Whether you're looking for a business or home photo printer, the Canon Pixma MP600 offers lush colors, attention to detail, and unbeatable speeds. The printer is at the high end of the price range for this roundup. But rest assured: These prints are worth every penny.
Despite its rounded black-and-silver body the 22-pound MP600 is bulky and boxy. But flipping open the flat panel on the top reveals a 2.5-inch LCD and a bevy of easy-to-read controls, including a click wheel reminiscent of everyone's favorite MP3 player.
While the controls seem simple enough at first glance, the MP600 could use a little streamlining in the ease-of-use department. Whether you're copying or scanning, you have to first select a mode and then specify whether you're working in color or black-and-white. And the copy quality was less than impressive, with our subject's eyes looking like dark pools of ink instead of light blue. When scanning, it offers to save documents automatically, but you have to click through a box on your computer screen before proceeding. All told, you have to click four times on two different interfaces just to scan one page.
Printing requires fewer steps, but the MP600 is set to print the first page of a document first, which means you'll have to reorder your pages once a job is complete. You can change this in the properties, but we think Canon should have it set this way as the default.
What impressed us most with the MP600 was the quality of its photos, particularly its indoor prints, which best captured contrast and color in low lighting. Outdoor photos appeared slightly oversaturated: our subject's cheeks were a bit too rosy, and the muddy grass looked a little too emerald. These inaccuracies aside, the photos were still plenty frame-worthy.
The MP600 was the fastest printer in our roundup, averaging 51 seconds for 4 x 6-inch photos and 2 minutes 4 seconds for 8 x 10-inch prints. It was also the fastest copier, printing a black-and-white page in nine seconds and a color photo in 48 seconds. And with a time of 4:31, it printed our business documents a minute and a half faster than the others and delivered superb quality with fonts as small as five points. Scanning was the one area where the MP600 delivered subpar speeds; it processed a photo in 41 seconds, the second slowest time.
Despite a few user interface oddities, the Canon Pixma MP600 is the best and fastest all-around printer in this roundup. Unless you do side-by-side comparisons, you would probably be happy with the photo quality from both the HP and Kodak entries, but when you put the results together, the MP600 is the clear winner. Add in the speed results, and the Canon Pixma MP600 is hands down the best choice.