Canon PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction

Canon's refreshed high-end PIXMA multifunction is great for photo lovers

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Canon PIXMA MP990
  • Canon PIXMA MP990
  • Canon PIXMA MP990
  • Canon PIXMA MP990
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Comprehensive connectivity, great print quality, easy to use

Cons

  • Prints slowly, Easy Scroll Wheel can be frustrating, can’t print documents from USB flash drives

Bottom Line

For the avid photographer, Canon's PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction offers great print quality. It's easy to connect to your PC (either directly or over a network), but don't expect quick printouts.

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Canon’s top-of-the-range PIXMA inkjet multifunction printer has been refreshed and is now armed with integrated wireless and USB flash drive support. The PIXMA MP990 improves on the previous model, though not enough to warrant an upgrade if you already own the PIXMA MP980 .

Those new to Canon’s PIXMA range will find plenty to like in the PIXMA MP990. It has an automatic duplexer, direct CD/DVD printing, a 3.8in LCD display and the ability to scan 35mm slides and negatives using bundled attachments.

The Canon PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction connects over USB, Ethernet and 802.11g Wi-Fi; the printer can’t use both network interfaces simultaneously, however. Wi-Fi set up is a matter of entering your router’s WEP/WPA/WPA2 password or simply pushing a button if your router supports Windows Connect Now (WCN) or Wireless Protected Setup (WPS). Since we reviewed the mid-range PIXMA MP640, wireless support has been improved for MacOS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, too. This means Mac users can simply find the printer through Bonjour and automatically print and scan without installing extra software.

An integrated multi-card reader supports SD, MemoryStick, MemoryStick Duo and CompactFlash for directly printing photos. A front-mounted USB port connects to PictBridge-compatible digital cameras and mobile phones as well as flash drives, though the PIXMA MP990 can only print photos from these devices. The PictBridge port is recessed, which means you won’t be able to use large or awkwardly shaped USB flash drives.

Canon’s Easy Scroll Wheel — usually a favourite feature of ours — has been slightly redesigned since the PIXMA MP980, and not for the better. The wheel now looks and feels a little less polished, and even stops responding if spun too quickly. While this won't make a difference most of the time, entering long wireless network passwords can be a particularly frustrating process.

Oddly, Canon has built a Web-based interface into the PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction — a feature usually reserved for networked laser printers. The interface is only useful for changing and configuring network settings, but the ability to input the Wi-Fi password without the Easy Scroll Wheel is certainly useful.

Print Speed Results
Model Price Type B&W Draft
(ppm)
B&W Normal
(ppm)
Colour Draft
(ppm)
Colour Normal
(ppm)
4x6in photo A4 photo
Canon PIXMA MP990 $449 Inkjet 13.9 11.6 10.2 3.8 36s 1m8s
Canon PIXMA MP980 $449 Inkjet 13.8 9.6 7.8 3.2 19.1s 59.1s
Canon PIXMA MP640 $299 Inkjet 10.4 8.7 5.7 3.8 32secs 0.52
Epson Stylus Photo TX800FW $399 Inkjet 25 8.6 25 8.9 24.5s 1m9s
HP Photosmart Premium C309a $399 Inkjet 17.6 9.4 15.7 5.6 26.2s 1m9s
Lexmark Prestige Pro805 $499 Inkjet 16.2 6.6 14.5 2.5 42s 2m
HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless (A909) $499 Inkjet 22.7 14.6 22.9 8.9 31s 1m10s

The Canon PIXMA MP990's speed is marginally better than its predecessor's, though it’s not the best printer if you’re in a hurry.

Print quality is fantastic overall. Text characters are sharp and accurate across all tested font sizes, while colours are vibrant in document graphics though aren’t always solid. Photos suffer no notable colour inaccuracies or aberrations. Like the PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II, we achieved deeper blacks in black and white photos when printing with full colour consumables rather than using the greyscale setting.

The Canon PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction uses six consumables, for a total running cost of 23.3c per A4 page.

The PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction boasts an impressive scanning resolution of 4800x9600dpi, though this quality option will only be available when using the negative and slide attachments. Scan resolution is capped at 600dpi when initiating a job directly from the control panel, though this is sufficient for documents and most photos.

There isn’t much separating the PIXMA MP990 inkjet multifunction from the much cheaper PIXMA MP640, but if you’re looking to preserve analog negatives and slides, this printer will do that and much more.

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