Canon introduces new mega-tank model

I’ve always had good luck with Canon printers. For several years, I’ve used the MX870 that cost me somewhere around $200 (R3 000) if memory serves me right.

It’s one of the all-in-one models that I’ve frequently used for scanning and sometimes for faxing. And it’s performed without a hiccup. A very solid, well-made machine.

Representatives of the company recently invited me to test out the new PIXMA G4200 Wireless all-in-one MegaTank model. It uses liquid dye-based ink that results in a whopping 6,000 black and white pages and 7 000 color pages, per fill. That’s generally about a year’s worth of ink, for most people. Realistically even more.

I pulled it from the box and was pleasantly surprised at its sleekness. That is, it’s pretty lightweight and also has a relatively small footprint compared to other like-equipped printers.

Setting it up was fairly breezy. There’s not much to it. You install the print heads and fill in the four tanks with liquid ink. That’s it. In fact, Canon pretty much makes the process spill-proof: you don’t squeeze each ink bottle until its nose is buried into the reservoir. Start to finish took maybe four minutes. And I love that the ink tanks have windows on the front of the machine, so you can physically see how much ink is left in each of them.

Next, I was able to quickly turn on the unit and connect it to my mobile phone, Chromebook and a Windows laptop. Canon vows the printer’s also Mac-compatible. I experienced a slight challenge getting it to connect to my home WiFi at one point, receiving a vague “Please wait a while” message on the printer’s small screen. So while waiting “a while” as directed, I went back and read through the manual that also offered bizarre instructions, such as (verbatim) “Do not connect any cable except the power cord yet.” and “Setting Up the FAX in the Basic Manual which is installed into your computer.” Huh? Everything came together fine, within minutes. But I felt a little vulnerable in the interim.

The printer itself works smoothly, in fact. It’s noticeably quieter than any other printer I’ve tested. Documents emerge with crisp text and graphics. Images on photo paper look awesome. And scans are also wonderfully clear and vibrant. There are some special function modes, such as 2-on-1 and 4-on-1 copy mode that let you scan two or four pages, depending on how you set it up, and then print them onto one sheet. That can be very helpful in reducing paper and ink costs. For Windows — and I’m assuming Macs — the included software suite is impressive, too, letting you not only do the typical customized scans and prints, but also letting you print video frames, collages, photo layouts, disc labels, calendars, greeting cards, etc. All of these performance features and extras are ultimately why consumers purchase a printer. And with the huge supply of ink that’s included, you shouldn’t have to even lift the hood for quite a while.

By Scott Kramer for www.forbes.com

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