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Canon Pixma MX7600

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Canon Pixma MX7600

Considering the price ($400 as of 6/6/08), the Canon Pixma MX7600 color inkjet multifunction printer had better be good--and it is. It offers plentiful features, fast performance, and vivid output, making it a great choice for small businesses and home offices.

In our tests, the Pixma MX7600 printed black text on plain paper at an above-average rate of 9.8 pages per minute (ppm). It was also fast in generating graphics--managing 3.7 ppm, for instance, in printing a small photo on plain paper. The quality was consistently high regardless of the kind of paper we used (although on plain paper, color images had a slight orange cast). Copies of a text sample closely resembled the original. Scans of text and photos looked slightly fuzzy but otherwise accurate. HP's OfficeJet Pro L7680 All-in-One is a lot faster, but its output quality isn't quite as good.

The MX7600's bulk encompasses a wealth of features. It has two input trays: a 150-sheet cassette for plain paper only (letter or legal) that slides subtly into the bottom of the unit, plus a rear, vertical feeder that holds anywhere from 1 to 20 pieces of photo paper, envelopes, or other kinds of media. A 50-sheet output tray flips out from the front. An automatic duplexer projects from the rear of the machine. Up on top is a scanner with a 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) that can scan two-sided documents in a single pass.

The control panel has an initially daunting number of buttons and a smallish, 1.8-inch, tiltable color LCD, but they work well together. You press one of the four primary-function buttons (to copy, fax, scan, or use a memory card), and the LCD-based menus show only the corresponding options. Most of the buttons have clear labels; I paused only to wonder how the 'Menu' and 'Settings' buttons differed.

The Pixma MX7600's cost-oriented ink system includes a permanent printhead (which you install) and separate tanks for black (K), cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y) ink. Each of the tanks costs $15, but they vary in yield from 570 pages (black) to 1075 pages (yellow), or from 1.4 cents to 2.6 cents per color, per page. A fifth "ink"--a clear coating that sprays over images printed on plain paper--costs $18 and lasts 1600 pages.

You definitely get your money's worth with the speedy, capable Pixma MX7600. Canon's better-than-average rating in our recent Reliability and Service survey is the icing on this substantial cake. For more-affordable alternatives, however, check out Lexmark's X9575 Professional or HP's Officejet J6480 All-in-One; both offer many of the same features for a lower price (and they have integrated Wi-Fi, too).

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