Performance

August 30, 2012 by Sarah Meyer Reads (14,033)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service & Support
    • 6
    • Print Quality
    • 8
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 8
    • Performance / Print Speed
    • 6
    • Features
    • 7
    • Operational Costs
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 6.83
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance

Setting up the Pixma MG4220
Although there have been some upgrades to the Pixma MG4220, the initial setup hasn’t changed much. Canon includes the Getting Started Guide and it contains five basic steps: Unpack and plug in, load the ink, start wireless setup on device (if you choose to setup over a wireless connection) load the paper and insert the provided CD.

However, if you are new to the game, there are plenty of (unnecessary) instructions to scroll through on both the printer control panel and CD for each step.

The key points during the setup you do want to pay attention to are when you are asked to choose your connection method (we went with wireless) and when you are asked to select your software. I always appreciate a manufacturer that allows the customer to choose what they want to install.

Ease of Use
As I mentioned earlier, the control panel is slightly larger than past models coming in at 2.5-inches and the setup is more traditional with a few quick keys and the standard four directional navigation. Users will find the device navigation easy to learn with only 9 main menu options to choose from; in fact it’s very similar to what we’ve seen from higher end menus with options like web connected print.

The software, on the other hand, is completely new in design, structure and options. On your desktop, you’ll find the image display box as well as a shortcut menu in the shape of a backwards L. Select the middle option (or use the desktop icon) to pull up the Canon Quick Menu (replacing the Canon Solution Menu EX).

The Canon Quick Menu is neatly laid out in five categories: Print, Scan, Web Services, Manual & Device Info and Device Settings & Maintenance. Following each category you’ll find the main options. For example, under the print category you can open Creative Park, Photo Layout Print, Video Layout Print, Card Print, Collage Print and Calendar Print.

The biggest change for previous Canon customers will be the new photo software, My Image Garden. Don’t be worried, unlike other manufacturers who have nixed their photo software or made it incredibly difficult to use, My Image Garden can be as basic or as complex as the user chooses to make it.

If you simply just want to print a few photos and you know exactly where they are located, select the Desktop option and wade through the drop down menus. Once you find the images, you’ll select them as you would in the old software and hit print. A settings box will pop up for number of copies, size, paper type, border and other advanced settings.

But if you are feeling more adventurous, you can filter your stored images through three main options: Calendar, People and Events. The Calendar option will just sort the images by time stamp, which is great if maybe you forgot where you saved your images but you’ll never forget the date of your wedding or vacation.

The People and Events are slightly more complicated because you’ll need to register photos by identifying the people or assigning an event to them. This is a feature you may use going forward as you add images to your computer as it may be a bear to assign identities or events to every picture you have saved. Still, this is a great feature for home users to easily separate and identify their favorite images.

There is still video capture mode (HD Movie Print) but you’ll need to install additional software that accompanies the video/digital camera you use.

You can access the Special Image Filters Print feature through My Image Garden. Once you’ve selected the image(s), select the Special Filters icon at the bottom of the window. This will be a secondary window where you can add effects: fish eye, miniature, toy camera, soft focus and blur background. When you are done, you can save the new fun images and then proceed back to the photo printing software.

The MP Navigator EX 5.0 software is gone replaced by ScanGear. Two modes: Basic and Advanced. If you simply want to place an image on the flatbed and scan preview, the basic mode will be perfect. If you like or need to adjust the scan settings, choose the advanced mode. Once the images are scanned in, the software will open the My Image Garden software and display the scan thumbnails.

Of course, users can then scan shortcuts located on the shortcut menu and the Canon Quick Menu. You won’t be able to adjust the settings or select a preview for each individual scan, but it will save you time.

Users can also scan images and documents using the Pixma MG4220 control panel to their PC, USB flash drive, memory card or email. You can adjust some basic settings when scanning from the device directly.

All of our sample photos in the print quality tests were scanned in using the Canon PIXMA MG4220 scanner.

You can still solve troubleshooting problems with Canon’s My Printer and, as always, users can access the printer settings and maintenance through the print properties menu found in the print menu of your browser or word processor.

You’ll have access to mobile print and web connected options if you set up the Pixma MG4220 over a wireless connection.

With Cloud Link, users can wirelessly print photos and images from Canon Gateway and Picasa accounts simply by accessing the Advanced Photo menu and selecting Online Album Print. Users will need to register their account one time, but after that, you can select photos at your leisure for printing. You can also pull templates from the web using the Special Print menu and selecting Web Template Print.

The Canon Easy-PhotoPrint allows users with Apple or Android devices to print photos saved on their device to print or receive scanned data (PDF or JPEG) wirelessly. Easy-PhotoPrint can be downloaded from App Store and Google Play.

Print Speeds and Quality Tests
The Pixma MG4220 boasts print speeds up to 9.9 ipm in black and 5.7 ipm in color. Per usual, I found the black and white print speeds to be accurate while the color print speeds were much slower due to a print pause between each image.

In our tests, the Pixma MG4220 printed a 40-page black and white text document in Canon’s Standard print mode in just over four minutes averaging 10 ppm with a first page out in about 10 seconds. During our color ink tests, the print speeds slowed down to about 3 ppm due to a 15 second pause between each printed color page.

But when printing color photos, there was no pause between images and the 4×6 photos printed in as fast as 46 seconds with an average of 48 seconds. When printing 8.5 x 11 inch prints, print speeds were still relatively speedy coming in just under two minutes per print.

We did test Canon’s Fast (Speed Priority) print mode. The print speeds were almost identical during our 40-page black and white text document test, but the Fast print mode uses less ink and, for all intents and purposes, can be used as a draft mode for non-essential print outs. For important documents, I would still go with the Standard print mode; the text is richer and more crisp than the Fast mode print outs.


Pixma MG4220 normal print sample, left, Pixma MG4220 draft print sample, right

Photo quality wasn’t quite as good as what we’ve seen on higher end models using a six cartridge ink system compared to the Pixma MG4220’s two ink cartridge system. The most noticeable difference came in the color accuracy especially with black and white shots, but the resolution seemed to be on point (all images scanned in were using the Canon).


Original digital image, left, Pixma MG4220 print sample, right

I would say the overall quality is good, especially with the outdoor and color shots, but the black and white images left something to be desired. If you are looking for more professional prints as opposed to prints to scrapbook or post on the fridge, I’d look at a more expensive model with a better range of color.


Canon Pixma MG4220 print samples


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