We all know Canon for producing digital cameras, calculators, printers, scanners and related equipment. The Pixma MP600 is multifunction device with standalone photo printing support and even CD/DVD label printing. This is a good quality machine and would be a great addition to your home if your interests lie in the direction of photography or graphic arts.
Styled in black and silver (almost compulsory for modern office equipment) this machine says, "we're here to do business". The MP600 is chunky and square, with an almost plain control panel that can be hidden away behind a flip-down LCD display panel. Card ports are also hidden away behind a small door at the front of the machine and the PictBridge port hides under an overhang below this.
Like most other personal printers, we would like to see the paper tray hold a little more -- 100 sheets doesn't last long. There is, however, a manual feeder tray that can also take a similar load.
Scanning to the PC is assisted by ScanGear software which is accessible from a desktop icon; it provides easy access to a wealth of options. The Pixma MP600 is well made, sturdy machine.
The MP600 is described as an all-in-one photo printer. There is no networking or fax facilities unlike some other multifunction devices. It does have extensive printing capabilities and it is also capable of direct photo-printing and disk labelling. Disk labelling obviously requires suitably surfaced disks and the user needs to insert a special tray in through the paper output slot and into the print assembly in order to use this function.
Two separate black ink tanks are used by this machine -- a smaller one for photo printing and a larger one for standard text and graphics. Sadly, copying is not supported by an automatic document feeder so it will need to be one painful page at a time. The scan software interface was easy to use and has any number of options for specifying scan area, resolution and colour/contrast adjustments. The Pixma MP600 has two paper sources -- an internal tray at the base of the machine and a rear mounted manual sheet feeder.
The Canon Pixma MP600 is fast once it gets going. Canon inkjets typically spend an inordinate amount of time doing little house keeping chores, which can be annoying if you want to fire it up and quickly print off one page -- get yourself a coffee while you wait for this one. We tested speeds of 7.9ppm (pages per minute) in monochrome and 7.7ppm in colour. In colour draft mode, it performed a little better -- 11ppm, but average speed was still down at 3.2ppm due to the preparation time required prior to taking action.
Printing a photo direct from an SD card was surprisingly fast once we had battled through the menus and figured out which way up to place the photo paper in the tray. We then discovered that the photo print quality was exceptional and well worth the effort. Resolutions up to 9600 x 2400 dpi are possible. Printing to ordinary paper also gave a very pleasing result; contrast and colour reproduction was great, though complex colour borders left a little to be desired.
The ink yields and current pricing mean that it would cost around 27c per 10 x 15 print (plus paper cost). You could, of course, get prints done as Big-W for 25c, but sometimes the extra control and avoiding a trip to the supermarket are well worth it.
When we crossed over to Epson paper the result was still quite good, but not quite as bright as using Canon's own specified paper. Scans and copies were good, although our greyscale test was only reproduced at about 30% on standard copy settings. Scanner resolution extends up to 2400 x 2400 dpi (ignoring interpolation).
The Canon Pixma MP600 has a 12 month warranty as standard with the option of upgrading to three years.