Product Review- Canon PIXMA MP160

For many years, decades even, Canon was mostly identified by consumers as a photography giant, with its wide array of cameras that could fit any consumer’s budget. But now, Canon is starting to make more noise as a printer manufacturer and wants to move in on the market share that Hewlett Packard occupies.

WIth the PIXMA MP160, Canon’s follow-up to the well-received PIXMA MP150, the intent is to have more people buy this basic multifunction printer.

It’s not a fancy printer, by any means. It is more stylish than the MP150, with a little more rounded of a frame. The color is more of a burnished gray than the MP150s off-white. Like all Canon printers, it is a top feed printer, which means all blank
paper is put in a slot that is in the back of the printer, facing upwards.

It utitlizes the same ink cartridges that the MP150 did, with the consumer having a choice in the size of cartridges. For those who print sparingly or on an average of once or twice a week, there are the cartridges 40 (generally around $20) black and 41 (generally around $25) color. For those who print more often, there are the larger 50 black (generally $29) and 51 color ( generally $35). People can mix and match sizes too. The cartridges are easy to install, but may look a little odd compared to HP’s once they are in. They lean at somewhat of an angle when installed, but work just fine. The only drawback with the cartridges is that it is solely a four-color printer, and for the serious photographer who wants to have the richest color hues, a printer that has the ability to expand to six colors or another printer with six individual cartridges may be the way to go.

Another problem that Canon has faced is that it seems to use lighter material than say.. the HP 1510 or C3180, making consumers worry about the longevity. This printer seems a bit more sturdy than its predecessors. It a relatively compact printer, but it still dwarfs the C3180 in size.

The printing, scanning and copying functions are all accessed via a dashboard that juts out over the output tray, making it easy and intuitive for anyone to use. A circular display, vaguely reminiscent of an air traffic controller’s display, shows how many copies or prints can be made.

There is no memory card reader, but people with digital cameras that are equipped with PictBridge software can connect their camera via its USB cable and print pictures that way. This has pretty much become a standard feature of all printers now. The other option for photo printing is to just uplaod pictures to the computer and print them that way.

People can scan at up to 600 dots per inch (dpi). That’s all people who are using this basic scanner really need, and 600 dpi is good enough to produce highly detailed scans (as well as file sizes in the 10MB range).

Reportedly, the MP160 can print at up to 24 pages per minute (ppm) in black and nearly 20 ppm in color, but as I have explained in other reviews, the ppm speed is always going to be highest in the lowest settings. While these printers are fast, do NOT buy a printer just because it lists itself as having extremely fast print speed.

The printer uses USB 2.0 for fast transfer rate, but do not fret if you are using an older USB port, since it is backwards compatible and the difference in transfer speed in this case is negligible. If it was a case of an extranl hard drive or DVD burner, then it would necessitate an upgrade to USB 2.0. The USB cable must be purchased seperately.

As the trend for all printers, people who are still doggedly clinging to Windows 95 are out of luck. This printer requires Windows 98 Second Edition or higher and Macintosh users must have OS X 10.2 or higher. Also, for USB 2.0 compatibility, users must have Windows XP or 2000. Any other version of Windows will have the printer operating at USB 1.1 speed.

Canon boasts that using its ink on certain types of its own photo paper will produce photos that can last 100 years. Of course, if one leaves this photo out in the sunlight every day and doesn’t protect it from excessive heat or humidity, then the length of archival quality will diminish. A solid steel vault with a climate control would be the best option there.

This printer has pretty much rolled right out of the factories and is available at electronic retailer stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City. At the time of this writing, the retail price for this item is $89.99, although it is subject to change.

HP may still be king for now, but Canon may have them looking over their shoulder soon enough.

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