The Pixma MX885 is a home office printer with aesthetics to match. It's not the shiniest all-in-one printer, and even compared to slightly more slick-looking Canon models, such as the MG6150, it's a bit on the plain side. Gone is the touchscreen display of those recent models, replaced by a 4x4 grid of buttons that light up to show specific functions. It's not as elegantly presented as the touchscreen option, but that presumably plays a part in the MX885's asking price.
The impressive thing about the AU$269 MX885 is how many small office features Canon's offering up within it. It's a full multifunction, meaning those businesses that simply can't rid themselves of their fax addiction can be happy. The scan head is rated at 2400x4800dpi, it supports full automatic duplexing for scans, faxes and copies, and supports USB, Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi for connectivity to PC and Mac platforms.
Canon doesn't use the page per minute (ppm) rating that other manufacturers tend towards, instead expressing print speeds in image per minute (ipm) figures. We've generally found that your speeds in real-world usage will tend to be a little lower than the manufacturer's "best case" scenarios, but Canon's ipm figures tend to be a lot closer than the over-inflated ppm figures used elsewhere. In any case, the MX885 isn't rated as a speed demon at a stated 12.5ipm for black pages and 9.3ipm for colour. Photo printing speed is suggested at 20 seconds for a standard 10x15cm photo.
In consumable terms, the MX885 uses five ink tanks. There are two black tanks (dye and pigment) and cyan, magenta and yellow colour cartridges. Checking online, we found each of the cartridges online for around AU$23 each, meaning a full refill run will set you back around AU$115. Canon states expected yields in a rather unusual way, partly due to the multiple black tanks. The stated specifications for plain paper A4 printing (which mostly uses the 525BK for blacks) are as follows: PGI-525BK (approx 341), CLI-526C (approx 520), CLI-526M (approx 500), CLI-526Y (approx 515); CLI-526BK (approx 3005). For photo printing (where the 526BK takes most of the dark strain), page yields are stated as such: PGI-525BK (approx 3800), CLI-526C (approx 207), CLI-526M (approx 204), CLI-526Y (approx 202); CLI-526BK (approx 660). Predicting actual per page costing is thus very difficult, especially if you're using any type of colour, or if one of the black tanks is acting as a supplemental tank to the other.
Installation of the MB885 was relatively smooth and simple. Like most of Canon's recent Wi-Fi-enabled models, entering security details for encrypted networks is a bit of a chore, but it's a chore you'll only have to do once.
If you're predominantly printing with control from a PC you most likely won't notice it, but the MX885's button array does feel rather cheap and clicky in repeated use. The layout is fine, but the use of lights underneath buttons doesn't allow for quite the same smooth workflow that we loved in the MG6150.
Canon does not rate the MX885 as a particularly speedy document printer, and this was played out in our testing. Sending a single page document to the MX885 over Wi-Fi saw it emerge a lethargic 21.6 seconds later. It did speed up after that initial page, however, and multi-page print runs saw it hit an average of 10ppm, just slightly below Canon's own 12.5ipm figure. Again, we're struck by how Canon's figures seem to be more reliable than those of other vendors, even if they're not particularly brisk. A 10x15cm photo print took on average 35 seconds, which again isn't world-beating.
Print quality was on the whole acceptable without being fantastic. We noticed plain paper documents tended to come out a little wet, and photo prints were just a touch dark in most cases, but then this isn't a dedicated photo printer.
The MX885 represents great value for the SOHO multifunction buyer. We could wish it was faster, and that the exact per-page pricing was easier to discern exactly, but those quirks aside, it's an excellent all-round printer offering.