Canon PIXMA MX515 review
Canon's PIXMA MX515 is a small inkjet MFP aimed at the home office. Its smart chassis contains a practical set of features including a fax modem and a 30-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF). Like many home devices there's support for wireless networking, but Canon has also included a wired Ethernet port – a more reliable option for an MFP if it's within reach of your router. Only one interface can be active at a time, so to use the network port you need to disable the wireless first.
The MX515 is comparatively simple when compared to high-end models in the PIXMA range. There's a single paper input tray with a capacity of only 100 sheets. The input tray is mostly protected from dust by the output tray above it, but when empty both can be folded up neatly. To the left are two memory card slots, while the top panel is given over to the ADF – which folds closed when not needed – and the control system.
We have mixed feelings about the MX515's controls. Its small screen is clear, but you can't alter the display's angle for easier viewing. To navigate you use a mix of three dedicated buttons below the screen and a four-way rocker switch without an OK button in the centre; a set-up that we found counter-intuitive and sometimes simply confusing. On the other hand, there's a great looking system of blank buttons which only light up with additional options when they're relevant; a neat trick that greatly reduces clutter.
This isn't a slow text printer, but on graphical jobs it was one of the most lethargic inkjets we've reviewed in some time. Our colour graphics test inched out at just 2.3ppm, while each postcard-sized photograph took three minutes. Fortunately, the results were uniformly good, with stronger colours on plain paper than we've seen from other Canon inkjets. Duplexed (double-sided) prints were less impressive, as they were noticeably fainter despite lengthy drying pauses. These pauses also contributed to their slow speed; 10 sides of colour printed onto five pages took six minutes, 26 seconds.
Canon's scan interface is simple to use and the results here were more than capable
Our scanner tests underlined the advantage of a wired network port over Wi-Fi; the MX515 was as fast over Ethernet as when connected via USB, completing a 600dpi photo scan in just 21 seconds. Captured images were in sharp focus with accurate colours, and the scanner only struggled to distinguish the two very darkest shades in our test pattern. Copy quality was also far above average, with colour copies particularly accurate.
Despite its modest price, this MFP combines a good set of features that generally perform well, but it's let down by comparatively high print costs – particularly for black-only pages which cost 3p each. It's not a bad choice if you're after something stylish for light use, but if low running costs are more important we'd recommend Kodak's ESP Office 2170.
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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