My big Christmas gift was a new printer, a Canon Pixma MG6120 inkjet printer. It replaced my HP Photosmart C3180, which I have had for 3-4 years and who now refuse to feed paper. I have now had time to use the Canon printer for a few days, and below are my first impressions.
The printer was extremely easy to setup. Drivers installed faster than HP, and WiFi support mean that I did not even have to worry about the USB cable. To get the printer connected to my wireless network was easy, it was all done directly from the printer, using the 3" LCD display on the printer. It almost took longer to remove all protective plastic and tape from the printer. Since the printer is black (hence a magnet for fingerprints), Canon had put protective plastic sheets on all exposed (and some un-exposed!) surfaces.
One of the things I like with the Canon, and which was a requirement for a new printer, was separate ink tanks. This printer actually have six (6) different tanks:
The bigger cartridge (marked 225) contains black pigment based ink, used for regular text. The other five ink cartridges (marked 226) are dye-based. In addition to the traditional cyan, magenta and yellow, there is also black and gray. Each cartridge have a small red light indicating that they are correctly positioned.
Well, what about the print quality? That is the important thing on a printer. Well, at first the printout were a disappointment. They were washed out, gray and not nearly as vibrant as the old HP printer. I tried different settings in Photoshop and the printer driver, and eventually got a better result, but still not near what the HP produced. That is, until I tested the sample of Canon inkjet paper included with the printer. What a difference! I had used inexpensive paper purchased at Fry´s Electronics, and it simply did not work well with this ink. So after purchasing some more Canon paper (both the "Plus Glossy II" and the "Pro Platinum") I found that the quality was fully on par with the HP. I would not say it was better, as the HP generated beautiful prints, but it was not worse.. I tested some Kodak photo paper, and they turned out pretty good as well.
I have not been scanning much, just one test this far. It looks good, though, The optical resolution is 4800×4800 compared with 1200×2400 on the HP. The scan driver is not as intuitive as the one that comes with the HP. The highest setting it accepts (when scanning from within Photoshop) is 1200 DPI, and it is listed under "output". It seems like you at the time you scan you pretty much need to know what you want to do later with the scan. You select "screen display" or "printer" as target. Could be a dumbed down version of selecting RGB or CMYK”…” But I prefer to change the settings myself.
After a couple of days, I can already tell that the separate ink tanks are a good idea. They are all on separate levels, with the gray much lover than the cyan, magenta and yellow. Both black ones are still showing full.
What also is cool is that all buttons are hidden on the lid. Depending on what you want to do, different buttons light up, but only the ones you can use for the task. The other buttons are hidden and disabled. Clever.
There is plenty of additional built-in functionality. Not only can you print the photos directly from your memory card (or from a mobile phone using an optional Bluetooth adapter), you can print calendars, contact sheets, graph paper, lined paper and more. Put a PDF on a memory card (USB is not supported) and you can print it from there.
The printer driver lets you print booklets, and since the printer support duplex (double sided printing), a 16 page story by H.P. Lovecraft was printed as a neat booklet, only using 4 sheets of paper.
Talking about paper, there are two separate paper feeds. Up to 150 sheet of letter (or A4 for anyone in Europe) can be loaded in the front drawer, and feeder in the rear is used for all other formats, from 4×6 inch up to 11×8.5 inch.
The print quality is very good, but it requires Canon paper, or at least high quality photo paper. My old printer performed as well using inexpensive paper. The scanner driver is probably good for a regular consumer, but need improvements for the more demanding/knowledgeable user. Setting it up was very easy, and it´s easy to use it. The printer driver is good, but the scanner driver need some work.
Duplex printing and separate ink tanks are big benefits. Separate tray for regular letter paper is also very good. Printing directly from a memory card yields good results, even without processing in Photoshop.
Even if the print quality is pretty much identical to my old printer, the benefits of separate ink cartridges makes this printer my choice. Wifi and duplex printing are just bonuses. The listed MSRP is $199, but I seen it on sale for as low as $129 (at Best Buy before Christmas).
Disclaimer: Product was a Christmas gift.