In our earlier reviews we mentioned how single-function devices like printers haven’t really made a mark as far as innovation, development and end-user experience is concerned. As compared to SFD's, multi function devices include printing, scanning and copying-all into one single device and that does provide increased functionality. But, more often than not it comes at the cost of a frustrating user experience and a noticeable drop in quality. However, Canon does try to break that mindset with their new Pixma MG8170. But, is this multi function printer worth your money? Read on to find out.
The LCD panel sits atop the printer
Design and Build Quality
The Canon Pixma MG8170 is by no means small. It weighs a massive 10.7kg and is slightly bigger than the size of the standard desktop printer. It comes in a glossy black design and looks quite stylish. However, as with all glossy designs, this one too attracted a lot of fingerprints and rubbing them off was a major problem. The inkjet printer cum copier cum scanner has a whole slew of panels that open out revealing the scanner and cartridge slot. The side panel includes the MS Duo, SD MS and Compact Flash card slots along with a USB slot underneath. The placement of the USB slot could have been better as devices larger in size might have a problem fitting in.
The output panel opens up automatically when you print
The top of the 8170 includes the LCD screen and the touch panel. The touch panel has the directional pad, home and return button, ‘+’ and ‘-’ button for choosing the number of prints, the print button – with colour and black printout option – and three buttons for selecting the menu. From the looks of it, this initially sounds a little confusing and might have a steep learning curve but with the initial few button presses, or rather ‘touches’, you’ll get the exact function of all the options that are on the touch panel. The back contains the power slot, printer slot and LAN port for network printer. Overall, the Pixma 8170 sports a neat design but the glossy exterior may spoil the look of the device in just a few days of usage.
USB slot is placed at an inconvenient location
The 8170 has a maximum printing resolution of 9600 x 2400 dpi. It has five cartridges in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black and Gray colours. Both the front as well as the rear trays are available for paper storage and the printer can handle up to 150 pages at a time. It also has a flatbed scanner that allows users to scan documents and images at an optical resolution of 4800 x 4800 dpi. Network printing, wired and wireless and USB printing is supported as well. As part of the features, the 8170 includes 2-on-1, 4-on-1, duplex printing and printing from last page along with standard options like borderless, grayscale, fast, standard and high quality printing. The paper source can be selected as well with the following options – rear tray, paper allocation or auto select. Canon has bundled in the necessary software and drivers for this device. They aren’t exactly user friendly but do work as mentioned, namely, the inbuilt scanning, copying and fax software.
The interface is extremely user-friendly
We don’t generally put a user interface section for printers, but the UI of the Pixma definitely deserves a worthy mention. Firstly, the touch buttons are extremely smooth and have a brilliant feather feedback which is part of the entire experience. The user interface is brilliantly simple as well with icons for copy, photo, scan, photo reprint, fun photo print, slide show, document print, special print, setup.
The icons are self explanatory and the fun photo print option in particular is quite interesting. Users can paste a few presets to their photographs and then print them out. The slideshow option will not be really useful but is included nonetheless. Also, the printer has an option of queue printing, which allows users to access the menu and order further prints or copies while the printer is printing the earlier document. This definitely helps save time if users aren’t printing via the PC as they do not have to wait for the earlier print to get over, to start off with the next one.
A side view
When we initially set up the printer, cartridge installation took around five minutes as the user has to manually unclip and install the five cartridges in the slot. The printer has an average waiting time of five seconds if unused for over two minutes, which is not bad at all. To gauge the performance we put it through a few tests. For printing, we put it through four test standards in both fast and high modes – text only, a PDF document with text and images, a complete image printout (on normal and glossy paper) and text with different font sizes. Below are the findings of the tests we carried out.
Post warmup time delay, the text page took ten seconds to print in the fast mode and fifteen seconds in the high mode. The text document with different font sizes took 12 seconds in the fast mode and 17 seconds in the high mode. PDF document printing was a little slow at 46 seconds in the fast mode and 73 seconds in high mode. Photo printing took 122 seconds on normal paper and 135 seconds on glossy paper.
The printer's different panels
There is a slight difference in colour saturation between both the modes; extremely tiny colour blotting is present whilst printing in the high mode and a few jagged edges can be seen in the fast mode. Vertical banding is seen in the fast mode printouts for darker images. Photo prints on glossy paper had a few blots and a few images had a few white grain noise on them. Photo prints on the normal mode look a lot better than those on the glossy paper which is a disadvantage for those wanting to use the printer for photo printing. That said, they don't look too bad either and the printer can be used sparingly for photo prints.
Besides the standard tests, we undertook the wired connection, wireless, USB printing, and scanning test and following are the timings for the same.
Printing via a wired connection took 26 seconds and printing via the wireless connection took the same time. The only problem is that printer drivers need to be installed on the computer that wants to connect to the printer. USB photo printing took 88 seconds. The scanner can save scanned images to the PC, the USB drive, and memory cards; however, our external hard drive was not supported. Scanning at 600 dpi took nine seconds while scanning at 300 dpi took eight seconds.
The Canon Pixma MG8170 is currently selling at a price of Rs. 19,250. That’s the only downside about this product. It has a slew of features, the performance was quick, and the experience was seamless as well. Bluetooth is missing and the quality for images could have been a tad better, but the Canon Pixma MG8170 prints at a good speed and print quality is extremely good as well. Add to it the user interface and it makes printing an enjoyable experience. If budget is not a criteria, then the Pixma MG8170 is definitely a good buy.
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