Canon Pixma MP500 review
With the MP170, we’ve seen what Canon can do with a budget all-in-one. As we move up the range, things get even better. The MP500 costs less than other high-end models, yet excelled in our tests.
The printer is essentially the same as the Pixma iP5200R, so we weren’t surprised that it delivered excellent quality. Normal text was flawless: sharp and black. Our monochrome image and A4 photomontage were both reproduced accurately too.
Copies were also impressive. The quality of copied text was almost indistinguishable from the original, but the MP500 couldn’t do the same for photos. A yellow tinge was evident and detail wasn’t as good as in the originals.
The quality of scans reassured us, though, as we only had one unacceptable result, our 600ppi scan of candles, which was so undersaturated it almost looked monochrome. Otherwise, all scans were detailed and colours were generally true to the originals.
The iP5200R is a fast printer and, while the MP500 was the quickest here, it couldn’t match its sibling: 6 x 4in photos take 87 seconds at Best quality, while the iP5200R took 36 seconds. However, text documents print at 8.6ppm in Draft mode against the iP5200R’s 15ppm.
Text copies race out at almost 6ppm at Normal quality and you’ll see 10ppm in Draft mode. You won’t have to worry about refilling the paper trays either, as both the top feeder and second tray take 150 sheets each.
Plus, the MP500 is unique here as it has an automatic duplexer for double-sided printing. You’ll also find media card slots (not for xD, though) and a CD/DVD printing tray to allow easy printing; our Best-quality test image printed in one minute, 21 seconds on a CD.
If it weren’t for HP’s Photosmart 3210, the MP500 would walk away with top honours. As it is, there’s almost nothing to separate them in terms of quality or speed. The Canon has a clear edge with text, while the HP favours photos. The 3210 prints faster, but the MP500 scans quicker even if it isn’t up to HP’s quality.
Many will look only at the £104 price (which is £50 less than the HP), but running costs are much higher at 58p (compared to 20p) per photo when printing intermittently. It means the HP is more economical for printing lots of photos and offers the better-quality scanner, plus a transparency adaptor. But if the duplexer is a priority and you’ll print few photos, the MP500 is a superb machine ata great price.