Canon Pixma MX850

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  • $199.99

The Canon Pixma MX850 is a small, versatile multifunction printer suited to a small office looking for a cheap, do-it-all machine. It offers a broad range of features and reasonable document print quality, but don't expect top quality colour prints.

The design of multifunction printers seen to be a pretty standard affair these days, paper tray out back, print feed out the front and a lid that lifts to reveal a scanner. The top scanner tray felt a little flimsy with clunky hinges, but this is not uncommon in printers of this size and price.

At 51cm by 48cm by 26cm and weighing in at around 14 kilograms, the Canon Pixma MX850 isn't light or portable, but you should still be able to squeeze it onto your desk. It comes in a sleek black with grey finish. In all, for its level of functionality, the MX850 is a fairly compact printer.

If you can't find the compact flash and SD card readers, it's because they are hidden behind the little black door underneath the numerical console on the front. The USB port on the front on the machine was a poor design choice — it sits back inside a slot that none of the four USB sticks we tried were able to fit.

The display panel comes with a 2.5-inch colour LCD display which is bright and easy to read. When you move between different printer functions, the cute LCD helpfully shows the level of inks remaining in each tank. The display can also swivel to face forward or tilt down slightly — in case you're one and a half feet tall or have bizarrely put the printer above head-height.

The MX850 comes with five separate ink cartridges — a double-sized black for documents and four colour tanks for black, yellow, magenta and cyan. The ink cartridges are a breeze to install, just lift the lid and click into place, and a red light will come on.

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The Pixma MX850 comes with a descriptive visual quick start guide, so we had no trouble installing the print head or the inks. Driver installation was equally quick and painless on our Windows XP SP2 machine. The printer also supports Max OS X versions later than 10.3.8.

The print manual is straightforward and clearly written, and the printer also comes with a handy digital manual with more details.

All inks for the MX850 have an RRP of AU$27. Using Canon's claimed yields, A4 black and white prints work out at about 5 cents a page. A4 colour pages come out at around 4 cents — quite reasonable.

When trying to connect the MX850, we came across a minor hitch: it's impossible with the box contents. While it's not usual for a printer to come supplied without a USB cable, if you don't have a spare lying around, make sure you pick one up with your printer purchase. Otherwise you might feel a bit like you'd bought a new car with no steering wheel.

The MX850 has a range of features associated with a multifunction printer — copying, multiple scanning, fax, as well as black-and-white and duplex printing.

The MX850 comes with a raft of software that we found to be intuitive, quick and helpful. These included an image manager, quick scanning software, album, sticker and calendar printing options, along with a digital manual. The printer also comes supplied with an Ethernet port, a handy addition that has the added bonus of a software network tool to help you network the printer should you so desire. Another useful extra is the inclusion of a 33.6 Kbps fax, although it only supports black and white documents when faxing directly from the machine.

Warranty on the MX850 is 12 months, which is pretty standard for a multifunction printer of this size. The warranty can be upgraded to 36 months for an additional AU$99.

Performance and Image quality
Canon claim that the MX850 can pump out 31 pages per minute (ppm) black and white; our tests came out at 13 ppm for a sparse document, less than half as fast as promised in standard configuration. In high speed printing mode, the MX850 managed 20 ppm, but print quality was noticeably degraded — blacks became grey and text became slightly grainy. None the less, 13 pages per minute is still a reasonable speed for a desktop multifunction.

Document duplex printing is slow on the MX850, expect between 1 and 2 ppm, but we like the fact that you can set the printer to automatically duplex — every tree you save is also a few cents you save.

Colour printing in standard quality came out at just over 3 ppm, and in fast mode managed a respectable 8 ppm, however this is only a third of Cannon's promised 24 ppm. In addition, the print quality at highest speed is appalling, with faded, grainy colours.

If you turn the quality setting up and asked the MX850 to delivery on print colour quality, it performs solidly. Most colours are reproduced faithfully, and if you're looking to print office documents, the MX850 should fit the bill just fine.

However, if you're looking to print photographs, perhaps look elsewhere. Lighter colours seem to come with a washed-out look, while oranges and yellows come out with a fluoro tinge. Black can come out slightly blue. High quality colour prints come out at a bit less than 2 ppm.

Scanning is quick and quality is excellent, for both colour and black and white — and this endears the MX850 to us as an office printer. Strangely, colours seemed to be reproduced more faithfully when images printed on the MX850 were colour photocopied. Colour photocopying also seems to be fast than straight colour printing.

For AU$449 including GST the Canon Pixma MX850 is a reliable and versatile office warrior, and would ideally suite the small office looking for broad functionality. If you're looking for speedy, high quality photo and documents prints without all the bells and whistles of the MX850, perhaps consider the Konica Minolta Magicolor 4650DN. If you like the look of the MX850, but want to save a few dollars, there is always its smaller cousin, the MX700.


