Canon PIXMA MP490 inkjet multifunction

An inexpensive inkjet multifunction with decent photo print quality

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Canon PIXMA MP490
  • Canon PIXMA MP490
  • Canon PIXMA MP490
  • Canon PIXMA MP490

Pros

  • Good photo print quality, direct scanning, easy to use

Cons

  • No front paper cassette, no PictBridge USB port, poor LCD, expensive consumables

Bottom Line

Not quite a bargain bin printer, Canon's PIXMA MP490 inkjet multifunction is still a decent impulse buy. It provides decent quality photo and document printing and an easy-to-use interface.

Would you buy this?

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Canon's entry-level PIXMA MP490 inkjet multifunction lacks the small luxuries of its more expensive counterparts, like an Easy Scroll Wheel, PictBridge USB port and CD/DVD printing. For the price, however, we can't complain; as a basic printer, scanner and copier, the PIXMA MP490 will do the job well.

The Canon PIXMA MP490 inkjet multifunction printer has a USB 2.0 connection, and a multi-card reader supporting SD, MemoryStick, MemoryStick Duo and Compact Flash memory cards over three slots.

The multifunction's control panel lacks the Easy Scroll Wheel found on more expensive Canon printers, but, as with the PIXMA MP560, the poky 1.8in LCD screen wouldn't really suit it anyway. Instead, the PIXMA MP490 inkjet multifunction has a basic directional pad as well quick-access buttons for menus and to start copying or scanning. You can also view photos from memory cards, but the display's small size and poor viewing angles make them difficult to see.

There's no front paper cassette, but the rear paper tray can easily hold A4 media without raising the back support.

Print Speed Results
Model Price Type B&W Draft
(ppm)
B&W Normal
(ppm)
Colour Draft
(ppm)
Colour Normal
(ppm)
4x6in photo
(seconds)
A4 photo
(minutes)
Canon PIXMA MP490 $99 Inkjet 8.7 8.4 6.3 3 34 1m28s
Canon PIXMA MP480 $99 Inkjet 8.6 7.4 6.3 2.9 34 1m25s
HP Stylus TX200 $99 Inkjet 12 4 19 5 60 3m17s
HP Photosmart C4480 $115 Inkjet 18.9 6.1 14.1 2.8 45 2m11s
Brother MFC-250C $149 Inkjet 15.9 3.2 14.5 3.2 36.5 1m36s
Canon PIXMA MP560 $229 Inkjet 10.2 8.7 5 4.6 34 1m35s

Though the Canon PIXMA MP490 inkjet multifunction's print speeds were almost identical in our draft and normal quality monochrome tests, the difference in quality is substantial. Document quality is satisfactory, though text can appear feathered when combined with colour, and the colours are oversaturated. Photos don't have any aberrations and colour quality is much improved when compared to results from its predecessor, the PIXMA MP480. For the occasional family photo, the results are pleasing.

Scans can be initiated directly from the control panel and saved in PDF or JPEG format to USB-connected computers and memory cards. Unfortunately, quality settings cannot be adjusted from the panel. Quality is acceptable for text and some photos, though detail is low and colours are a little too bright.

Canon claims the two ink cartridges used in the PIXMA MP490 can yield a total of 750 pages, but we're a little dubious; the black cartridge was already below half its capacity once we had finished testing. At 24.1c per A4 page, this printer's ink costs will quickly eclipse the low initial outlay. However, if you don't plan on printing much, the PIXMA MP490 should suffice for basic document printing and the odd photo.

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