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Canon Pixma MX340 review

Verdict:

This is a well-designed budget Soho all-in-one, but running costs are on the high side.

Review Date: 5 May 2010

Price when reviewed: (

Reviewed By: Simon Williams

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

Canon's MX range of all-in-ones is aimed at the small and home business, as opposed to the MP range targeted at photo enthusiasts, so the Pixma MX340 includes an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) and fax facilities, but no photo card readers or photo feed tray.

It looks like most of the machines in the MX range, with the lid of the scanner built up into a surround for the ADF and with the control panel set into this. This printer is coloured in black and ice white, and the sheet feed can take up to 30 sheets. The only print paper feed is a single tray at the back, which has a pull-up paper support. You'll need to remove any plain paper to load photo blanks. Paper feeds to the inside of the front cover, which folds down to become the output tray.

The control panel includes a two-line by 16-character LCD display, though this would be improved by a backlight. To the right of the display is a number pad for fax dialling, while on the left there are three large mode buttons for scan, copy and fax. There are no memory card slots, but there is a PictBridge socket at the bottom of the front panel, so you can print photos direct from a camera.

There's a USB socket at the rear, but the Pixma MX340 is also wifi-compatible and wireless setup is easy, as you can use the number pad to enter any security passcode your router might require. Software installation is straightforward and Canon includes its MP Navigator app, which enables OCR as well as scanned document management.

Canon is more honest than many suppliers with its speed specs, quoting normal mode speeds and using the ISO speed tests, to give it rated speeds of 7.5ppm for black and 4.5ppm for colour. We recorded 6.4ppm for black, which is pretty close to spec, though we could only manage 2.3ppm for our five-page text and colour graphics print. A 15 x 10cm photo took one minute nine seconds.

These speeds aren't bad for a printer costing £70 and are higher than from some rival machines, where manufacturers quote silly, draft speeds of 20ppm and 30ppm. Copy speeds are also very reasonable, with a single colour page taking 40 seconds and a five-page black text copy from the ADF coming in at one minute 18 seconds.

Print quality has always been a strong point with Canon machines, but there are a few chinks in the armour, here. Black text is a little more fuzzy than usual and black over colour shows a little bleeding. Areas of pale, colour fills also show noticeable dither patterns, but none of these misdemeanours will be problems in normal use.

There are just two ink cartridges in this machine, black and tri-colour, but they're both available in standard and high yield versions. We used the high yield consumables in our calculations, as they give better economy, and came out with page costs of 3.6p for ISO black and 8.6p for ISO colour. Neither of these figures is particularly good, and they lie between 1p and 1.5p per page higher than some of the machine's direct competitors.

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