Canon Pixma MG6450 review - Good for photos; expensive for mono

Canon’s latest is good for photo printing, although mono documents can prove expensive

Canon recently updated its Pixma range of photo-printers with three new multifunction models that provide printing, copying and scanning features, along with Canon’s Cloud Link technology that allows them to print photos from social networking sites such as Facebook and Flickr. Prices for the new printers range from £110.00 to £180.00, but we reviewed the mid-range MG6450, which costs £139.99.

The MG6450 is a little on the bulky side, measuring 455mm wide, 369mm deep and148mm high. You might have trouble fitting it onto a shelf, so you’ll need to find some spare desk space to set it up. It doesn’t look too bad, though, especially if you opt for the striking bronze colour that is available along with the more conventional black and white.

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The MG6450 prints with five separate ink cartridges.

Canon squeezes a good range of features into the printer, too. As well as its 4800x1200dpi printing, the MG6450 also includes a 1200x240dpi scanner and copier. It provides both USB and wifi connections, and supports Apple’s AirPrint so that you can print directly from iOS devices. The small LCD control panel also includes a number of built-in apps that allow you to log into FaceBook and other services so that you can print photos that you have stored online. The only minor disappointment here is that its single paper tray only holds a rather modest 100-sheets.

Like many of Canon’s printers, the MG6450 uses five separate coloured ink cartridges, with standard cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks used for colour printing, and a special pigmented black ink devoted to mono text printing. That system produces very good results, but the printer’s performance and running costs suggest that it’s mainly suitable for occasional use at home rather than frequent use in an office.

Canon quotes speeds of 15 pages per minute for mono printing, and 10ppm for colour, but our tests produced results closer to 12.5ppm and 6ppm respectively. Those speeds should still be adequate for most home users, though, and the print quality is very good indeed. The pigmented black ink produces very fine, detailed text, while colour graphics and photos produce colours that are rich but not over-saturated.

However, the use of five inks does push the printer’s running costs up a bit. A standard size cartridge of the pigmented black ink costs £12.00 and only produces about 300 pages, which works out at 4p per page. The XL cartridge is better value, costing £15.00 and printing 500 pages, but still works out at an above-average 3p per page.

Fortunately, colour printing is a bit more reasonable. You can buy a multipack of all four standard colour cartridges for about £40.00, and this should produce about 345 colour pages at a cost of 11.6p per pages. That’s higher than we’d like, but that price falls to a far more reasonable 6.5p per page if you buy a set of XL cartridges for £60.00.

Small 4” x 6” photo prints work out at around 16p each, which isn’t too bad either, and the MG6450 can churn them out in less than 45 seconds

OUR VERDICT

If you’re simply looking for a general-purpose printer for use at home then the MG6450 isn’t the best choice, as the modest capacity of even its XL size pigmented black ink cartridges means that mono printing is relatively expensive. However, the XL colour cartridges provide better value, and the quality of the MG6450’s colour output makes it a good option for people who just need to print occasional high-quality colour or photo documents.

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