The Canon Pixma MP620 is an all-in-one inkjet photo printer so it's safe to say without even reading the review that it's a busy little machine. It's packed with a scanner, copier, two paper trays, a built-in card reader and wireless network capability and decent print speeds for $150. Seems too good to be true.
That's why I was so delighted to get this printer in for review last month; I couldn't wait to see if the Canon Pixma MP620 was all that it claimed to be, especially after the positive review we gave the MP970 a few months back.
The Canon Pixma MP620 all-in-one is actually a small printer at approximately 18 lbs. Its dimensions are 14.5 by 17.7 by 6.9 inches (when not in use) so it doesn’t take up a gross amount of space like some multifunction printers.
It’s a pretty modern looking exterior mostly done in silver with black edging and a black control panel. I found that the black edging/paneling was easily smudged and I couldn't keep fingerprints off of it. All of the paper trays fold into the printer to keep it compact when not in use. There are two main paper trays: a front loading tray for regular paper and a rear tray that pops up for photo paper.
The front loading tray can hold up to 150 pages of paper and the rear photo tray can hold up to 20 4x6-inch sheets of photo paper.
Above the front tray, the MP620 folds out a third tray where the finished prints appear. On the right side of that, there is another small compartment that has three different sized memory card slots.
The MP620 is compatible with SD Memory Card, SDHC, Micro SD, MultiMedia Card (v4.1), MultiMediaCard Plus (v.4.1), RS-MMC, Compact Flash Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, xD-Picture Card, xD-Picture Card (Type M) and xD-Picture Card (Type H). It can also be used with mini memory cards but you’ll need an adapter.
There is also a PictBridge port below the memory card slots.
The pop-up 2.5-inch LCD and control panel is located on top of the MP620. The control panel consists of 16 buttons. They are labeled: power, navigation, home, back, four arrow keys, OK/enter, two option keys, copies plus, copies minus, black, color, and stop.
If you lift the top up, you’ll find the scanner/copier area. Its dimensions are approximately 8.5 by 12 inches.
If you lift the scanner/copier area, you’ll find yourself looking at the inside of the machine. This is where you load the five individual ink cartridges in the beginning of set-up and when you need to change an empty cartridge.
The power cord is connected on the back left side. If you plan on connecting the MP620 to your network or personal computer through a wired connection, the USB port is located on the back right side.
Setting up the MP620
Regardless of what I say later about ease of use, setting up the MP620 was simple and relatively quick. There is a "Getting Started" book that takes you step by step through the process. The MP620 is covered in orange tape when you take it out of the box but for the most part is together. You do need to insert the print head and add the ink cartridges, but the instructions are detailed and they are relatively easy to insert.
After you get the ink situated and the machine plugged in, you need to decide how you want to use the MP620: USB connection, wired LAN, or wireless LAN. This is actually pretty important because it is not easy to switch your connection after it’s been set up. If you plan on using the printer with only one computer, the USB connection is the easiest and recommended by me.
If you are on a network and want to share the printer, you'll need to decide between connecting the printer to the network router via an ethernet cable or Wi-Fi. They are equally easy to set up initially but extremely difficult to change after the inital set up. After the printer is set up, each computer that's on the network will need to download the drivers for the MP620 as well.
Once you decide on your configuration, the Canon Setup CD will take care of the rest of the work. If you choose the Easy Install, you will be downloading 499 MB worth of software and drivers. If you are an advanced user or have a limited amount of space available on your hard drive, I would suggest doing the Custom Install and choosing only the bare minimum.
The Setup CD will then take you through a brief installation and configure your connection preference. All that needs to be done after is to load paper in the cassette or rear tray and you are ready to print.
All in all, it took about ten minutes to get the MP620 ready for use.
Ease of Use
Once you turn the MP620 on, you see just how user friendly the printer is, with large buttons and a scroll wheel clearly labeled. The printer’s menus are simple to navigate with six menu options that are pretty self explanatory: Copy, Scan, Photo Index Sheet, Settings, Easy Photo Reprint, and Memory Card.
On your computer that are also several programs designed to enhance your printing experience if you choose to download all the software included. For this review, I installed every program on the CD, prompting eight different icons to pop up neatly on my desktop.
The first and last icons are both links for registering your MP620. I don’t know what the difference is between the printer customer registration and the Canon MP620 series user registration, but I deleted them both since I’m only using the product temporarily.
