First Looks: Canon Pixma MX7600

A Clear All-In-One

A Clear All-In-One

With the proliferation of all-in-one printers these days, it's getting harder to separate the wheat from the chaff, since after all, how much more can they do to stand out from the competition? Canon appears to have the answer with its Canon PIXMA MX7600, which was released together with the other new PIXMA MX850. Both are geared towards small and home businesses, succeeding the PIXMA MX line released last year.

Clear Ink, Boon or Bane?

The MX7600 is Canon's first printer to feature their Pigment Reaction (PgR) technology. Apparently what it does is layer a film of 'clear ink' onto the paper, which acts like a protective layer. This helps the ink dry faster, as well as bonds the ink to the surface of the paper, which is supposed to make it water-resistant. Unfortunately, this also means that you'll need to purchase an additional 'clear ink' cartridge, in addition to the five cartridges you already need for the MX7600 (CMYK and Photo Black). The MX7600 will not work without a full set of cartridges.

Real Substance or Just Fluff?

On the outside, the MX7600 is a beautifully designed printer that would look right at home in any design shop. Ours came in stylish black and we especially liked the swooping curve that falls from the top of the printer to its edge - just beautiful. The automatic document feeder's (ADF) clear black tray smartly folds in on itself when not in use and becomes part of the machine's profile. All controls are neatly arrayed on the front flap and an adjustable LCD screen displays the relevant information. The LCD display is vibrant but rather small, so you might want to bring your spectacles along.

Text prints as well as photo printouts are simply brilliant on the MX7600. The prints came out fast and the results were pleasing to the eye. The MX7600 produced some of the best grayscale photo prints we've seen yet, with deep blacks, rich details and plenty of 'pop'. The color photos were evenly balanced, with almost perfect whites and an even tone throughout.

For the frequent document printer, text prints are clean and sharp, though we have to warn you that the paper is extra wet immediately after print - even wetter than we normally see on an inkjet. It's best to leave them to dry for a bit before handling them.

The MX7600's built-in scanner is great for text scans, which appeared very sharp and clean. Photo scans were a little noisy however; for a decent scan, we had to turn off the Unsharp Mask function which seemed to be enabled by default. This yielded a much better result, but even then, the photo scans tended to be over-exposed.

Final Thoughts

The Canon PIXMA MX7600 is a fine document and photo printer, with its clear results and cost-saving auto duplex. Better yet, it's beautifully made and will fit into any design-conscious office. On the down side, its scanner needs a little work while the addition of a cartridge of 'clear ink' will certainly add to your printing costs. Still, if you can overlook its flaws, you'll find that it is a gem of a printer.