By August 17, 2010

Canon Pixma MP560 review

pixma-mp560This is the first Canon printer that I’ve looked at in years, the last one I owned was the BJC4000 so this is a review that I’ve been looking forward to ever since the guys over at IT247.com offered it to us.

There are a number of models in the PIXMA MP range all of which are multi-function devices. They are aimed at those that want to have a true all-in-one printer so claims to offer a photo-like print quality whilst being a capable of day-to-day document printing, scanning etc.

So have Canon managed to achieve this, can you truly have a single printer for all your home office needs? Read on to see what I think of this the Canon PIXMA MP560.

 

The 10 second review

  • Product: Canon PIXMA MP560 – Inkjet all-in-one printer
  • Price: £102.22 inc VAT
  • Summary: An attractive looking all-in-one model that wont break the bank
  • Best of: Good looking multifunction printer with some excellent features, great photos
  • Worst of: Slow printing of even basic documents, silly USB placement
  • Buy it now from: it247.com

 

What’s in the box?

  • The printer
  • Print Head
  • 5 colour ink tanks
  • Mains cable
  • Instruction manual
  • CD-ROM with drivers
  • Sample photo paper pack

 

Canon PIXMA MP560 specification:

  • Device Type: Printer / copier / scanner
  • Copier Type: Digital
  • Printing Technology: Ink-jet – colour – photo
  • Display Diagonal Size: 2"
  • Office Machine Features: Print from memory card, save to memory card, print from USB flash drive, save to USB flash drive
  • Width: 45.3 cm
  • Depth: 36.8 cm
  • Height: 16 cm
  • Weight: 8.1 kg
  • Max Original Size: A4 (210 x 297 mm), Letter A (216 x 279 mm)
  • Borderless Photo Sizes: ANSI A (Letter) (216 x 279 mm), A4 (210 x 297 mm), 100 x 150 mm, 130 x 180 mm, 200 x 250 mm
  • Supported Flash Memory: Memory Stick, CompactFlash, SD Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, USB flash drive, IBM Microdrive, MultiMediaCardplus, Memory Stick PRO Duo, SDHC Memory Card
  • Inkjet Technology: Canon FINE (Full-lithography inkjet Nozzle Engineering)
  • Max Printing Resolution: 9600 x 2400 dpi (colour)
  • Max Printing Speed: Up to 9.2 ppm (mono) / up to 6 ppm (colour)
  • Ink Cartridge Configuration: 5 individual ink tanks
  • Scan Element:CIS
  • Optical Resolution:2400 x 4800 dpi
  • Interpolated Resolution:19200 x 19200 dpi
  • Colour Depth:24 bit
  • Colour Depth (Internal):48 bit

 

General

An attractive looking printer finished in glossy black and silver plastic the PIXMA MP560 may in fact look more expensive than it is.

The front of the printer has a pull-down paper output tray and a 150 page capacity paper cassette below.

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On top you’ll find the flatbed scanner cover and towards the rear a straight-though paper bin.

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When all the trays and covers are closed the MP560 looks neat and tidy and also helps to protect the inner workings from dust and debris.

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On the top-right side of the printer you’ll find the control panel and LCD display. The LCD screen folds down to cover the buttons when not in use.

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On the lower-right of the printer is a small cover behind which you’ll find a number of memory card sockets. CompactFlash, SD, MemoryStick and xD are supported here. The USB socket is not within the covered area and I have no idea why Canon would choose not to put this in the same place as the memory card sockets. The USB is also set back in a recess that makes it hard to fit a USB memory stick in to.

IMG_1467

 

 

Highlights

  • Full capacity ink-tanks supplied
  • Quiet operation
  • WiFi
  • Scan to USB Memory

Lowlights

  • Slow printing
  • photo prints seem expensive
  • Long-winded setup
  • Annoying USB placement

 

Review

The Canon PIXMA MP560 is actually a fairly good looking printer, silver and black in colour. The paper trays, colour screen, scanner top and memory card reader can all be hidden away behind their respective covers so when you are not using the printer it still remains neat and tidy.

The MP560 has quite a large footprint so you’ll want a reasonably large desk to put it on. The size is down to the fact that this is an all-in-one printer with a flatbed style scanner on the top which naturally takes up quite a bit of room.

Getting the printer up and running is pretty simple and I was impressed with the thought that Canon have obviously put in to this, even down to the handles on the plastic bag that the printer is wrapped in which makes it much easier to remove from the box without calling upon an assistant (Matt!).

The printer is well wrapped in cling plastic to protect the gloss black plastic. Once removed it’s a case of finding all of the orange sticky-tape that holds everything in place during transit. Just when you think you’ve got them all you’ll find another few hiding away, probably over 20 in total.

First thing you have to do is plug the printer in to the mains and switch the power on. Open up the little screen on the front and this will help guide you through the setup process. In practice I found that the printed manual was a lot clearer to follow that the screen but the on-screen instructions do act as a prompt when moving from step to step.

