Loves the place
Registered: January 2005
Location: Silkstone Common, Yorkshire, UK
Review Date: Thu May 1, 2008
||Would you recommend the product? Yes |
Price you paid?: £105.00
| Rating: 9
Output quality, speed, versatility, price.
Ink cost, and chipped cartridges mean that some features (like low ink warning) are lost if you use compatibles
Having shied away from all-in-one units up to now, I bought the MP610 from in April 2008 to replace an aged HP scanner, an even older HP printer and a desktop photocopier which, between them, were taking up far too much space. The MP610 runs alongside my Canon i9950 A3+ photo printer which also takes up a lot of room.
The MP610 was chosen on the basis of many positive reviews, plus the i9950 has performed well for the last four years and I have some confidence in Canon products.
After unpacking and removing all the orange tape (lots of it), the next job is to install the print head and ink cartridges. The instructions contain dire warnings about being careful with the print head and not trying to install it backwards etc, but actually it's very simple - it slips into position and is locked by a lever. That means you can replace it yourself, or clean it if necessary, although it is intended to last the life of the printer.
Fitting the ink cartridges is also simple. There are five of them - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, dye Black and pigment Black. The pigment black is used to print text, and the cartridge is about twice the size of the others. Unlike the more sophisticated photo printers, there are no lighter versions of cyan, magenta and grey, and no separate green and red cartridges.
Once the cartridges are installed, the machine goes into a head alignment routine which takes several minutes. This procedure is done only once at initial setup.
The MP610 can be used as a stand-alone copier, and also prints from flash cards. Of course it is also a computer printer and scanner and has a USB port, but no cable is supplied which is a bit mean. There is no Ethernet port so the machine cannot be used as a network resource except through the local PC.
Installing the software and drivers on XP is straightforward. Drivers are also supplied for Mac but not, unfortunately, for Linux. (I am told it will run under Linux through Turboprint and XSane, but I haven't tried it.)
There is a neat LCD panel and clearly marked buttons under a lift-up flap on the top, and all the standard functions for copying and printing from memory cards are easy to use. There are separate buttons for colour and b/w copying.
I really hate inkjet printers that waste most of the ink in cleaning cycles and take ages to go through all this when you switch them on. The MP610 isn't quite as quick off the mark as the old HP 970Cxi, but it starts the first page about 15 seconds after switching it on and pressing the copy button or sending the document from the PC.
After that, if the machine is left switched on there is no delay before printing starts with subsequent documents.
The print quality from text document in Standard mode on plain paper is very good - no ink bleed or jagged edges. I haven't measured the speed, but Canon's figures of 31 pages per minute in mono and 24 in colour seem rather optimistic. It is, however, acceptably fast for both document printing on plain paper and photo printing on coated photo paper.
The maximum copying size is A4 or US Letter - the glass is not large enough for the old foolscap size.
I hadn't intended to use the MP610 for photo printing, but I tried it anyway and was surprised by the results.
For this test I printed direct from Faststone. I used Ilford Galerie Smooth Gloss and set the paper type as 'Photo Paper Plus Glossy' as recommended by Ilford. The Print Quality was set to High and everything else was left on Auto.
The resulting print was a very close match to what I saw on the screen. In fact, it is perfectly acceptable with no real need for further profiling or adjustment. If anything, the saturation was a touch on the high side, but if necessary this can be turned down in the printer driver. Slight dithering patterns are visible in lighter tones when viewed through a loupe magnifier, but this cannot be seen in normal viewing.
All in all, this was a surprisingly good performance, especially since the MP610 uses just four colours for photo printing, instead of eight on the i9950. In my opinion it would be perfectly good as a photo printer as long as you don't need to go above A4 size. Borderless printing is also supported up to 6" x 4", as is printing directly onto suitable CDs/DVDs.
Only one - unlike the i9950, the MP610 uses chipped cartridges which relay information back to the printer driver. (This is done optically on the i9950, with no chips.)
This means that, if you use third-party compatible ink cartridges, you have to transfer the chips from the original Canon ones, and then tell the driver to carry on printing even though it thinks the cartridge is empty. You also lose the low ink warning in the driver.
A complete set of five genuine Canon cartridges from Inkprovider.com costs just short of £40. Elsewhere you can pay over £50, which is really silly as it's nearly half the cost of the printer. A set of 'guaranteed' compatibles would cost less than £15.
Provided it carries on working as it is now, it's difficult to fault the MP610 as an easy-to-use printer, scanner and copier that turns in a very creditable performance at photo printing.
If only Canon didn't overcharge for ink (like everyone else), it would be nearly perfect.