Canon Pixma MX512 Review
The Canon MX512 is a decent option for the price, but with a few drawbacks.
Meet the MX512, an entry-level office all-in-one printer from Canon. While its CMY and black ink cartridges have a somewhat low capacity, the printer does a fairly good job at making good photo prints and serves well as an office printer with a fax, copier, and scanner.
Design & Usability
A loaded multifunction that disappoints with CMY cartridges
The Canon MX512 has two ink cartridges: one black, one CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow). Both of these live in a harness mount on the right side of the printer. While they are easy to install—and have a relatively small capacity—CMY cartridges can get annoying since they are only as good as the ink you use most: any leftover ink will be a complete and total waste. In our tests, the cyan ink was drained by print number 60.
On the top of the printer you'll encounter the extensive physical controls for the Canon MX512, complete with a directional pad, smart buttons that change with the function you select, and toggle buttons that allow you to quickly change the mode of the printer. Next to the d-pad lives the small LCD screen of the Canon MX512; although you'll use this for setup, alerts, and not much else, it's nice to have a screen like this that can display text telling you if there's something wrong.
If you're an avid photographer with a camera that uses an SD card or MemoryStick, you'll be happy to note that there are slots on the front-left of the printer that allow you to print files directly from your memory cards. If that's not enough, the Canon MX512 also supports PictBridge and parallel printing. Like most modern office printers, the Canon MX512 has an internal 802.11n wireless card, as well as an ethernet port, and can be shared over a home network with multiple computers. For faxing, you can also make use of the telephone port on the back. You can always hook up your printer to your computer directly via the USB port, but you lose the ability to share if you do so, and a precious USB port on your computer.
Features & Performance
Fair detail and color performance
First and foremost, the Canon MX512 is a home office printer, able to scan, print, fax, or copy. While it doesn't have the same range of media options as, say, a pro-photo printer, it does have an impressive range of options for the home office. Able to print on all of the standard paper sizes under 13 inches, including 4 x 6 prints, 5 x 7 prints, 8 x 10 prints, letter, legal, and U.S. #10 Envelopes, the MX512 handles most needs that might be thrown at it in a home office environment.
The Canon MX512 did a fairly average job of maintaining color accuracy, but it does struggle a little bit with the blues. You probably won't notice much of an error to the naked eye, however, as the color errors seem largely isolated. If left to its own handling of color profiles, the Canon MX512 can handle color accuracy fairly well, but it can really shine with a custom profile generated by specialized software. If you were to do this, you can expect color error to be reduced by about half.
Overall, the Canon MX512 is a printer that offers an acceptable level of service.
If you're looking for an office printer that can handle scanning, faxing, copying, and photo printing, the Canon MX512 is a great option for the price, but with a few drawbacks. While you're saving money in the short run by buying a more affordable printer, there are other members of the Canon MX line that are more economical with ink cartridges—namely, the Canon MX882 that will end up saving cash in the long run.
The Canon MX512 does a fairly good job of printing photos, and it isn't the slowest printer we've tested. For its price point, it's a solid option if you're OK with having a CMY and a black ink cartridge. For what you'd pay, you get a lot of printer.
Though the Canon MX512 doesn't have the test scores of a pro-photo printer, it is a more affordable option that will do what's expected of it. If you've read the review and are fine with its few idiosyncracies, you could do a lot worse than the Canon MX512.
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