The next icon is the on-screen manual. I would suggest downloading this since the MP620 does not come with a paper manual.
The Canon IJ Network Tool is also helpful, and necessary if you plan on sharing your printer on a network. I would install this program.
The MP Navigator EX 2.0 and the Easy-Photo Print EX icons follow the network tool and are useful for scanning and printing photos but aren’t necessary to get quality scans or photo prints. They are the largest downloads on the Setup CD and might be the first place you look to save memory.
The last two icons are the Canon Solution Menu and My Printer. The Canon Solution Menu is helpful if you decide to download all the provided software because it’s basically a shortcut menu to all of the programs allowing you to delete every shortcut icon off your desktop.
My Printer is the third program I recommend installing. It allows you to change the printer settings, check the printer status and has a troubleshooting option. If you don't want to install it or don't have space, you can find most of this information on the printer under the Settings menu.
All of Canon’s programs are simple and intuitive but not exactly necessary for the proper function of the MP620.
What was not simple or intuitive about the Pixma MP620 was switching the printer configurations after the inital setup. In fact, I could not figure out how to do it even with help from two of my co-workers. In the end, I had to keep deleting the printer drivers off my computer and then reinstalling them with the Setup CD, which would in turn help me configure the network. Using this process, I was able to test all three configurations and found they are worked just fine.
This was extremely frustrating for me and I wish that Canon had included another paper manual on network configuration or at least added it to the on-screen manual. I’m sure there must be some easier to way to switch the printer to and from a network but I could not figure it out after wasting over an hour of my time and my co-worker's time.
The MP620 is an all-in-one printer featuring a printer, copier and scanner. All three were high quality in my opinion.
The printer can print on several different kinds of media, from photo paper to ordinary copy paper, and in several sizes. As I mentioned earlier, it has two paper trays for separating the media and eliminating accidental prints and waste. I did want to mention that the rear paper tray comes out at a very awkward angle and is the flimiest part of the printer, but it was worth having so you don't have to worry about mixing media.
I did not notice a difference of photo quality on the photo paper or the size. I tested the MP620 on Kodak High Gloss Photo Paper (8x10”), Canon Photo Paper Plus Glossy II (4x6”), and Office Depot Glossy Photo Paper (4x6”). The MP620 printed beautiful, vibrant 8x10s and 4x6s. I also used the MP620 to create multiple prints on an 8x10 sheet of photo paper with good results.
The MP620 also pumps out regular black and white and color prints at 26 pages per minute and 17 pages per minute, respectively. I tested several different kinds of media including an envelope, labels, and copy paper. I found the prints came out sharp except for the envelope where there was a touch of smearing around the return address. I printed out a second envelope and it worked fine.
The MP620 printed out a full page of black and white text in about 27 seconds, my three page flight schedule (which was a mix of black and white text and color boxes) in about a minute, and my specialized envelope in a minute as well. The times are from the moment I hit print until the moment the print is finished, so it includes the preparation/spooling time, which I don't think Canon includes when getting their ppm estimates.
Overall, I found that the printer takes longer to prepare for the bigger jobs or edited photos than it does to actually print them. For jobs the printer doesn’t need to “prepare” for, it prints quickly and efficiently closer to Canon's ppm quote.
The copy/scan functionality is also good; I printed a color copy in approximately 24 seconds. The lid is adjustable for thicker copying such as books, and there is a frame erase option to prevent that black shadowing you always get on book copies near the binding, saving ink. You can also do borderless, 2-on-1, and 4-on-1 copies.
Scans of photos and other media can be saved directly to a PC, memory card, or a USB flash drive. With Canon’s MP Navigator EX 2.0 you can specify exactly what type of media you are scanning for higher quality scans, edit the scans, and edit the scan settings. I scanned an 8x10-inch photo to my PC in around 30 seconds.
I still believe the Canon Pixma MP620 all-in-one inkjet printer is a nice looking, reasonably priced machine. But now I can add to my initial assessment that the MP620 prints high quality copies and photos, scans quickly and is simple to use. It gives a user much to work with, and the only things missing in my opinion are fax functionality and some much needed instruction on network configuration.
If you are looking for a home office or personal use printer, the Canon Pixma MP620 gets the job done for $150. If its an office printer you need, I might go in a different direction.
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