Canon Pixma MG4150 review
Frustrating controls aside, this is a good budget MFP. It's a shame, then, that it's more expensive than better models from Canon's own range
Review Date: 16 Apr 2012
Price when reviewed: £97
Reviewed By: Simon Handby
Canon's Pixma MG4150 is one of many inkjet multifunction peripherals in the PIXMA range. It's designed as an affordable but well-specified device for home users; it has a comprehensive control panel with a colour screen, can print on both sides of a sheet of paper automatically, and can connect to a wireless home network.
The MG4150 looks and feels like a quality item. It's made from glossy, firm black plastics, and most of the controls and covers feel precisely engineered. One example of this is the scanner's hinges, which telescope smoothly upwards by a couple of centimetres to accommodate thicker originals without wobbling around.
Unlike some other models in the range, the MG4150 has only a single paper tray. This is slung under the printer body and incorporates an extending paper stop that's far longer than necessary for the input stack. Instead, it's used to arrest paper as it overreaches the output tray, which is a simple, short flap that folds up to form a cover when the printer's not in use. It's an unusual arrangement, but it works well in practice.
This MFP uses a button-based control system that uses a combined jog wheel, selection button and rocker switch that we've seen on other budget PIXMA MFPs. While it initially looks user-friendly, in practice it's far from ideal. Things are complicated further by the use of three dedicated selection buttons immediately under the screen.
At the top level of the user menu the jog wheel is used to move between pages, each of which has three icons that line up with a button, which is the only way to select them. Sub-menus generally present multiple icons which you scroll between using the jog wheel and select with its central button. This is a far more intuitive process, but the options are sometimes listed vertically, sometimes horizontally, making it rather inconsistent.
While the hardware controls can be frustrating, Canon's scan and print interfaces are among the best, making this a simple MFP to operate with a PC. It's fairly quick when printing black text on plain paper, and at the default setting it's hard to tell the excellent results from a laser printer's output.
Things are less convincing when printing graphics, however, with colour and photo prints both rather slow. On plain paper we noticed subtle horizontal banding, and the results were a touch faint. Colour photos had less saturated, slightly more natural colours than we've seen from other Canon inkjets, but those with sharp eyes could spot a tiny amount of grain in their lighter regions.
While greyscale photocopies were a touch too dark, colour copies were rather good. The quick scanner was also impressive, with an extremely accurate focus, although it was a little disappointing when it came to preserving shade details in darker photos.
With its reasonable running costs this could be a worthy budget MFP, but at the time of our review it cost more to buy than the Canon Pixma MG5250, a more highly specified model in the same range. As such, it's hard to recommend just yet.
See our sister site PC PRO for a review of the just-released Canon Pixma MG4250, a £55 multi-function device.
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