|Name||Inkjet multifunction printer: Canon MG3260|
|At a glance:||Great monochrome print speed,Good photo print quality, reasonable colour accuracy,Wi-Fi enabled, includes USB cable,Only scans at 600dpi|
|Summary:||Best overall value-for-money upfront, and good value in the long term if you buy the high-capacity ink cartridges.|
Canon's MG33260 is the updated version of the MG3160 we tested in February 2012. It’s a basic Wi-Fi-enabled inkjet multifunction printer, with an RRP of $109 and a shelf price as low as $75 from major retailers.
The MG3260 is easy enough to set up, and in a welcome defiance of convention, actually includes a USB cable. Bravo, Canon. Bravo. The printer has a nine-button interface that’s a little more complex than it needs to be, with a single-digit LED display that requires the manual to interpret. Well, unless you’re just entering the copy quantity when using it as a standalone copier, in which case, you’ll probably be fine.
The software bundle that comes with the printer includes Canon Quick Menu for printing, changing settings and scanning that will suck up a few hundred square pixels of desktop space if you’ll let it. Most people will find it useless, but it does offer a great way to quickly scan documents with pre-defined settings, if you’re doing a lot of that. Easy-WebPrint EX adds a web-page printing toolbar for Internet Explorer users, and My Image Garden lets you create cards, calendars and the like from your images. The latter was simple in concept but the interface made things harder than they had to be.
Black and white print speed was the fastest in our March 2013 roundup, at an impressive 9.8 pages per minute for text and lineart, 6.3 pages per minute for greyscale graphics. First pages popped out in 9 and 17 seconds, respectively. Colour print speeds were a little slower than the HP Deskjet 2510, at 2.7 pages per minute for graphics (first page in 32 seconds), and while an A4 full colour photo took 4 minutes and 12 seconds.
Print quality is good overall, though there were some subtle roller-marks when using any kind of photo paper. The marks are only detectable when photographs are viewed very close up, or under bright light from certain angles.
Colour accuracy exceeds that of the HP Deskjet 2510 and Brother DCP-J140W, but still appears oversaturated when compared to the Epson XP-200’s phenomenal prints. Manual adjustment of colour in the printer settings can go some way toward correcting this, but will cost you time and ink to get right.
Using the standard ink cartridges ($70/set), print costs are quite high at approximately 19 cents for a black and white page and 39 cents for a colour page. However, XL sized cartridges ($110/set) brings that down to more affordable 12 cents for a black and white page, and 27 cents for a colour page. An XXL black cartridge and XL colour ($120/set) will give you the best possible yield, at 10 cents (B&W) and 25 cents (colour), respectively.
A monochrome scanned slowest in our roundup at 18 seconds, but colour scans were the fastest at just 38 seconds (600 DPI). Unsurprisingly given the speed results, the MG3260 gave the best monochrome scan quality, but produced poor colour scans with a lot of image noise. However, even the lowest scan quality was perfectly reasonable for most home uses.
Strangely, the MG3260 (and the near-identical MG2260) was incapable of scanning as 1200 DPI, despite advertising the same 1200x2400 DPI scan resolution as its competitors. With the supplied Canon drivers, we could only scan at 600DPI. If you need to scan objects at very high detail – for instance, scanning your stamp collection, or getting the most detail out of old photographs – this is a limitation, and may make the MG3260 unsuitable.
Canon’s MG3260 is a superior photo printer to its closest-in-price competitor, the HP Deskjet 2510. However, the HP is a superior scanner, with greater sharpness and twice the scan resolution. Both printers deliver similar quality in text and line-art, and the Canon is faster with monochrome while the HP is faster with colour.
Also tested this month but not reviewed here is the MG2260 – essentially the same printer without the Wi-Fi, and with slightly slower print speeds. In our tests, both had the same print quality – unsurprising, as the print head is built into the ink cartridges, and both printers use the same cartridge models. (This means per-page costs are the same, too.) If you’re not too concerned about print speed, and don’t need the Wi-Fi feature, the MG2260 has an RRP of just $79 and sells for as little as $45.
We’d recommend the MG3260, as it’s the lowest-priced Wi-Fi-enabled printer we tested, and it has better photo quality than the (more expensive) Epson XP-200. Unless scan quality is more important to you than print quality, we’d also recommend it over the HP Deskjet 2510.