Next step is to open the front printer tray and lift the scanning unit to gain access to the print head carriage which, at this point, has moved to the centre of the printer ready for installation. The print head has to be removed from the vacuum packing and installed in the carriage within the printer. In several places the documentation warns you to be careful with the print head and not to “knock it against the sides of the holder”. Yes you do have to be quite careful here as the scanner unit doesn’t open very far and there isn’t much room to move!

Once the print head is in place the ink tanks can be installed. There are 5 in total.

canon_pixma_mp560-open

The PIXMA MP560 in the open state.

 

Having installed the print head and ink the printer goes through a 3 minute cycle of cleaning and priming the print head before use. The printer is fairly quiet during this operation.

Strangely, after the cleaning cycle it you are instructed to install paper. I thought this meant it would print some kind of print page but did nothing of the sort. I guess they just don’t want you to forget.

I choose to set the MP560 up with my WiFi network rather than USB as that’s how I imagine that most people would want to use it. WiFi setup is done via the buttons on the control pad and the colour screen. A list of available WiFi networks is displayed and once you choose one you’ll be asked for the passphrase. Note that this is case sensitive!

That then concludes all of the setup on the hardware side and the software has then to be installed on the PC. Fortunately Windows 7 drivers are supplied so no need to head off and download the latest versions.

The software installation takes about 20 minutes(!) and installs a LOT of stuff on the computer, a total of 7 new icons on the desktop. A pretty hefty install for a print driver.

The entire setup process takes about 40 minutes, quite long winded but not really a big deal I suppose unless you are in a real hurry to start printing.

 

So now we are up to the point that we can start printing, lets talk about the print quality. Black and white text documents look really crisp and there’s very little bleeding even on cheap plain paper. It would be hard to tell the difference between this and the results from a laser printer.

Colour documents on plain paper also look great. The colours are bright and vivid and again there is little ink bleed to be seen.

Photo prints on glossy paper are excellent, not quite as good as a dedicated photo printer but considering few of them are capable of printing larger than 5×7 prints the PIXMA MP560 has the advantage in that it can print borderless A4 photos. I would prefer a bit more colour density from the photo prints but it should be possible to make this adjustment if you really want to be fussy.

 

If you’ve already looked at the bullet point highlights and lowlights above you’ll have noticed that I’ve mentioned print speed as one of the downsides. I sent a 5 page simple text document to the MP560 and even using the lowest quality settings it takes 36 seconds for the job to start and total print time of 71 seconds to complete the job. That’s an average of just over four pages per minute for small documents. With a larger document this increases to about 7 pages per minute. Not exactly speedy and a way short of Canon’s speed claims.

A full page colour photo took an average of 3.25 minutes to complete which doesn’t seem too bad when you look at the quality of the results.

Using the printer as a photocopier a single page colour copy came out in 34 seconds which I think is quite reasonable.

Overall the print speed is OK for basic home or home office use as long as you are not printing huge volumes on a regular basis.

 

The PIXMA MP560 does boast some cool features. First of all the colour LCD screen on the front is very handy. Not only does this have all the setup and menu information but also allows you to preview photos from memory cards that you use in the card reader. Several memory card formats are supported, CompactFlash, SD, MemoryStick and xD and there’s also a USB socket on the front that allows you to connect a PictBridge capable digital camera or a USB memory stick with photos on it. You can even scan images to the USB stick which I think is a very cool feature. However the USB socket is placed in a deep and quite narrow recess, most of the USB sticks I own would not fit in there. Very frustrating and a silly design flaw which requires that you use a USB extension cable to get over.

 

The flatbed scanner works quite well and I am impressed with the options available here. You can scan to PC or to memory card/USB in either image (JPG) or document format (PDF). You can also set the quality, size and between colour and mono scans. A 600DPI full page scan takes about 10 seconds but can take a a while to be saved to PC or memory card depending on the network or memory card speeds.

The image below is of the photo paper pack supplied with the printer and scanned using the default colour settings.

SCN_0001

 

In operation the Canon PIXMA MP560 is pretty quiet, I barely noticed it working. In fact scanning is much more noisy than printing.

 

Estimating the running cost of the PIXMA MP560 has proven to be somewhat tricky. According to Canon each of the ink tanks has a slightly different page yield. Mono printing is the easiest to estimate. The standard black tank will set you back £8.85 and has a claimed yield of 3000 pages. This gives us a cost of 0.3p page page for mono which, if correct, is exceptionally good.

Colour printing is much higher at 5.5p per page. This is high because the canon spec-sheet claims just over 500 pages per colour tank.

Cost for printing full-page photos is significantly higher as the yield of each cartridge drops to under 200 pages. Take a look at the specs on Canon’s website for more on this.

 

 

 

Conclusion

The Canon PIXMA MP560 is a very capable all-on-one printer. It delivers great quality mono text documents on plain paper as well as excellent full colour photos on glossy paper.

Print speed may not be great but acceptable for home use.

It’s a true all-in-one printer, copier and scanner and the only thing it’s really lacking is fax but I suppose faxing is not as important now as it once was. If you are looking for one machine that can do everything then the PIXMA MP560 is certainly worth considering and at just a shade over £100 I think you’d be hard pushed to find better.

 

Review by: Tracy

Posted in: Printers, Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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