Canon PIXMA MG8150 review
Canon's PIXMA MG8150 is positively hulking. Fortunately it disguises its heft to some extent with a stylish black finish. Although it costs a lot, there's little in its specifications to justify the price. The two main features are a largish 8.8cm screen and the ability to scan film negatives. When doing so its scanner supports up to 4,800x9,600dpi, but on reflective originals the maximum resolution is limited to 4,800x4,800dpi.
Canon's install program is offers the choice of an XPS driver, supported in Windows Vista or later. In general, XPS should reduce the spooling time on some print jobs, but its chief advantage is an increase in the bit-depth used for each colour channel. This increases the theoretical range of colours (the gamut) that it's possible to send to a printer allowing for a greater number of more subtly different shades, but there's no guarantee that a printer will be able to reproduce them faithfully.
The six-colour print engine in the MG8150 is identical to the one in Canon's cheaper MG6150, which is no bad thing. As you might expect, it matched its times almost exactly across our suite of print tests and delivered indistinguishable results. There's more between the two when it comes to scanning, with the MG8150 significantly quicker on our 150dpi, 300dpi and 600dpi tests. Oddly, it was slightly slower on the 1,200dpi photo scan, but still the second fastest of the group.
We like Canon's scan interface which lets you choose different modes depending how experienced you are at scanning. By default it will only capture a single image per session, returning you to the application into which you're scanning, but there's an option to leave it open when capturing multiple images. There's also an option to play a music file while scanning which, out of curiosity, we enabled. The default MIDI file is awful, but substituting the Girl from Ipanema raised a smile.
Although our tests suggest there's no straightforward link between a printer's specifications and the quality of its results, the MG8150's highly-specified scanner did capture excellent-quality images. While we've seen several MFP scanners which have sharp enough focus to reveal tiny surface scratches on our test photo, the MG8150's uncovered even smaller imperfections. Very light and very dark details were captured, too.
Canon calls the controls on the PIXMA MG8150 the Intelligent Touch System. In theory it reduces clutter and makes using the device simple by only lighting up those actions that are relevant to the current menu. Although it's quick to respond and it looks great until mottled by fingerprints, we're fairly sure that a touchscreen is more intuitive still. It's also odd that the screen and primary controls are on the scanner lid. Although people rarely need to scan large objects, the controls could prove unreachable if the lid won't fully close.
A bigger disappointment considering the high purchase price is the high print costs. At 10p per page, it's one of the most expensive inkjet printers around at the moment. Although, this is an excellent multifunction device – and one of few that can capture and archive 35mm film – it's not worth the premium over the Epson PX720WD.
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