There are times when a printer isn’t enough while a multifunction printer is too much. While businesses tend to require multifunction printers and individuals make do with a basic printer, what happens when personal needs grow to become professional needs? We’re, of course, talking about the home office. If budget is not a constraint you can get a low-end multifunction printer for your office but it would be highly likely that you won’t be able to use it to its full potential. The other option is to pay heed to your budgetary restrictions and go for budget all-in-one printers. The Canon MX496 is one such device.
The Canon MX496 is an all-in-one device which means that you’ll be able to use it for printing, copying, scanning, and faxing. More importantly, though, this is a device that is positioned in the budget segment. In a nutshell, this is a good device if you want multiple capabilities, don’t expect to print in heavy volume, and are strapped for cash. Here’s our review.
Strengths of Canon MX496
You can probably get the Canon MX496 for a few bucks more than $100. This puts it firmly in the budget market segment. For an all-in-one to cost this much, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) has to cut costs somewhere. This has happened in the case of the Canon MX496 but not in its core functionality.
Canon is known for output quality and, while the print output isn’t as excellent as Canon is capable of, it is still very good. Text prints are clean and sharp while graphics and images exhibit true colours, depth, and vibrancy.
The device uses Canon’s proprietary hybrid ink system which combines dye based and pigment based inks. The print head technology used by the OEM enables this device to generate ink droplets as small as 2 picolitres. The maximum resolution the MX496 is capable of is 4,800 x 1,200 dots per inch (dpi).
Not only do you get this print quality at this low price but also inside a compact structure. The Canon MX496 is a compact device which means that you can share a desk with it without losing elbow room. It measures about 435mm wide, 295mm deep, and 189mm high. Its weight is very much manageable for a single person at a mere 4.7 Kg.
The networking options that Canon has provided with its device are strategically chosen to be effective. You can connect to this printer in two ways – USB 2.0 and wireless. Unfortunately, the OEM hasn’t provided an Ethernet port but that should be fine because they’re only used in larger offices these days. The device supports mobile printing through Wi-Fi. At the same time, you can choose to use the Canon Inkjet Print app to print your documents since that way you’ll be able to print from third party services such as Facebook, Dropbox, and Flickr. There’s compatibility with Google Cloud Print and Air Print both.
Another feature that you definitely need to take into account while considering Canon MX496 is the 20-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF). This is something that isn’t available with many its competitors.
Weaknesses of Canon MX496
Now, we come to those elements where the OEM has cut costs. The first of these is the print speed. The Canon MX496 is a slow device. It is rated to produce about 8.8 monochrome pages per minutes (ppm). The device is even slower with colour prints with a formal speed of 4.4 ppm.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning that print speed isn’t really a critical feature of a device that is intended for home office use. The reason for this is that print speed only comes into play when a large number of pages are to be printed. The Canon MX496 isn’t meant for heavy duty printing so this speed should be more than sufficient for most users.
This same logic also applies to paper handling capacity of the Canon MX496. This machine has an input tray that can hold 100 sheets at a time.
For this market segment, this is more than sufficient even though many competing devices offer more capacity than this. A much bigger and more critical problem than the above is the quality of materials used to manufacture this device. You handle this device for five minutes and you’ll be able to figure it out that it is a budget device. The plastic used is very weak especially if you look at the foldable components. The two panels which open in the front are flimsy and weak. This means that you’ll need to handle the Canon MX496 with care. An even bigger flaw of the Canon MX496 is the sound it generates. Have no doubts about it; this is a noisy printer. As per some estimates, while printing this device can generate up to 70 dB which is enough to become very annoying.
We should also inform you that while you’ll save tonnes of money when you buy this device, it may all balance out if you plan on using it a lot. The running cost of the Canon MX496 is on the higher side which can quickly add up if you’ll be printing excessively. You can expect to pay anything around 18 cents per page but that is with genuine cartridges. If you use compatible cartridges, as you should, you stand to cut that cost down to only 15.6 cents per page.
We do recommend you do that because you don’t even have the option to save money by duplexing. Duplexing on the Canon MX496 is only possible manually since there’s no automatic feature but then again you can’t expect such a feature at such a price point.
Key Features of Canon MX496
The Canon MX496 comes with a number of other features as well. On top of the machine, to the left, you’ll note a control panel. The control panel consists of a 16-character, 2-line monochrome LCD display that is accompanied by a series of membrane buttons. You can use these controls to do a number of things but the software behind the screen is difficult to move through. This just means that it isn’t as intuitive as you may expect, which is why you’ll have to get used to it.
For example, using the scanner through this panel can be a challenge. Even so, the scanner is quite good on this device. It can scan up to a resolution of 600 x 1200 (dpi), which should be good enough for most things you’ll need it for. Like all Canon devices, the Canon MX496 prints borderless on paper as well as photos. It also comes with a software suite that includes My Image Garden and Print Your Device apps. The warranty you can expect on this machine is for 12 months and that to “return to base”.