Canon's Pixma MP490 All-in-One Photo Printer

Excellent photos and documents with Canons Pixma MP490

Canon's Pixma MP490 AIO Photo printer. Photo courtesy Canon


  • Compact, lightweight
  • Excellent display panel
  • Great photo prints
  • Easy to set up
  • ChromaLife100+ inks for longevity


  • Not so fast
  • Lacks automatic document feeder and paper input tray


  • Color inkjet all-in-one printer
  • Copier and scanner built in
  • Color print resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi
  • 1.8" LCD
  • Variety of media-card options, including SD Memory Card, Memory StickR, Memory Stick Pro, and Memory Stick Duo

The Bottom Line: For under a hundred bucks, the Canon Pixma MP490 all-in-one (AIO) printer is a decent buy. Like many other printers in this price range, it lacks some advanced features, such as an automatic document feeder,  or ADF, an automatic duplexer, and wireless, or Wi-Fi, support. Of course you'll pay more for those features--so before you buy, decide just how important those advanced features are going to be. If you need a small, cheap printer that's not all that fast but still puts out great-looking photos, you won't be disappointed by this printer--or by most other Pixma printers either.

Some of the newer Pixmas, such as the Pixma MG7720 and the Pixma MG6820, come with much of that built-in for a similar price. Our review unit, the Pixma MP490, hit the streets back in 2009, seven years ago.  


Like the Canon Pixma MP480 before it, the Pixma MP490 All-in-One Printer looks a lot nicer than most other all-in-one printers, with a small footprint, and rounded edges. The 1.8" LCD monitor pops up from under a cover that houses the printer's few buttons, and the output tray folds in to keep the footprint tiny. This printer hit the market in August 2009, but it's still available through most channels, including Amazon.

For some reason, the MP490 doesn't make the constant loud grinding noise when warming up that the MP480 did. Still, it's not made for heavy use, since the manual duplexing feature (once the first side prints out, you flip the pages yourself and reload them) is less than convenient for anyone who uses that feature often. There's only one paper input tray.

The quality of photo prints was truly excellent. A 4x6 photo printed at normal quality took just under a minute to print, and came out already dry with vivid, sharp colors that I thought were comparable to many dedicated photo printers. That's pretty impressive, given that there are only two ink tanks. (Well, not actually. One of the tanks has three reservoirs for holding the cyan, magenta, and yellow inks; combined with the black inks, that's actually for inks, colors, process colors, or CMYK.)

The Pixma MP490 isn't particularly fast. Three black and white pages took about 29 seconds to print, with the first page out in about 15 seconds. A large and colorful PowerPoint presentation averaged about 20 seconds per page, with the first page out in about 38 seconds. You can shave some of that time off (and save precious ink) by switching to draft mode. The Pixma MP490's two ink tanks will be cheaper replacing two tanks when they're empty than the five or six tanks that other inkjet all-in-ones use. I noticed some ink bleed on the monochrome pages when using cheap copy paper.

I like the MP490's QuickStart feature, which provides fast access to printer operations when the printer is on. The Auto Scan Mode is also a time saver--it recognizes the type of original being scanned so you don't have to fumble for the proper settings each time.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.