It was only about nine months ago that we looked at the predecessor of the Canon PIXMA MP280 – the MP270 – and were genuinely impressed with the performance, features and quality of that extremely economical All-in-One inkjet printer. We were therefore holding our breath for even greater things from the MP280, but unfortunately the reality has proved to be unexpectedly disappointing.
The dimensions (450 x 335 x 153mm) and weight (5.5kg) are virtually identical to the MP270, which makes the MP280 perfect for cramped working spaces, and the previous shades of cream and black have now been replaced by a glossy all-black, no-nonsense colour scheme. As before, the rear input tray holds up to 100 sheets of A4, there’s a self-opening drop-down output tray at the front and connection with a PC is via USB lead only.
What you won’t find here is a separate automatic document feeder, a memory card reader or WiFi setup. However, the MP270 at least had a PictBridge enabled USB port at the front for transferring images from digital cameras or plugging in flash cards: the MP280 has inexplicably done away with that.
On the other hand, the on-board control system which was the one weak area of the MP270 has remained unaltered, so the tiny LCD still flashes up incomprehensible symbols for cleaning and aligning print heads. Also, printing between 10 and 19 copies requires the exact number of pages to be loaded into the rear tray, which is highly inconvenient. So it’s best to rely on the supplied software which is clear, well laid out, efficient and now includes the capability of printing stills from Full HD movies.
Claimed print speeds are the same as for the MP270 and in practice the draft quality black text documents emerged fractionally quicker than announced (9ppm rather than 8.4ppm), with high quality versions reducing to 2ppm. 10 x 15cm colour photos were slightly nippier than their predecessor at an average speed of 35 seconds and A4 colour photos were considerably faster at 2 minutes and 35 seconds each.
Like the MP270, the quality of black text documents is uniformly high for a low-spec multifunction printer but regrettably there’s been a significant drop-off in the quality of photo images. The occasional yellow tinge that appeared in A4 photos on the MP270 has now been replaced by a much more noticeable orange hue in the MP280, and both A4 and 10 x 15cm prints are markedly soft. Copies just exacerbate the degree of softness and introduce areas of rainbow streaks, even though print resolutions remain at the same maximum 4,800 x 1,200dpi as the MP270.
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