The UK VAT rate, as we all know, has risen to 20 per cent – and that has made all of us much more cautious when buying electrical goods. However, one area that seems to be almost impervious to the up and downs of the money market is that of the humble printer, and the slightly-less-humble multifunction printer (MFP).
We recently reviewed the Canon PIXMA MG5150 all-in-one, and were astonished to find that so much could be achieved at the incredibly low price of £74. Now we’ve got our hands on that machine’s big sister, the PIXMA MG5250, where significant modifications and additions have been made and yet current online sales prices still hover around the £100 mark.
Outwardly there’s very little to distinguish the two models. The shiny piano black exterior and compact dimensions (455x368x160mm) are identical, although the MG5250 is a little heavier at 8.1kg. It has the same dual paper inputs with a rear tray holding 150 sheets and a front tray (which remains a bit awkward to pull out) that has the same capacity. The automatic output tray stays neatly folded up until you need to start printing.
The MG5250 control system is also unchanged from that of the 5150, with a hinged 2.4in colour LCD screen (which, alas, still has a tendency to flop down at less than a 45-degree angle) and a clear, large and well-labelled collection of command buttons allied to a circular (and occasionally over-sensitive) selection dial. Beneath the power button at the front is a panel concealing three memory card slots (for CompactFlash, SD and Memory Stick) and below them is USB input for Flash memory and PictBridge enabled cameras.
The major difference between the MG5250 and the MG5150 is the addition of Wi-Fi connectivity, which is set up via the supplied software disc and the USB port at the back of the machine. Direct Disc printing is the other useful newcomer, and the unit that performs this is snugly tucked into the roof of the output area. You still have the five single ink tanks as before as well as the Auto Duplex facility – although this isn’t one of the MG5250′s speediest features.
Scanner speeds are roughly the same as those of the MG5150, at about 17 seconds – but the maximum resolution has been doubled to 2400x4800dpi, thus providing much better quality images.
As for printing, standard quality black text documents were averaging around 11ppm, with draft quality slightly quicker at 14ppm. However, draft text quality is thin and weedy and even standard quality is no more than adequate.
Where the PIXMA MG5250 really shines, though, is in the photo department. In our tests, A4 photo prints and copies emerged in a lightning 45 seconds, and 10x15cm standard snaps in just 17 seconds. Copies of photos made by the MG5150 had a habit of losing heavily in detail and saturation, but not here – we noticed only minimal loss of either, and the overall vividness and authenticity of colours, the solidity of blacks and subtlety of contrast in all photo images produced by this MFP are exceptionally good.
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