seconds per page – while a three-page mono document on the fast setting was produced in 1 minute 38 seconds. A full-colour, top-quality PDF proof took almost 50 seconds per page, while duplex printing was simply baffling; a double-sided document was produced in 38 seconds, while the very same file took just over a minute to print on two separate pages.
Quality across the board is reasonable, though never professional; we’d consider using the MG5350 in a home office, and for occasional photo printing, but not in a professional context.
The MG5350 uses five inks – four 13.5ml cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) and a 25ml black pigment cartridge. We found a deal online for £50 for four full sets, though yields differ too much for an accurate calculation; figure on around 4p per page.
Contact: Canon on 01737 220000
- Glossy colour photos, WiFi connectivity, easy setup.
- Slow, middling-quality print-outs, no touchscreen.
Surprisingly good with colour photos, Canon's mid-range printer makes a stab at all-in-one glory. It fails largely because of its rather hit-and-miss quality and slow speeds, though the easy WiFi connectivity impresses. Only good for use in a home office environment, where speed or high volumes would never be an issue.