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Canon, Epson add Wi-Fi to new multifunction printers

Built-in wireless networking capability is slowly infiltrating the home printer market. At the end of last year, we highlighted a dirt-cheap monochrome laser, the Brother HL-2170W, and both Canon and Epson have recently announced a handful of new all-in-one inkjet printers that also feature built-in 802.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor on

Built-in wireless networking capability is slowly infiltrating the home printer market. At the end of last year, we highlighted a dirt-cheap monochrome laser, the Brother HL-2170W, and both Canon and Epson have recently announced a handful of new all-in-one inkjet printers that also feature built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. These four multifunction units are geared toward photo printing, though options are currently limited for sending digital photos wirelessly from camera to printer. Instead, you'll be stuck with the usual memory-card readers and PictBridge ports if you want to print directly from your digicam. All four printers also have an Ethernet port for wired networking connections.

Canon offers the $149.99 Pixma MP620 and the $299.99 Pixma MP980 (pictured). Both have Auto Photo Fix on-board; it makes basic image corrections like red-eye removal without the need for manual editing. The MP980 offers several notable features to justify it costing twice as much as the MP620, including a larger 3.5-inch LCD, a separate gray-and-photo-black ink tank for improved black-and-white photo printing, and the ability to scan film negatives and slides. Epson introduces its new Artisan line of multifunctions with the $199.99 Artisan 700 and the $299.99 Artisan 800. Like the more expensive Pixma, the Artisan 800 sports a 3.5-inch LCD, but it also includes a fax (in addition to printing, copying, and scanning capabilities) and an automatic document feeder.

Presumably, there's a bit of a price premium placed on Wi-Fi-enabled printers, as consumers are expected to pay a little more for the convenience of adding the device to your home network sans wires. The question is: Is it worth the extra cost? If people answer "yes" at the checkout counter, we may see more (lower-priced) printers comes with wireless features sooner than later.

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