Canon Pixma MX525 review

The Canon Pixma MX525 is a neatly designed low-cost inkjet MFP with a 30-page ADF and a 100 sheet paper tray. Neither print engine nor ADF is duplex, so you're limited to single-sided scans and copies, but this is typical for an MFP at this price.

The MX525 has USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections, and if you connect it to a network you can take advantage of Canon's mobile printing apps for smartphones and tablets and integration with services such as Google Cloud Print for easy printing from anywhere with an internet connection. It also has a 6.2cm colour screen and navigation keys that make it easy to take advantage of all the MFP's functions without connecting it to a PC.

Unlike more expensive models in Canon's Pixma MX MFP range, the MX525 doesn't have self-contained paper input and output trays. The input tray is just a shelf with a slider on the right-hand side to keep paper aligned regardless of its width. This actually works well and none of our paper fed in askew. However, the output tray just above it is a flimsy affair. There's no kind of lip to catch the paper, so each sheet just slipped off the output tray. This is inconvenient if you're printing large documents; we initially ended up with 25 disarrayed pages in a pile on the floor. However, if you position the printer far enough back on a table to ensure that the leading edge of each page rests on that table, your documents will stay in order.

The MX525 uses a combined tri-colour ink cartridge. These are common in budget printers but have a number of disadvantages compared to individual ink cartridges. The biggest is that if one colour runs out, you have to replace the entire cartridge, rather than just being able to replace the ink you use most often.

Photo print quality from this kind of printer is also typically not as good as that of printers with a dedicated black cartridge, but Canon's three dye-based inks actually don't do too badly when it comes to photos. Colours are a little over-saturated and contrast is limited but dark areas are surprisingly rich and pale skin tones look warm. Prints also looked sharp and pleasingly glossy on Canon's own-brand photo paper.

Although tri-colour cartridges have a reputation for being expensive, Canon's XL cartridges are surprisingly good value, with black and colour ink tanks giving you 600 mono and 400 colour pages respectively. This works out at 2.7p per mono page, which is about what we expect for an inkjet, and a total of 7.5p for a page of mixed black and colour printing. That makes this one of the cheaper budget MFPs currently available to run.

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