Providing great print quality and good features, the Canon PIXMA MX860 inkjet multifunction is a well-priced alternative to cheap laser multifunctions printers if you need to conduct low-volume printing. The only thing that stops it being truly competitive with laser multifunctions is its print speed.
The Canon PIXMA MX860 multifunction is clearly optimised for office use, with an automatic document feeder, a front-facing paper cassette and a rear fold-out tray. Its media capacity is paltry, however, with a maximum of 300 A4 sheets between the two trays. The front paper cassette doesn't offer a 4x6in size setting but there is room for photo printing media in the rear tray.
USB and Ethernet connections are provided, along with Wi-Fi, an integrated fax and media card slots for Memory Stick, SD, CompactFlash, as well as PictBridge USB. A standout feature on the PIXMA MX860 multifunction printer is the inclusion of automatic duplex — often absent on inkjet and even laser multifunctions — allowing you to save paper through double-sided printing.
Canon multifunction printers have never been prized for their print speed, and the PIXMA MX860 continues this trend. It only takes a reasonable 12.2 seconds to print the first page of mono draft documents and 15.8 seconds for colour documents. But in mono draft documents printed at an average of 10.6 pages per minute in our printing tests, while normal quality documents printed at 7.9ppm.
Colour documents are even slower, at 6.4ppm for draft quality and an excruciatingly slow 2.9ppm for normal quality. Photo printing isn't particularly fast, either: standard 4x6in photos took on average 34.5sec in our printing tests and A4 photos took around 1min 40sec.
The speed of the PIXMA MX860 is on par with the similarly priced Canon PIXMA MP630 home inkjet multifunction .
It's rare to find a Canon printer that doesn't provide excellent print quality, and the PIXMA MX860 multifunction is no exception. Text is clear, readable and does not suffer from aberrations. However, characters appear bolder than they should be. This makes text at 7pt more readable, but means the printer can't compete with laser printers when it comes to text at more typical font sizes.
Colours are extremely vibrant, but text is still readable when printed on colour backgrounds. Blues are a little oversaturated and can end up looking wet but are otherwise acceptable. Photos are surprisingly colour neutral and accurate. Though the PIXMA MX860's feature set suggests that it shouldn't be used primarily for photo printing, this inkjet multifunction printer holds its own, even if it might not suit those who want particularly lively results.
The colours of scanned images can be highly under-saturated, but the end results are quite detailed so this multifunction should be suitable for scanning documents. The Canon PIXMA MX860 provides presets that can be used to scan directly from the unit to PC, USB memory stick or memory card.
For its price, the Canon PIXMA MX860 multifunction printer is well-featured, and it's capable of handling most tasks in the home or small office. If quality is more of a priority than print speed, this inkjet multifunction is a better buy than most similarly priced competitors.