Canon Pixma MP620 - A Multi-Function Headache

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koelin-tech's review of Canon Pixma MP620

★☆☆☆☆

“Canon Pixma MP620 - A Multi-Function Headache”

Written on: 27/01/2014 by koelin-tech (1 review written)

I was full of hope and anticipation at the MP620.

Having had an older HP multifunction unit a few years before which left me very poor and annoyed, I hoped that this would be a better option.
Having used similar printers beonging to friends in the past, I naturally assumed that this printer would be of similar quality.

At first glance, it seems good enough. Sturdy construction in moulded ABS with flush fitting panels and a fairly usable display are all good characteristics. I'm sad to say though that this is where the god points end.

So, to start the ball rolling, here is the list of annoyances - in no particular order.

1) Time. Suppose you need to print a single page document, for example, a letter. Next, assume that the post box is 2 minutes walk away. If you don't start trying to print the letter at least an hour before the collection, you won't make it.
The unit spins up every mechanical part for what seems like ages when you first switch it on, and even then, when you send it the print job, it still has to spin up rollers and move the print head back and forth ad infinitum.

2) Ink consumption. The printer takes 5 cartridges. The standard cyan, magenta and yellow, and 2 black cartridges (one ink, one pigment).
I would expect that if I print a document containing just black text, the cheaper and larger pigment cartridge would be used to print. Nope, it uses the ink unless you specify that you're printing in B&W or Greyscale.
On a printer which is significantly expensive, this is just inexcusable!

3) Complexity. Try connecting it to a wifi network which uses WPA. I don't understand what in the world Canon were thinking when they came up with the process for connecting to wifi, but as far as I understand, for WPA you initiate a connection, provide a key, and the rest should be handled automatically.
Not so with the canon. There are abbreviations for things that I've never encountered in networking or any other aspect of computing, and I'm a professional software developer!!

4) The manual. Just burn it. Take it out of the box, get a lighter, and burn it to ashes. Don't even open the cover! Seriously, it's not worth the paper it's printed on.
Ever read one of those adventure books where you follow a path from place to place, turning to one page then another as the quest unfolds?
Imagine one of those with huge number of abbreviations, diagrams which make no sense, and constant page turning.
The manual is not a joke - it's not funny.
It is however excellent fire lighter material, and will serve much more use keeping you warm than helping you use your printer.

5) The software. When you want to print a document, trying to navigate your way around a printer tool which is more complex than the control system for a Boeing 777 is simply infuriating.
In fact, the combination of software and manual is the reason why I now cannot keep a toolbox in the same room as the printer. Had I done so, those random flashes of frustration when dreaming of smashing the hell machine with a hammer would have become very very real.....

6) Paper feeds. There are two of them, an internal one and a fold-out one at the back. I like this idea. It means you can keep paper in the printer without it being creased or ripped.
Yet, every time you print, you have to remove the paper from the bottom tray and put it into the fold-out one at the back, as the printer ignores any attempt to select a specific tray (although I'm probably just using the software wrong. A computer science degree is not enough to make sense of it apparently).

7) Canon. This might seem petty, but I hate canon products (with the exception of their cameras, but even those are going downhill rapidly thanks to the irresistible urge Canon have to add 'software features' to everything).
Canon operate on the principal of 'Cram in as much as you can. Doesn't matter if none of the new features work properly, so long as you can say they're there'!!
Every Canon product I have owned has developed and annoying (but not fatal) fault early on, and I've worked around them.
I refuse to live that way any more. If I buy a product for a reason, I want it to work.

8) Lack of feedback. So, you start a print job, and it stops. You look for an error message, and there isn't one.
You launch the diagnostic tool, which shows no faults.
You open the printer up, clear the half ream it's pulled through to jam the rollers, close it up and it starts pulling through page after page, just spitting them out blank.
Why did it do that? To this day, I still don't know. There was nothing useful to tell me what the issue was, but if pulling a few extra sheets through can put the machine in a state where it's effectively useless, it must be a significant problem which should at least be reported!!!

9) Useless feedback. Finally, we get to the crux of the matter. The event which prompted me to write this review.
I fired the printer up to print a few sheets of blank guitar tab paper. As the printer isn't often used, I didn't check the ink too often, so I hadn't realised that some of the tanks were low.
The print started, but stopped before the first page could be fed into the machine, and the display shows 'B200' with the helpful message of 'Contact a service center' or words to that effect.
So, what's the problem? 2 days of google searching and emailing technicians (fortunately, you do acquire a few useful contacts over the years in the industry) lead me to the cause.
The print head has overheated and is now damaged.
Or, the ink run-off tray is full and needs cleaning.
Or, the logic board has failed.
Or, the rollers aren't turning properly.
Or, there is a foreign object in the sensor for the ink level.

Seriously, B200 can mean all of these apparently.

The solution? Take it to a canon service centre and pay however much to be told that I need a new print head (which is about £65 if you shop around).

As such, my printer/scanner/copier is now a brick. If I need to scan anything (which I do as it happens...), I can't. Because the print head is broken.

This to me is a punitive approach from Canon to force people into spending more on spares if their hugely overcomplicated mess of a machine breaks.

Are there any good points? No.

Well, it's not exactly small. Or simple to use. Or fast. Or quiet.

Infact, it's a noisy, overpriced, feature loaded yet badly engineered, whirring hateful pile.

Would I recommend it? No.

I'd recommend folding yourself into a ball and rolling down a dry ski slope naked before I suggested getting one of these!

If you want to print in colour, buy a colour laser printer. You can pick one up for about £150, and it will actually work, and doesn't need to blast half a cartridge of ink into a sponge buried in the bottom of the unit when it's been stood unused for more than 20 minutes.

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