Canon PIXMA MG5150 review
9.7ipm print speed, USB, 455x368x160mm
Canon's PIXMA MG5150 is one of the cheaper multifunction printers (MFPs) around. You'd be hard-pressed to tell, though – it's built with the same glossy, expensive-looking plastics as the other two PIXMAs here, and it's one of the best-looking devices overall. Although it's a new model, the basic design is fairly familiar, being similar to previous models.
At this price, you'd expect some compromises, but this MFP is remarkably well-equipped. It prints with five inks, has the same high print resolution as the most highly specified devices, two paper trays and a built-in duplexer for automatic two-sided printing. The scanner's 1,200x2,400dpi resolution is plenty for most creative jobs, there's a PictBridge port, and the card reader supports most common formats. Even the small 6cm colour screen is big enough to be practical.
In fact, the MG5150's only clear disadvantage is the lack of built-in network connectivity – there's just a USB port. This isn't a problem if you intend to use it with only one computer, but it presents problems otherwise: although Windows computers and many network-attached storage devices will let you share a printer across a network, they won't support an MFP's card-reader or scanner.
Setting the MG5150 up is painless, though as with many other printers here it does involve inserting the print heads before fitting the ink tanks. There are five of these; a large pigment black tank for text printing, and black, cyan, magenta and yellow dye inks for photo prints. While the black contributes a considerable 3p to the cost of an A4 page, competitive colour ink pricing helps to keep the overall price to a reasonable 8.6p.
The pigment-based black ink helps the MG5150 deliver good quality text on plain paper, although at 9.9 pages per minute (ppm) in draft mode it's fairly unhurried. Fortunately, the normal mode is barely any slower, meaning that high-quality letter printing is actually rather quick for an inkjet. More expensive devices are quicker when it comes to colour and photo printing, however.
Surprisingly, perhaps, the MG5150's print quality holds its own against even the best printers here. Plain paper copies are very good, with well-judged exposure settings and very few imperfections or artefacts. Colour prints have little banding in the solid fills or gradients of business graphics, although the dye ink does mean that they lack a little impact. Photo prints are also among the best. While there's a slight softness to the details, it's impossible to spot any grain and most shades are reproduced faithfully. Whether printing from a PC or directly from a card, colours are given a slight boost in saturation that, in most cases, lifts the results without making them garish.
The MG5150's scanner is a match for its competent printer. It's quick, taking just six seconds to preview an A4 page and only three times as long to capture it at 300 dots per inch (dpi), and the results are great. While the focus wasn't as sharp as we'd like, the full range of colours are captured very accurately, with only the very darkest shades of black tending to merge together somewhat.
The stylish MG5150 comprises a high-quality printer and scanner that work together to produce excellent results that embarrasses some of its pricier competition. It's great value to buy and run and lacks only network connectivity, making it a clear Budget Buy winner.