Canon PIXMA MX885 review

Simon Handby
31 Jul 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

It's not the cheapest MFP to buy or run, but if you don't mind the premium, the MX885 combines great looks, a great specification and great results



print speed, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless, 218x491x448mm

Canon's MX885 is the latest in a line of strikingly attractive printers in Canon's PIXMA range. It's a fairly big, glossy black device with a large colour screen and a spattering of blue status LEDs. The control panel seems to have a blank 4x4 grid of buttons, but when powered up these illuminate with icons relevant to the selected mode. It looks smart, and it's easier to use than the combined scrollwheel and rocker switch used on the MX420 (see What's New, issue 281).

The MX885 is a range-topping inkjet multifunction peripheral (MFP) aimed at home or small office use, so its specification is impressive. There's support for wired and wireless networks, along with direct printing from various memory cards, flash drives or PictBridge devices. It can send and receive faxes in addition to the usual prints, scans and copies. The fax function isn't just an afterthought; it's partnered with a 35-sheet automatic document feeder that can automatically capture both sides of an original (duplex), making it ideal for scanning or faxing multi-page documents. The printer can perform the same trick, so it's possible to make faithful copies of double-sided originals – though you'll have to dig into the menu to change the necessary settings.

Canon PIXMA MX885 2

Like several other PIXMA models, the MX885 has both a rear paper tray and a cassette underneath, each of which can hold up to 150 sheets. It's a useful facility for a home business, letting you store plain paper in one and invoices or headed paper in the other. Frustratingly, however, the printer seems reluctant to pick from the rear tray without being asked expressly to do so. Another frustration we experienced was that the printer would occasionally undertake housekeeping, delaying printing and sometimes the MFP's other functions.

Our only other criticism of note relates to the MX885's running costs, which are a little high for such an expensive device and, more importantly, aren't as low as some of the competition – notably Kodak's range and some Epson products. The printer uses Canon's familiar five-ink setup comprising black, cyan, magenta and yellow for graphics and photos, with an additional black pigment ink used on plain paper only. While all five cartridges have a generous capacity, they aren't particularly cheap.

Print quality was high across our tests, with the MX885 quick to deliver bold and reasonably sharp black text. With the benefit of dye-based colour inks, the printer produced far better photos than typical for a business-orientated device, but this didn't come at the expense of poor quality colour graphics on plain paper. Photocopies were better than average, too, with good preservation of dark shades and faithful colour reproduction.

Canon PIXMA MX885

The MX885's scanner matches the high quality of its printer. It's quick, managing a full-bed preview in just six seconds, and the quality of its scanned images is among the best: they're sharp, with highly accurate colours and excellent preservation of subtle details. There are cheaper four-in-one MFPs with lower running costs – such as the Kodak ESP Office 2170 – but the MX885's looks and top-quality results justify its premium price.

Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution9,600x2,400dpi
Max optical resolution2,400x4,800dpi
Output bit depth24-bit

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.03m 23s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.05m 11s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Optional printer interfacesBluetooth
Noise (in normal use)44.9dB(A)

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight300gsm
Standard paper inputs2
Standard paper input capacity300
Maximum paper inputs2
Maximum paper input capacity300
Duplex (code, cost if option)Yes


Printer technologythermal inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later
Other inkjet features7.5cm colour screen, automatic head alignment
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Consumable parts and prices£9 each
Price per colour A4 page5.7p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge341 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)Black (dye) 3,005 pages, cyan 520 pages, magenta 500 pages, yellow 515 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)n/a
Warrantyone year

Print Quality

Number of ink colours5
Number of ink cartridges5
Maximum number of ink colours5
Maximum number of cartridges5
Quoted photo durability30 years
Quoted photo durability sourceCanon

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview6s
A4 document at 150dpi10s
A4 document at 300dpi21s
6x4in photo at 600dpi20s
6x4in photo at 1200dpi59s

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.014s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.022s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.03m 4s

Photo Features

PictBridge supportYes
Borderless printingA4
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsUSB flash, CF, SD, SDHC, Memory Stick Pro, Microdrive, MMC
CD printingNo

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies99

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolution300x300dpi
Fax memory (maximum mono pages)250