Canon has a long heritage of producing excellent multi-function devices and it hopes to continue this success with the Pixma MX870. This new all-in-one sits at the top of their small office and home lines.
The MX870 has a massive list of features. On top of the usual print, copy and scan functionality it has a built-in fax, USB 2.0 connectivity and Ethernet port in addition to wireless 802.11n too. As well as the usual options you can download a free iPhone application that allows you to print to the MX870.
There are five separate ink tanks for better quality photo prints and more economic running. There's a digital memory card reader for direct photo printing and a 6.2cm LCD screen to review images and set other options.
You can store up to 250 faxes in the Canon's memory, letting you choose which to print, and 100 numbers in for when you're sending documents. You can use the automatic feeder to send multiple page faxes too. The scanner captures images at 2400 x 4800dpi and the driver software comes with a host of editing options.
The MX870 has two paper trays, one concealed underneath and a standard rear feed so you can keep plain A4 and photo paper loaded and ready to go. There's also a 35-sheet automatic document feeder for the scanning unit. The Canon can automatically print on both sides of your paper too with its built-in duplex unit.
In our tests the Canon produced a range of excellent prints that really impressed. The MX870 was a touch slower than some of the multi-functions that we've tested, but not by any great margin. Besides, the slightly slower speeds were more than eclipsed by the all round quality of the output.
Text quality is really good even at draft settings and a single page takes just 8 seconds to print. At best quality the time rises to 1 minute 40 seconds, but it is exceptionally good. Solid black characters and sharp edges are repeated across the board. Business style documents with a mixture of images and text over colours are good. Photo prints are, as we've come to expect from Canon, really good too. Fine details are retained and the MX870 produces really well-balanced colours. There was as light chink in the Canon's armour and that was colour photocopies. They lacked the detail and accuracy of the rest of the output, acceptable but not as polished as the rest of the prints.
If you're in the market for a multi-function device that has literally everything built-in and produces excellent quality prints then the MX870 is almost certainly the device for you. Our only disappointment was a slight lack of detail on colour photocopies, but in every other respect the Canon is excellent. The range of features and the quality construction combined with the print quality make this a truly excellent all-in-one.