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Canon Pixma MX340 review

Kat Orphanides
18 Mar 2010
Canon Pixma MX340
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
81
inc VAT

The MX340 does everything, but its print costs make it unsuitable for high-volume printing.

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Specifications

8ppm print speed, USB, 802.11b/g wireless, 198x458x410mm

Canon has consistently impressed us with the quality of its recent MFPs, but they haven't had much appeal for the budget conscious, with most of current models priced at over £100.

At just over £80, the Pixma MX340 is a fully-featured four-in-one MFP with print, scan, copy and fax capabilities, as well as easy-to-configure 802.11b/g wireless networking. It has a modest 100 page paper tray and a 30-page Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) to make multi-page faxes and copies easy.

To include all these features at this price, Canon has made a few compromises – there's no memory card reader for starters. Unlike most of the Pixma range, the MX340 doesn't use individual ink cartridges. Instead, there's a pigment-based black cartridge, which is used to produce sharp, quick-drying mono text; plus a tri-colour cartridge, which contains dye-based cyan, magenta and yellow ink. Both these have integrated print heads.

There's no dye-based black, so black areas in photo prints are made by combining the three coloured inks. The use of a combined colour cartridge also means that you'll have to replace the entire cartridge if one ink runs out before the others.

The MX340's print costs, although expensive, aren't prohibitively high if you use Canon's high yield PC-512 and CL-513 cartridges – 8.7p per page of mixed colour and mono printing. A mono page is an alarming 3.6p, though. These costs are too high to make the MX340 a good choice if you print every day, but they're acceptable for occasional use.

Mono text was as sharp as we've come to expect from Canon, but we found that colour documents on plain 80gsm photocopier paper were printed with slightly too much ink, producing damp waves in areas that were filled with solid colour. Fortunately, they didn't smudge and dried smoothly when laid flat. Photo quality was surprisingly good for a printer that uses composite blacks – dark areas were a little pale in comparison to those from printers that use dye-based black for photo printing.

Thanks to Canon's use of the ISO/IEC 24734 standard, print speeds are almost exactly as advertised. Standard quality text emerged at reasonable 6.9ppm, but colour documents printed slowly at 1.7ppm.

The 1,200x2,400dpi Contact Image Sensor (CIS) scanner makes an unpleasant whining noise when operating, but produces accurately coloured scans and clear photocopies. Canon's ScanGear interface provides plenty of advanced options for tweaking your scans and can be configured to either close or remain open after each scan, which is particularly welcome if you want to scan a batch of documents or photos. You can also control whether your preview image is retained between scans.

If you're going to print regularly, you'll ultimately save money and get better print speeds and quality by investing in a more expensive device, like Canon's non-fax MP640. However, the MX340's combination of quality and features are great if you need a printer than can do everything, but not very often.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
Maximum native print resolution4,800x1,200dpi
Max optical resolution1,200x2,400dpi
Output bit depth48-bit

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A48ppm
Quoted speed, colour A45ppm

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.06m 19s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.04m 37s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, 802.11b/g wireless
Optional printer interfacesBluetooth adaptor (BU-30), £66
Size198x458x410mm
Weight8.6kg
Noise (in normal use)47dB(A)

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4
Maximum paper weight300gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity100
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity100
Duplex (code, cost if option)No

General

Printer technologythermal inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows 2000/XP/7, Mac OS X 10.4.11+
Other inkjet featuresmono LCD screen, automatic print head alignment
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Price£81
Consumable parts and prices220 page black cartridge PG-510, £12, 401 page black catridge PG-512, £14, 244 page colour catridge CL-511, £14, 349 page colour cartridge CL-513, £18
Price per colour A4 page5.1p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge220
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)244
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.office999.co.uk
Detailswww.canon.co.uk

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges2
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges2
Quoted photo durability30 years
Quoted photo durability sourceCanon

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview11s
A4 document at 150dpi19s
A4 document at 300dpi25s
6x4in photo at 600dpi33s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi1m 30s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.028s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.045s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.03m 18s

Photo Features

PictBridge supportYes
Borderless printingup to A4
Direct (PC-less) printingNo
Supported memory cardsnone
CD printingNo

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99
Max mono copy resolution1,200x1,200dpi
Max colour copy resolution1,200x1,200dpi

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolution300x300dpi
Fax memory (maximum mono pages)50