Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you have to buy a cheap printer that can't function outside of simple text documents. If you need a device that can fax, copy, scan and print on a wide variety of media, the Canon Pixma MX330 will make a perfect addition to your home office.
At around £100, this all-in-one printer aims to boost productivity by adding an automatic document feeder and a full-colour, 46mm (1.8-inch) LCD display. Although we have some complaints about the output quality, we can't argue with the bundle of features and the excellent value that the MX330 represents.
Design and features
The MX330's design is streamlined so that every drawer, tray and port folds flush into the body. The result is a very sleek, matte black and grey exterior, with all of the buttons you need to adjust the settings conveniently placed on the front panel. Since the default function is to print, the rest of the hot keys (copy, fax and scan) are the largest on the panel, surrounded by the power button, two small LEDs that indicate usage, and a blinking alarm for low ink or paper jams.
The bright LCD screen sits prominently in the middle of the control panel. While we're normally used to adjusting the angle of the screens on Pixma printers, we're thankful that Canon has included an LCD at all at this price. The rest of the controls include shortcut buttons for 'menu', 'settings' and 'back'; a directional pad and corresponding 'OK' button for navigating through menus; fax shortcuts for quality, coded dialling and redials; two buttons for black and colour copies; and a 'stop print' button for emergency cancellations. Overall, the MX330 measures a manoeuvrable 460 by 198 by 411mm.
Most all-in-one printers typically don't include automatic document feeders at this price point, so we're happy to see that Canon has included one, making it much easier to scan or copy stacks of documents. The automatic document feeder can only handle up to 30 pages at a time, so the majority of your blank media goes through the rear input tray, which holds 100 pages. A plastic guide folds out of the rear tray to handle larger media.
Output is a much more simplified process: all outbound prints pop out of the front drawer onto an angled lip that folds out of the main body. We're disappointed to see that the MX330 doesn't include a multimedia card reader for direct prints, but you can hook up a digital camera directly to the printer through the PictBridge USB port on the bottom of the unit.
The top of the printer lifts open to reveal the standard 216 by 279mm scanner bay, but you can also pop that open and access the bay for two ink cartridges below. To keep costs low, the MX330 only uses two ink cartridges: one for black and one for colours. While we prefer five or sometimes even six separate cartridge tanks, to cut down on the cost of consumables, it makes sense that a printer at this price only has two tanks. If you plan to use your printer for numerous photo prints or graphical documents, a printer with separate ink cartridge bays will prove more economical.
The package includes a driver CD with all the installation files you need to customise your prints. Among the settings, you can choose between commonly used templates, like standard, business, paper-saving and photo-printing, which adjust the type of media, paper size and source. Additionally, the driver CD provides you with adjustments for borderless printing, vivid photos, greyscale prints, and even manual colour intensities by numeral increments.
There's also a pop-up print-status monitor that shows the current job, document name, device owner, status and a graphical representation of the ink-cartridge levels. Conveniently, this pop-up monitor automatically disappears once a job is finished printing, but we prefer status monitors that show us the page and progress of the print.