As with everything in the gadget world the buzzword still seems to be convergence. If our phones aren't becoming PDAs, then they are quickly becoming everything else from MP3 players to games consoles. When it comes to convergence however, All-in-one printers, scanners and copiers, sometimes known as MultiFunction Devices have been carved out a little niche market for themselves. Canon is hoping to carve a bit deeper with its MultiPass MP390.
The sleek black-and-silver finish will fit comfortably in any home and strangely isn't as obtuse as we first thought it to be. The footprint- a relatively small 17.9” x 21.5” means it's small enough to not get in the way and a compact set of buttons surrounding the front panel LCD display that can be found on the right of the unit. All the relevant controls can be found here and this includes functionality for both copying and printing directly from a digital camera.
Setup is straightforward. Like many other Canon printers the MP390 opts for separate ink cartridges for CMYK printing and all you have to do is worry about aligning the print heads.
Scanning multiple documents can only be done via laying each page on the flatbed scanner that sits on top of the printer and the lack of a document feeder will soon becoming annoying if you are planning on copying whole reams. To get around this, the interface will automatically ask you if you have another page to scan, but it can still be very frustrating. Also frustrating- again because it can be found in not only a competitor's model, but also Canon's own scanners- is a lack of support for transparencies or negative scanning.
Those looking for fax support, will be pleased to see the all-in-one unit has its own built in modem for faxing and accompanying software will also allow you to fax directly from the PC.
While the print quality in our tests ranged from good to very good on a varying variety of papers the units isn't gifted with the prowess of speed. Yes the results were good, but don't expect this unit to churn out that presentation you've got to present to the board in whistle stop time ten minutes before the meeting.
For the casual user, that plans to use a combination of the scanner, fax machine and printer on a regular basis then this is a good unit to opt for. If however you want an office workhorse, printing, scanning, faxing and copying away until the wee small hours you may find yourself a cropper. The lack of an automatic feeder, small ink cartridges and a lack of support for negatives or transparencies all count against this printer's business use. On the plus side you've got the fax modem, and TextBridge support. All that aside this is a solid model for if you plan to use it in a family environment, but not for busy medium-sized small business.