June 6, 2011 by Amber Riippa Reads (24,913)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service & Support
    • 7
    • Print Quality
    • 7
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 8
    • Performance / Print Speed
    • 8
    • Features
    • 6
    • Operational Costs
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.17
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


Setting up the Pixma iX6520

Canon provides a user manual to help users set up and install the printer, software and drivers correctly. Following the manual, you must unpack, connect the power and USB cables and turn it on, install the print head and ink tank cartridges, align the print head, and load the paper. After doing all of that, you must use your computer to insert the provided disk with the drivers and software.


Installing the print head was moderately easy, but I could see why some people may find it moderately difficult if he/she had never done it before. To install you must lift the print head holder, remove the protective covering from the head itself, insert it correctly face-down, and lower the print head holder. After you install that, you must insert all five ink cartridges in the correct order (labeled appropriately).


You can either install the Pixma iX6520 using the “Easy Install” which will automatically install all the Canon software provided or to go the “Custom Install” route, which will let you choose which bits of software you would like to have installed. After everything is installed, Canon will ask you to take part in an optional extended survey and to register your printer.


A prompt was not shown to restart the computer after installation. The only complaint I have is that the process of setup took me about 45 minutes to do in its entirety. This is much longer than I expected.


Ease of Use

Just about anyone can use the software included with Canon’s latest Pixma Small Office, Home Office lineup. The software that comes with the iX6520 includes the Easy-PhotoPrint EX, Easy-WebPrint EX and the Canon Solutions Menu. In short, the Easy-PhotoPrint helps users create and edit jobs such as calendar print, HD movie print, and album print. For example, if you’d like to create an entire calendar you can load the software and import your photos and then edit and print them into a calendar format.



For example, the calendar process is as follows:


  • Choose page set-up: paper size, orientation, calendar period, design and layout
  • Select the images to be used in the inside pages
  • Edit the images using the given tools and align/order the pages
  • Choose the print settings, including the quality, media type, etc.


The rest of the Easy-PhotoPrint EX is quite similar, and we didn’t find any of the included photo printing software to be particularly hard to use. The Canon Solutions menu on the iX6520 is a program with some diagnose, repair and troubleshoot tools used for solving an array of printer issues. You may use the program to do a number of tasks, including view the on-screen user manual, diagnose and repair wizard, and to clean and unclog the print head nozzle.

Print speed and quality tests

Canon advertises the Pixma iX6520’s black print speeds as 11.3 ipm. During our own speed tests where we print in Canon’s “default” print mode with black ink, we were able to print 10 ppm on average (and part of a next page). Canon’s advertised black print speeds are very accurate, not to mention those print speeds are quite fast for a SOHO printer; a number we were very happy with. It took the printer 3 minutes and 47 seconds to print 40 black pages in default mode. It took the printer an average of 4 seconds to print a page and 14 seconds for the first page to print. 

Canon advertises the Pixma iX6520’s color print speeds as 8.8 ipm. We found, on the other hand, that in all reality it can only process 6 pages per minute maximum (not including the first page out time)–a few pages less than the advertised speeds. During our tests we clocked a first page out time for color pages of 16 seconds and an average page out time of 7 seconds. It took the printer exactly 6 minutes to print 40 color pages in default mode.

The black printing on draft or “fast” mode was extremely fast. We clocked a first page out time of 12 seconds and a 4-second average single page print after the first page was out. We were able to print 15 ppm maximum with an in-progress print job. It took 3 minutes and 18 seconds to print 40 pages. Not too shabby, Canon.

Printing a 4 x 6 photo on default mode in standard quality took 52 seconds while a high quality photo took 1 minute and 2 seconds. These numbers are pretty average for a SOHO printer of this class. When it comes to 8.5 x 11 photos, it took 1 minute and 39 seconds to print with standard quality and 2 minutes and 07 seconds on high quality. We were pretty impressed at that high quality photo print speed. 

Glossy photo quality was even more impressive all-around (all sizes on glossy photo paper, from standard quality to high). Images are high class, meaning they offer great contrast and are crisp, detalistic, and clear. If you are thinking about purchasing this printer for its wide format and glossy photo printing quality, I say go for it. Furthermore, I always say if there is no difference between printing in standard quality v. high quality, there is something wrong, but there was indeed a difference between the two, so there is no fault there, either. 

Pixma iX6520 8.5 x 11 glossy photo print on “high” quality at the left; original digital image, right

Pixma iX6520 4 x 6 glossy photo print on “high” quality at the left, 8.5 x 11 glossy photo print on “standard,” right

Where there was fault in quality, however, came with the 13 x 19 matte photo printing. When we printed the same balloon image with the color spectrum (see the image above), we found that the quality on the Canon matte “Museum Etching” Fine Art Paper produced visible bleed. To put this in layman’s terms, the quality appeared blurry. It wasn’t quite as visibly blurry using the Canon Premium matte photo paper, however. Using the iX6520 on type of media should produce slight bleed but overall “good” results.

The text documents were equally of high quality; the text was dark, crisp and clear. The “draft” or fast printing produced readable results as well, but should only be used if trying to save on either time or ink (not to be used at a professional printing capacity).

Ink control tests

In our ink control tests we exhaust a new set of the provided ink cartridges, meaning we print until the color and black ink runs dry. We define exhaustion as not being able to print another quality document without an ink replacement. We print the tests at a ratio of three pages of black text to one full page of color (an image). We decided on this 3:1 ratio because we feel that the average user will end up printing more text pages than color pages.

Since there are a total of five ink cartridge slots for five ink tanks with this printer to allow for printing quality photos and documents (CLI-226BK Black, CLI-226M Magenta, CLI-226C Cyan, PGI-225PGBK Black, and CLI-226Y Yellow), our ink exhaust tests were longer than if there was a dual-ink system.

We were overall extremely impressed at the amount of pages the printer yielded before we had to replace the ink tanks. The iX6520 printed 329 pages before we absolutely had to replace the PGI-225 PGBK black ink tank. All of the black and white pages printed up to this point were considered “quality” documents. The next tank to run out was the CLI-226M Magenta ink tank, and we were able to print 461 quality pages before it exhausted. The CLI-226Y Yellow and CLI-226C Cyan followed closely behind, fully running out only a few pages later. The printer did not misfeed, jam, or misalign during any of our intense exhaustion tests.



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