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Gadget Review: Canon MX895 (Printer)

Final Score 7.8

As much as we here at Shoe String tend to live our work lives via WiFi and 3G modems, there’s nary a day that goes by that we don’t need to use paper. Whether it be to print and annotate story ideas, scan sketches or fax off an invoice for Shoe String Sales or Shoe String Design, a great multifunction device can make a huge difference in streamlining paper-based office activities.

The kind folks at Canon have sent us their latest multifuction MX895 for review, and it’s a corker. So with no further ado, let’s jump into the specifics.

With a tasteful mix of piano and matte black finishes, a neatly gridded and backlit button array (with screen menu) and a not-too-large footprint, we liked what we saw when we unboxed the MX895. I’ve had Canon’s previous MX890 sitting on my desk for the last year and a half, and whilst that had a more subdued silver body which is more to my taste for a home office, the MX895’s bold black hues assert its maturer intentions and capability.

It’s not a light printer, but for a multifunction it’s weight is fine. As a device in a non-portable category, it’s weight is a bit of a moot point. It’s handy that the MX895 comes with a rear and cassette tray (bottom front) though, so that regardless of where you place it, there’ll be a comfortable place for you to insert papers quickly and without fuss.

The lid that reveals the flatbed scanner is very nicely weighted, it stays open without a prop and its slight resistance ensures that even the most careless of office staff members won’t damage the lid by slamming it down.

The MX895 comes with several options for connecting to your various devices. You can use USB (cable not included, somewhat strangely since this is the most traditional method), ethernet, via WiFi, or avoid a computer altogether by using a memory card or smartphone app (cool!). Understandably in this day and age, with a huge proportion of new devices being wirelessly connected, Canon’s exclusion of a USB cable is looking forward to the future; it may be a little frustrating for those who would rather insert a basic cable than deal with wireless networks, though. Thankfully for those upgrading their printer, you can use your old USB cable. Recycle, baby.

The huge range of connectivity options is a big plus. Being able to preview and print images straight from your digital camera’s memory card is great, as is the ability to print straight from your smartphone’s photo gallery – the iPhone 4 for example recognises the MX895’s WiFi presence when you tap ‘Print’ on any image – and the data goes straight to the printer. It’s a shame you don’t have control over the size and positioning of images printed this way, but it’s very cool nonetheless and perfect for quickly printing shots snapped for immediate use with your phone.

The scanner on my ‘old’ MX890 is great – not having to open a specific program to initiate the process even more so. This tradition continues on the MX895, with quick and easy, no-fuss scanning: including for negatives. Photographs and sketches appear crisp and clean, and it’s quick.

The sticker on the printer marked “Easy two-sided scanning and copying” is thankfully accurate, particularly with copies. The feed for the copier is handy so you don’t need to continually open and close the lid, excellent when copying multiple pages.

Update: Download the Canon EPP app from the App Store (for iOS devices) and you can choose the paper size and paper type when you print photos. You can also scan from iPhone too! (Thanks James R.)

We initiated a range of prints on the MX895 and were satisfied with the results. Text from a Word document was sharp and printed quickly. Even selecting ‘Fine Printing on Plain Paper’ was quick for graphic-intensive designs, and this setting was noticeably improved from the basic setting (found on the Mac print dialogue). The performance is a marked improvement over the MX890, which was slow to turn on and even slower to start a print once you’d pressed “Print” from your computer. Being a business printer, the quality/performance balance is good. Photo connoisseurs should probably look elsewhere however, with slight oversaturation of hues. Those who require blazing fast pages per minute should probably also look elsewhere, such as to the laser category. Ink jet is naturally slower, but for the category the MX895 does the job.

Available on the Canon store ( for $249, the MX895 represents good value for money. 5 separate ink chambers mean that you only replace what you use the most. This is particularly handy for the office, when black is probably your most used colour due to document printing. Some say that more ink tanks equals more paid, but at least Canon’s ink cartridges tend to be cheaper than those from other big brands such as Epson and HP. There are other multifunctions for less outright cost though, and by using the (recommended for quality) Fine settings, you will drain your ink cartridges quicker.

Wrap Up
I’ve enjoyed my time with the MX895 and recommend it for daily home office / small office use. With no blaring missing features (apart from no USB cable); satisfactory image quality and speed; and a nice design, the MX895 would be a great addition to your office gadget family if you need a multifunction device. Got any questions on the NX895? Ask us in the comments section below, or email/Facebook us.

Score Breakdown:
Hardware 9
Setup 8
Features 8
Performance 7
Price 7

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