Canon Pixma MP160

The entry-level Canon Pixma MP160 is a decent all-in-one printer for the price, but don't be tempted by the entry-level machine: the Pixma MP180 costs a mere AU$20 more and provides the same print quality and a ton more features.

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The Canon Pixma MP160 is the entry-level model of Canon's all-in-one photo printer line. At AU$89, it's a bargain for a machine that prints, scans, and copies, especially given its surprisingly good print quality. (Unfortunately, we can't say the same for its scan quality.) Befitting its budget price, the printer is missing some features, including media card slots and an LCD screen. As much as we like this printer for both quality and value, we don't recommend buying it: for a mere AU$20 more, you can upgrade to the Pixma MP180. The MP180 is basically the same printer (same speed and print quality), but it comes with both memory card slots and a two-line monochromatic LCD screen, as well as more configuration options for each task. If you want a good entry-level photo-centric all-in-one printer, skip the MP160 and buy the Canon Pixma MP180.

The Canon Pixma MP160 looks a lot like Canon's other photo all-in-ones, with its light-gray-and-black body, control panel "shelf," and rounded edges. It's bulkier than HP's similarly priced OfficeJet 4315, but the inclusion of a flatbed scanner limits how small the printer can be. The Pixma MP160 stands 443mm wide, 381mm deep and 181mm tall, and weighs a light 6.3kg.

The scanner platen is big enough to hold originals up to A4 size, and the lid's hinges rear back to accommodate thick originals, such as textbooks. A PictBridge port on the front of the printer lets you print photos directly from a PictBridge-compatible digital camera or a digital video camera, without touching your PC. But you can't preview them on the printer because it lacks an LCD screen. Also missing are media card slots, but you can get them on the MP180, which costs just AU$20 more. The MP180 also features a two-line LCD, but you can't preview pictures on it.

The MP160's paper-handling options are limited. A paper feeder with adjustable paper guides folds out from the rear of the unit and holds up to 100 sheets of plain paper. A simple tray folds out from the front of the printer and serves as the output tray. It lacks an extension flap, so legal-size pages may fall out if you're not paying attention. Within the output tray is a lever that slides from side to side to adjust the distance between the printhead and the paper. For most paper types, you'll keep the lever to the left; for envelopes and T-shirt transfers, move it to the right.

The control panel is laid out on a shelf that juts out from the front of the printer. The buttons cover just the basics: a single button that lets you tell the printer whether you're printing on letter-size plain, letter-size photo, or 4x6 photo paper; a plus button to increase the number of copies; a fit-to-page button that will automatically reduce or enlarge copies to fit the paper size; a scan initiation button; and black and colour start buttons; as well a stop/reset button.

The Canon Pixma MP160 has a limited feature set that will quickly leave you wanting more, which you can get for just AU$20 extra with the MP180. The MP160 copy options let you fit to page and make multiple copies in one go, though with an odd limitation: using the plus button, you can increase the number of copies to 9. An additional press of the plus button and the LED reads F, which apparently means 20 copies, so you can't specify, say, 10 or 15 copies; you'll have to initiate two copy cycles. Other common features missing from the MP160 -- scaling, adjusting the image quality, and making borderless copies -- can be found on the MP180.

Pressing the Scan button will launch Canon's MP Navigator utility on your PC, which lets you customise your scan job by indicating the type of document, changing the scan resolution, and designating what you want to do with the scan: save to PC, save as various file types, or attach to e-mail. You can also use the included optical character recognition software to scan documents into an editable form. The Canon Pixma MP160 uses a two-tank ink system: one black and one tricolour tank. You can use the same ink to print both photos and documents, so there's no need to swap out for different tasks.

The Pixma MP160 connects via USB only, but it does provide support for both Macs and Windows PCs. Setup is simple and straightforward, and the included documentation will walk you through both the MP160 and the MP180.

The Canon Pixma MP160 posted impressive task speeds, especially given its low price tag. It printed text at 5.81 pages per minute (ppm), graphics prints at 1.62ppm, and 4x6 photos at 1.36ppm. The photo speed is especially impressive, as it's just shy of the 1.84ppm posted by the much more expensive Canon Pixma MP830. It also held its own in scanning: 6.47ppm for black-and-white scans and 5.61ppm for colour scans.

CNET Labs' multifunction printer performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Copy speed
Color scan speed
Grayscale scan speed
Photo speed
Text speed
Lexmark X3350
Canon Pixma MP160*
HP PSC 1510
Note: the Canon Pixma MP160's photo speed is for a 4x6 print. The HP and Lexmark's photo speeds are for an 8x10 print.

