Similar in many ways to the Canon Pixma MG4220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-in-One, the Canon Pixma MG5420 Wireless Photo All-In-One Printer starts with essentially the same strengths, including better than average text quality for an inkjet multi-function printer (MFP), and then builds on them to offer a substantially more capable printer for only a little more money. In particular, it offers better photo quality and the ability to print on optical discs. The combination, plus the unusually high quality text, makes it a good fit for home, home office, or both.
Like the MG4220, the MG5420 is best understood as a home-oriented MFP that can also serve for light-duty use in a home office. However, it lacks some important office-centric features, with no fax capability and no automatic document feeder (ADF), which means its letter-size flatbed sets the limit for the maximum paper size for scanning. It also lacks wired network support, offering only Wi-Fi for a network connection.
Basic MFP features are limited to printing, scanning, and copying. Additional features include scanning directly to or printing from a memory card, including printing directly from a memory card to a printable optical disc. You can also preview images on memory cards with the 3.0-inch color display before printing.
Paper handling is relatively meager. The 125-sheet input capacity is a bit more than the MG4220 offers, but still suitable only for light-duty use even in a home office. One small plus is a second tray for photos only, which can hold up to 20 sheets of 4 by 6 photo paper to let you print photos without having to swap out the paper in the main tray. Also very much on the plus side is a built-in duplexer (for two-sided printing), which also works for two-sided copying. With no ADF, however, placing and turning over pages on the flatbed is a strictly manual task.
Setup and Speed
I ran my tests using a USB connection to a system running Windows Vista. Setup was standard, but with one annoying hiccough. The printer refused to print the automatic alignment page the first two times I tried, showing an unhelpful error code on the front panel LCD and telling me to try again. After I turned the printer off, then on again, the alignment page printed, and I had no other problems. I’d be a lot more comfortable with this issue if the error message had told me something useful. However, once I got past setup, everything worked well enough.
The best that can be said for the MG5420′s speed is that it’s not sluggish enough to count as a serious problem. I timed the printer on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing) at an effective 2.5 pages per minute (ppm).
That makes it a bit faster than the MG4220, at 2.1 ppm, but notably slower than the similarly priced Editors’ Choice Epson WorkForce WF-3520 at 4.4 ppm or the Editors’ Choice Brother MFC-J825DW , at 4.0 ppm. Also helping is that it scored better for photo speed. The 1 minute 4 second average for a 4 by 6 makes it a few seconds faster per photo than the WF-3520 and almost a minute faster than the MFC-J825DW.
Quality and Other Issues
Whatever the MG5420 loses for speed, it makes up for with output quality that’s easily above par overall, with typical graphics quality for an inkjet MFP and notably better text and photo quality than most. Edges on text characters aren’t quite as crisp as you’d get from a laser, but the text is much more readable at small font sizes than text from most inkjets, and it’s easily good enough for any business use short of desktop publishing.
Graphics quality is at the high end of the range where most inkjet MFPs fall, making it easily good enough for any internal business use, including PowerPoint handouts. Depending on how much of a perfectionist you are, you may consider it suitable for output going to an important client or customer. Photo quality is notably better than most inkjet MFPs can deliver, and better than you’ll get from many drug store photos.
One minor issue for the MG5420 is that although it comes with a program for printing on optical discs, it’s not obvious where to find the command for printing discs in the program. However, the information is in the onscreen manual, so it’s not all that hard to find. One other feature worth mention is mobile printing, including support for AirPrint and for printing through the cloud. To use mobile printing, however, you have to connect the printer to a network by Wi-Fi, since the printer doesn’t offer Ethernet.
The best argument for considering this printer is its output quality. Few inkjet MFPs can match it for text quality, which makes it a good choice for light-duty home office use, and few can match it for photo quality, which makes it a great choice for home use. Add in the reasonably good graphics quality and the acceptable, if not impressive, speed, plus the ability to print from and scan to a memory card as well as print on a disc, and the Canon Pixma MG5420 Wireless Photo All-In-One Printer can be an attractive choice for home, office, or the dual role of home and home office MFP.
More Multi-function Printer Reviews:
|Standalone Copier and Fax||Copier|
|Printer Category||Ink Jet|
|Direct Printing from Cameras||No|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||Legal|
|Ink Jet Type||Photo All-Purpose|
|Color or Monochrome||1-pass color|
|Connection Type||USB, Wireless|
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