Take the minimalist design of the Canon Pixma MX330, add the functionality of the Canon Pixma MX7600, finish it off with built-in Wi-Fi, and you've got the Canon Pixma MX860. It's the only printer in the series that offers wireless connectivity while still maintaining all the features you need to print, scan, fax and copy. Despite small missteps in output quality, the £200 MX860 is a worthwhile multi-function printer at a reasonable price.
The MX860 retains the same shape as the MX330, measuring 460 by 198 by 411mm, with grooved handles on the bottom of the device that make it easy to move around. The curved edges and integrated control panel are very sleek and attractive, and the MX860 will work just as well in the office as it will in the home.
The large, 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screen is fixed inside the neatly organised control panel. The left side of the panel houses the power button, as well as shortcuts for copying, faxing and scanning, while the right side contains the usual fare of menu, settings, numerical and navigation buttons. Canon also includes a few more buttons than the MX330 to help justify the £100 price difference, including a dedicated memory card button for copying and printing images directly from the media-card reader at the bottom, and some smaller keys that automatically dial your preset fax numbers.
Canon offers three different options for paper input. The easiest method is via the 150-sheet tray that pulls out from underneath the folding output bay. You can throw another 150 sheets into the rear-loading tray. Both trays have small plastic guides to fit a variety of paper sizes, from 4 by 6 inches all the way up to number 10 envelopes.
The versatility of the dual paper feeds gives the user the opportunity to store smaller photo paper in the rear tray and normal 8-by-10-inch sheets in the front. The driver also does a good job of automatically choosing the right tray and paper for any particular job.
The third and final paper input tray is the auto-document feeder that sits on top of the unit and can hold up to 35 sheets of plain paper for copying or scanning. The auto-document feeder can be tucked neatly into the body of the printer when not in use.
The scanner bay is hidden in the middle of the printer, but you can also prop that open to reveal the MX860's five-ink cartridge bay. There are four dye-based inks and a pigment-based ink for black text. We've always been big fans of separate ink cartridge bays because they save money.
We're also happy to see that the MX860 includes a dedicated, covered media-card reader, especially since we criticised the MX330 for the omission of one. The reader is located at the bottom of the printer, to the right of the paper output tray, and has slots for Memory Stick Pro Duo, SD and CompactFlash cards, among others.
Once you plug in a card, the MX860 gives you two ways to print out the contents: you can either pick several pictures using the navigation pad to create a batch print, or you can view, edit and print individual pictures directly on the LCD. Manual edits include red-eye reduction, colour effects like sepia and black-and-white, noise reduction and so on. There's also a PictBridge USB port down there that lets you connect a compatible digital camera directly to the printer.
The MX860 prints, scans and copies over a USB 2.0 connection by default, but you can also connect it to a wired network through the Ethernet port on the back or over a wireless network using Wi-Fi. Like many other wireless printers on the market, the software needs to establish a USB connection first to create an ad-hoc connection over a router. The set-up assistant on the driver had us printing wirelessly in less than 5 minutes, and we were able to connect using both a Mac and PC.