Canon PIXMA MG3120 multifunction inkjet printer

Canon PIXMA MG3120 wireless inkjet photo printer review: a nice bargain sabotaged by consumables costs

Canon PIXMA MG3120
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Nice output quality
  • Automatic duplexing is standard

Cons

  • Very expensive black ink

Bottom Line

Pricey black ink spoils the deal with this otherwise excellent budget MFP for home or school use.

Would you buy this?

The $80 (as of February 3, 2012) Canon Pixma MG3120 wireless inkjet photo all-in-one is one of the least-expensive color inkjet multifunction printers you can find that offers paper-saving automatic duplex printing. It also prints reasonably quickly, produces good output, and is easy to use. Unfortunately, that collection of positives can't make up for the unit's extremely pricey black ink.

Setting up the Pixma MG3120 is easy, though it lacks an LCD, so you'll have to use the USB connection to perform the wireless setup (unless you have Wi-Fi Protected Setup on your router). The documentation is top-notch, and the control panel is very simple: A two-digit LED shows copy quantity and messages, and Canon provides clearly labeled buttons and LED indicator lights for copying, scanning, and maintenance tasks. A Wi-Fi indicator sits on the front of the unit, but there are no card slots and no USB/PictBridge port. Paper handling on the Pixma MG3120 is rudimentary (aside from the automatic duplexing feature): A front panel unfolds to reveal a 100-sheet input area.

The Pixma MG3120's output quality belies the printer's price. Photos on Canon's own paper looked quite good, despite a slightly unnatural orange tint that was especially noticeable on human faces. On plain paper, color graphics looked reasonably accurate, and text appeared dark and sharp, though grayscale graphics tended a bit toward purple.

Performance was quite good for an $80 MFP. Full-page color glossy prints took nearly 4 minutes to print, but text pages printed on plain paper print at 6.2 pages per minute on the PC and 5.85 ppm on the Mac. Snapshot-size photos emerged at 2.4 ppm on plain paper and 1.2 ppm on glossy paper.

In the category of "most useless answer ever on a website," Canon has a serious contender: In the Product Q&A section for the Pixma MG3120 online, a user asked, "how many sheets does each cartridge print?" Canon's response: "The actual ink yield obtained from each cartridge will vary depending on texts/photos printed, applications software used, print mode selected and type of paper used." That's it--the answer doesn't even hazard a ballpark estimate. Why not point the user to Canon's own page-yield documents, which are nearly impossible to find otherwise?

The reason for the evasive reply just might be the dear cost of the Pixma MG3120's black ink. Two sizes of black replacements are available: the 300-page XL, which costs $21 (a whopping 7 cents per page); and the 600-page XXL, which runs $38 (or 6.3 cents per page). The XL unified color cartridge (which includes all three colors) is somewhat more affordable, relatively speaking, at $30 for 400 pages (7.45 cents per page) for all three colors. A four-color page (printed with the XL color cartridge and the XXL black cartridge) would cost a pricier-than-average 13.8 cents. You'll need to visit the store fairly soon after the initial purchase, too: The Pixma MG3120 ships with 180-page starter cartridges that didn't even make it through our testing.

In our years in San Francisco, we've seen multitudes of inkjet printers, including Canons, left on the sidewalk because of their ridiculous ink prices. In some cases, buying a new printer with fresh ink costs no more than buying replacement cartridges for a model you already own. Despite the Canon Pixma MG3120's competence in multiple areas, its high ink prices make it difficult to recommend. Instead, consider the Epson Stylus NX430 or the Brother MFC-J430W.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?