Printers

Canon Pixma MG3220 Review

The Canon PIXMA MG3220 is a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none.

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Introduction

Say hello to the Pixma MG3220, an entry-level inkjet printer by Canon. This multifunction printer managed to achieve good color accuracy, but printed at a snail's pace. Given its stature and price point, this printer would be ideal for a family looking to do a moderate amount of printing.

Design & Usability

Well, at least they included the cable.

The setup procedure was very standard. However, when we were calibrating the MG3220 there were some issues. The calibration required us to press specific buttons: Instead of telling us to hold down the scan button for five seconds, the setup screen provided a diagram. This would be fine if we were right next to the printer, but we set it up in another part of the room. It was a very minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless. Other than following the instructions, there were no other tricks to get this printer ready to go.

There is little chance of hitting the wrong button.

All the buttons on the MG3220 were clearly labeled. The naming system was very straight forward. For example, when we pressed the button labeled scan, the scanner activated. Since all the controls are spread out and vertically aligned, there is little chance of hitting the wrong button.

Unfortunately, the MG3220 lacks any media slots. With no SD card slot, Bluetooth, or Ethernet port, this means the only ways of connecting to this printer are via an A-to-B USB cable or over 802.11b/g/n wireless LAN. However, Canon gets high praise for including a USB cable in the box, a rarity in today's world.

Features & Performance

A slow, but accurate printer.

For an entry-level printer, the boasts a competent lineup of options. A streamlined control interface coupled with the fact that everything we needed—including a USB cable—came in the box, made this printer easy to setup and use.

The runs off two ink cartridges, one black and the other CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow). This made for an easy setup: just pop in the two cartridges and you're good to go. However, it does create an inefficient situation. If any of the colors in the CMY run out, it becomes functionally useless. To help remedy this, Canon included spare black and color cartridges. You will need them, after 40 prints we received a warning telling us that the color ink cartridge was near empty.

Anything that is up to 8.5 inches wide and 14 inches long will not daunt the MG3220.

The covers all its media bases. Anything that is up to 8.5 inches wide and 14 inches long will not daunt the MG3220. However, if you're looking to print things like banners, this printer will not do. Like most entry-level multifunctional printers, the can hold up to 100 pages of plain paper. If you wanted to print all those pages back-to-back, it'd take approximately two hours and twenty-four minutes.

Overall, color accuracy was fairly good outside of some troubles reproducing blue values. That being said, the color gamut is wide and should be able to handle even the most extreme art prints. However, this all comes with a major tradeoff: terrible print speed.

Conclusion

Although the price is low and the color accuracy is high, this printer is painfully slow.

The is an entry-level multifunction printer, essentially a jack-of-all-trades that is the master of none. Given its price range, it did fairly well in the color accuracy and color gamut arena. That being said, the MG3220 has its issues.

Since we're pros over here, we had no trouble setting up this printer. However, the thought that the instructions could have been more clear did cross our mind. In color tests, the MG3220 managed to perform adequately. Although it could produce deep contrasts, the MG3220 had trouble with fine details: edges were blurred and minute details were lost in translation. The biggest moan we had was over the MG3220's print speed: It took almost thirteen minutes to print out five 4x6 photos. We can't fathom how long an entire photo album would keep us waiting.

All our gripes aside, the is slow, but solid. At $79.99, it's reasonably priced. However, given that there are faster entry-level printers with little loss in color accuracy, like the Kodak ESP 3.2, we find ourselves hard pressed to recommend the MG3220 to the average family. It would be a good match for someone who needs more color accuracy, but not more free time.

Science Introduction

It doesn't light the world on fire, but the MG3220 is a solid performer by the numbers.

Color Performance

For an entry-level printer, the color accuracy is quite good.

After creating a user generated profile, we compared a set of colors that the MG3220 printed to their ideals, and the end result showed that this printer had a decent performance. Based on the areas of highest error, we can see that the MG3220 has trouble with producing blues.

In our Color Gamut test, we had the MG3220 run through a range of colors. It managed to reproduce 60.42 percent of the colors that were required of it. In absolute terms, that places this printer in the middle of the pack. However, in the grand scheme of things, if you're only using this printer for family photos and basic documents, you'll never see the difference.

Frustratingly slow

The does not take long to start printing. On average, print initialization took no more than 4 seconds. That is of little comfort considering how long you will be left waiting for the print to finish.

This printer took about 8.96 seconds per square inch for 4x6 photos. After finishing a set of five, we clocked the MG3220 averaging 3 minutes and 10 seconds per photo. That's a bit of a drag. If you wanted to print out an album of 20 photos, it would take over an hour out of your day.

If you're in constant need of speedily printed documents instead, then the might not be for you. It took 37 minutes and 6 seconds to output the 25 pages. That clocks the MG3220 at 0.67 pages per minute. We get the feeling that maybe this isn't so appealing to those who need to print out reports on a regular basis.

Detail Performance

Fine details will be blurry and/or grainy.

The MG3220 struggled to produce fine details. Edges were blurred and images had a grainy quality to them. We can forgive this printer for its middling performance given the fact that it's a budget multifunctional printer. In short: it doesn't do it perfectly, but it gets a wide variety of jobs done.

Deep blacks are required to show contrast. The DMax, or maximum depth of black score, was 2.68. Again, that's a decent score. This means that the MG3220 has a fair ability to create contrast, something that is essential for making realistic shadows and rich colors.

Examining gradients shows no signs of banding or other major distortions. With the MG3220, there is a more even transition compared to its fellow printers.

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