Upgrading my Canon PIXMA All-In-One to add AirPrint

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I'm a computer forensics attorney, which partially explains my focus on gadgets and tech. When I'm not traveling to client sites, I work from home. And since we moved last summer, I've had the opportunity to put together a pretty solid home office. 

It became apparent really, really quickly that I needed a printer/scanner that had a document feeder - essentially every day, I'm printing-signing-scanning some sort of document.

I currently have a Canon PIXMA MX410. It's a very good all-in-one printer. It has a document feeder, it works wirelessly with my work PC and my iMac, and it's pretty easy on the ink. I have absolutely no complaints.

Actually, I have one complaint. The MX410 is not AirPrint capable. So I can't print directly from an iPad or iPhone.

This seems like a pretty weak complaint - and it is, really. I haven't had the need to print from an iPad - at least, I don't think I have. But it's an iOS function! One that I haven't used! Who is to say that I wouldn't print from my iPad all the time if I only had the option?

So, basically, I think I need to upgrade to an AirPrint-enabled All-In-One.  With a document feeder. There's no way I'm going back to flatbed scanning one page at a time. Which leaves me with the Canon MX series. 

The obvious choice is the Canon PIXMA MX432 - I'm pretty sure that this is exactly the same as my current printer, but with AirPrint capabilities, too. It's only $79.99 at OfficeMax, and presumably pretty much everywhere else:


Let's check the specs: 4800 x 1200 dpi, 2 ink cartridges (black and color). An old digital watch-style text-only LCD.  More or less, exactly what I currently have - but with AirPrint. And I'm happy with what I have, so this is definitely an option. 

Canon makes more expensive printer/scanners, too. And I assume that they have more, or better, functionality - but are they worth the extra money? 

Take, for instance, the Canon PIXMA MX512. It's $149.99 at abt.com:

What does the extra money get me? Well, it's still 4800 x 1200 dpi, so I suppose we're gaining the 2.5 inch color LCD screen on the front. Granted, that's a nice feature - but it's a bit silly that they claim anyone would edit a photo on that 2.5 inch screen on their printer. That's what Lightroom, Photoshop, or even iPhoto are for. We also gain a port for USB devices and memory cards - but again, I'd rather control the "what I'm printing" side of things from the iMac. 

Even if I was looking for a higher-end printer, no way I'd get the MX512, though... not if the Canon PIXMA MX892 is also on sale for $149.99 at OfficeMax. (It's $50 off - not sure if that sale is temporary or permanent.)

The MX892 finally offers a demonstrable spec bump. 9600 x 2400 dpi, and 5 individual ink tanks. Duplex scanning, duplex printing. Plus the same LCD and USB/memory card ports that we see on the MX512. And they advertise that the scanner can do 4800x2400 dpi. (They didn't provide specs for the other scanners, so I'm guessing... not as good.)

And that's all well and good, but could be overkill. It's unlikely I'm going to print legal docs in more than 150 dpi... and it's rare that I'd use duplex functionality. But there's one feature that has me very, very interested:

A slide-out paper cassette! In a home office that needs to stay nice-looking, this is kind of a big deal. You don't realize how much you miss paper cassettes until you spend 6 months looking at 50 blank sheets of paper sticking out of the top of your printer. 

So, the MX892 offers 2 interesting things that my current MX410 doesn't - a paper cassette, and AirPrint. That's nice, but is it worth $60 more than the MX432.... or $150 more than sticking with my trusty MX410? 

Honestly, if I'm a buyer, I'm probably going to go with the MX892 - JUST for the paper cassette. 



3 comments :

  1. Just finding your blog, so this is an old post. You didn't follow up with what you ultimately decided to do for a printer. So, FWIW - I use a very inexpensive application call HandyPrint which lets me print from my iOS devices as long as my computer is on. Much cheaper than a new printer and works quite well. - I have the MX870 which has all the features of the MX892 minus the AirPrint. I bought it a couple of years before that capability existed.

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    1. Hi! Ultimately, we went with an HP Envy 4500, because we wanted a smaller form factor, that would fit into a Pottery Barn Bedford cabinet.

      The AirPrint functionality has already been a big help - I had to print a document from my work iPhone, and I didn't want to email to gmail, and print from my computer.

      With AirPrint, the iPhone sees the printer, and that's that.

      There's a post on the front page about the new printer, titled "Is HP Instant Ink a Good Deal" or some such.

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  2. It's unlikely I'm going to print legal docs in more than 150 dpi... and it's rare that I'd use duplex functionality. Best printer for home use

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