Canon PIXMA MP540 review

Costs less, does more. Great printing, great build, great value.

14 Nov 2008
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT


The PIXMA MP540 is a fine looking device, and while it may not be quite as tiny as the Brother, it's compact for the range of features it provides.

An LCD, card reader, two paper trays, single ink tanks and a 2400dpi scanner are just a few highlights. The Canon has an internal paper tray underneath its base, giving it a smaller footprint than rivals with sticking-out trays. There's also a rear tray to feed heavier paper stock such as high grade photo papers.

Setup took a little longer than expected, with about ten minutes between installing the ink tanks and the printer being ready to go. There's one unique and very useful indicator: when you correctly insert an ink tank, a light comes on. Simple, but it takes the mystery out of the process. The onboard menus are easy to follow, but the click wheel used to navigate all the options was a little fiddly, and it was too easy to skip past our choice.

Print quality was exceptionally good, with natural colours and excellent detail on every page. Text in both draft and best modes remained sharp, without any ink spreading beyond the edges of characters. Ten pages of best text took 16 minutes and 50 seconds, which is too slow if you need lots of text regularly, but this was the only blemish.

The scanner was fast, with our 300dpi A4 test image ready in 19 seconds. The final result was sharp and accurate, and we appreciated the fact that the scanner was quiet in operation.

We found the Canon MP540 on sale for just £65 including delivery. Considering the great design, level of features and output quality, that's a superb deal. The four separate ink tanks cost £7.99 each, plus £8.99 for the photo black (optional if you don't print photos), adding up to a fairly reasonable £41 to replace all the inks.

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