Copier Type digital
Printing Technology Ink-jet - color - photo
Fax Type Plain paper
Display Diagonal Size 2.5"
Inkjet Technology Canon FINE (Full-lithography inkjet Nozzle Engineering)
Minimum Ink Droplet Size 1 pl
Technology Ink-jet
Connectivity Technology Wired
Direct Printing Specifications Canon Direct Print, PictBridge
Type Multifunction printer
Supported Flash Memory CompactFlash, IBM Microdrive, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, miniSD, xD-Picture Card
Display Diagonal Size 2.5"
Display Diagonal Size (metric) 6.4 cm
Microsoft Certifications Certified for Windows Vista
Consumables Included 1 x ink tank (pigmented black) - up to 505 pages - Canon PGI-5BK
1 x ink tank (cyan) - up to 890 pages - Canon CLI-8C
1 x ink tank (magenta) - up to 665 pages - Canon CLI-8M
1 x ink tank (yellow) - up to 710 pages - Canon CLI-8Y
Max Copying Speed Up to 31 ppm (mono) / up to 24 ppm (color)
Max Copying Speed B/W 31 ppm
Max Copying Speed Color 24 ppm
Max Document Enlargement 400 %
Max Document Reduction 25 %
Automatic Duplexing Yes
Maximum Copies 99
Copying Features 2 on 1, 4 on 1, BorderFree
Environmental Standards
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Max Printing Resolution Up to 600 x 600 dpi (mono) / up to 9600 x 2400 dpi (color)
Max Printing Speed Up to 31 ppm (mono) / up to 24 ppm (color)
Max Resolution B/W 600 x 600 dpi
Max Resolution Color 9600 x 2400 dpi
Max Printing Speed B/W (ppm) 31 ppm
Max Printing Speed Color (ppm) 24 ppm
Color 5-ink
Minimum Ink Droplet Size 1 pl
Inkjet Technology Canon FINE (Full-lithography inkjet Nozzle Engineering)
Operating System Support MS Windows XP, MS Windows 2000, MS Windows Vista, Apple Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later
Software Included Drivers & utilities, Presto! PageManager, ScanSoft OmniPage SE, Canon Easy CD LabelPrint, Canon Easy-PhotoPrint EX, Canon MP Navigator EX
Document & Media Handling
Max Media Size Legal
Document & Media Handling Details ADF - 35 sheets
Input tray - 150 sheets
Paper cassette - 150 sheets
CD/DVD tray
Speed Details Copying: up to 31 ppm - B/W
Copying: up to 24 ppm - color
Printing: up to 31 ppm - B/W
Printing: up to 24 ppm - color
Max Original Size Legal (8.5 in x 14 in)
Original Type sheets
Document Feeder ADF
Document Feeder Capacity 35 sheets
Media Type Class envelopes, other, photo paper, plain paper
Media Size Class Legal
Supported Media Type cards, envelopes, labels, photo paper, plain paper, printable CD/DVD disk
Standard Media Capacity 300 sheets
Brand Canon
Product Line Canon PIXMA
Model MX850
Packaged Quantity 1
Interface Required
Type LAN, USB 2.0
Total Qty 1
Office Machine
Type fax / copier / printer / scanner
Functions copier, fax, printer, scanner
Fax Type plain paper
Printing Technology ink-jet
Printing Output Type color
Dimensions & Weight
Width 20 in
Depth 19 in
Height 10.2 in
Weight 30.64 lbs
Optical Resolution 9600 x 4800 dpi
Interpolated Resolution 19200 x 19200 dpi
Color Depth 24 bit
Color Depth (Internal) 48-bit
Scan Element CIS
Fax Machine
Compatibility Super G3
Max Transmission Speed 33.6 Kbps
Total Memory Capacity 250 pages
Fax Machine Features
Speed Dialing 100 station(s)
Consumables Included
Type ink tank
Product Name Canon CLI-8C, Canon CLI-8M, Canon CLI-8Y, Canon PGI-5BK
Duty Cycle 505 pages, 665 pages, 710 pages, 890 pages
Color cyan, magenta, pigmented black, yellow
Included Qty 1
Printing System
Inkjet Technology Canon FINE (Full-lithography inkjet Nozzle Engineering)
Color 5-ink
Photo Printing Capability Yes
Minimum Ink Droplet Size 1 pl
Document & Media Handling Details
Type ADF, CD/DVD tray, input tray, paper cassette
Media Feeder Capacity 150 sheets, 35 sheets
Operating System Support Apple Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, MS Windows 2000, MS Windows Vista, MS Windows XP
Software Included Canon Easy CD LabelPrint, Canon Easy-PhotoPrint EX, Canon MP Navigator EX, Presto! PageManager, ScanSoft OmniPage SE, drivers & utilities
Speed Details
Function copying, printing
Max Speed 24 ppm, 31 ppm
Mode B/W, color
PC Connectivity
Connection Availability Yes
Interface LAN, USB 2.0
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included phone consulting
Full Contract Period 1 year

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