We were also pleasantly surprised by the MP160's print quality, though we can't say the same for the scan quality. Its text prints weren't perfect -- we saw some jagginess on edges -- but characters were consistently formed and text was readable down to very small point sizes. The colour graphics page was especially impressive: it showed smooth curves, excellent colour reproduction, lifelike skin tones and excellent photo elements, a grayscale devoid of colour, and clean, sharp edges. The only issue we noticed was some minor banding in colour gradients, but overall, we were very pleased with the colour graphics page. The 4x6 test photos were quite good, as well. We liked the sharp detail and the vibrant colours in the photos, including in skin tones, though we did notice some graininess. Still, the quality more than suffices for snapshots.

The MP160's Achilles' heel is scanning -- specifically, colour reproduction. The colour scan was sharp, but the colours were so dark and murky as to be wrong. A magenta gradient turned out purple, and a cyan gradient inexplicably ended up aqua. The grayscale scan didn't fair much better: again, it handled patterns well enough, but both ends of the grayscale were compressed, the dark end in particular, so that details were lost in the shadows.

CNET Labs' multifunction printer quality
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Color scan
Grayscale scan
Graphics on inkjet paper
Text on inkjet paper
HP PSC 1510
Canon Pixma MP160
Lexmark X3350

Canon provides a one-year limited warranty for the Pixma MP160 that you can extend to three years for AU$99. You can also get tech support via e-mail, and Canon says it will respond within 24 hours. Canon's web site has FAQs, a troubleshooting tool, downloadable drivers and software, and PDFs of product and software manuals.

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Shan Hansen posted a comment   

Just got the MP160 and I too had an E3 error... being a computer wizz i pulled it appart: easy to do! 12 screws later i found the problem. Now, because the MP160 has no cover for the papper feeder something was dropped down the back and guess what!!?? That was the problem; a childs "beddos beed" and a metla wall hanger + nail...
I strongly recoment that you all do this with another person as you need have the top off and held by the other, AND use a compressed can of air to remove all the accumulated dust. TRY IT!!!!!


SiAlViAe posted a review   

The Good:Price

The Bad:functionality

I had a E3 error and can do nothing to fix it. I tried all sugestions found on internet but nothing. Overall is goot few years but when is broke is broken for all.


LesleyG posted a comment   

i am pleased with my printer,still learning to do things on it . ihave been printing calanders and now i want to print something else and it keeps printing the same thing what do i do to fix it ? can anybody tell me please


Angry in Atlanta GA posted a comment   

Says it has a E3 paper Jam: it does not!!


RobNRenie posted a comment   

The Good:print quality good

The Bad:where do I start !

We've owned in the past 5 months an MP210, an MP140 and an MP160 and congratulations Canon no one can say your products are uniform every single one of them gets the damned paper jammed error and therefore left useless. The only reason I purchased the second one because I thought well Ive got this spare cartridge here it costs so damned much im not wasting it ..... so i got about80 pages total printed and it cleaned out two full cartridges ..... I have 4 new cartridges here now and dont know what Im going to do ...well over 100 dollars worth of ink and no damned printer and I dont want another canon .....#DONT BUY ANY OF THE MP RANGE PRINTERS#


shae posted a comment   

The Good:worked well

The Bad:but.. afterlike 2 years it sucks!!

claims theres a paper jam but there isnt!! sucks up the paper for like an inch then error and says paper jam!! ugh..



sam posted a comment   

I've had my printer for 2 years & had nothing but problems! After 30 pages, the ink needs replacing. Color photos are shocking. The paper feeder always plays up. And every time I need to print a single page the error light flashes. And I never received the cash back offer it came with!


Juls posted a comment   

The Good:reasonable color printing

The Bad:ink is expensive

I've had my printer for 2 years without any problem. the color scanner does a terrible job on photos. I have found it to be a good starter printer but i have difficulty with sone brands of photo paper


unreel69 posted a comment   

The Good:work sometimes

The Bad:has lots

this cannon mp160 used 1 lot of cartriges and it dosen print anymore, flashing lights, toatally unreliable not worh buying is my advice to anyone.


badcanon posted a review   

Paper jam is a ubiquitous problem, this printer lasts about a year with relatively light usage and then becomes unusable. At about $2/page, you're better off printing at Kinko's.

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User Reviews / Comments  Canon Pixma MP160

  • Shan Hansen

    Shan Hansen

    "Just got the MP160 and I too had an E3 error... being a computer wizz i pulled it appart: easy to do! 12 screws later i found the problem. Now, because the MP160 has no cover for the papper feeder ..."

  • SiAlViAe



    "I had a E3 error and can do nothing to fix it. I tried all sugestions found on internet but nothing. Overall is goot few years but when is broke is broken for all."

  • LesleyG


    "i am pleased with my printer,still learning to do things on it . ihave been printing calanders and now i want to print something else and it keeps printing the same thing what do i do to fix it ? c..."

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