Canon Pixma MG7520 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer

Quality photos and documents from this AIO's excellent 6-ink imaging system

mg7520.jpg
Canon Pixma MG7520 photo printer. Canon

Canon updates these Pixmas about every year or so; we are now on the Pixma MG7720, which you can see here

________________________

Previous Review

I’ve said time and time again that few, if any, photo printers turn out images with the aplomb of Canon’s higher-end, six-ink Pixma “MG” photo printDisclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.ers (MG is the company’s all-in-one photo printer designation, where MX signifies an office-, or business-ready AIO). As has been the case for a while now, every year or so, the Japanese imaging giant releases at least one “new” printer based on this ink system, but what they really come down to are essentially the same printer—or at least the same print engine inside. So, what you get is essentially the same machine with some feature add-ons.

This practice, adding onto and updating the current printer, slapping a new name on it, and then offering it up as this year’s latest and greatest, is certainly not uncommon. Besides, since Canon’s six-ink imaging system would be difficult to improve on—quality-wise, anyway—so why mess with it? 

Well, for two good reasons: As the latest six-ink Pixma, the $199.99 Pixma MG7520 Black Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer (as well the several six-ink Pixmas before it) demonstrate, prints slower than many of the newer competing photo printers available, and its per-page cost of operation, or cost per page, is one of the highest in the business.

That said, it’s also one of the best consumer-grade photo printers, in terms of overall output quality, especially photographs, available.

Design and Features

At 17.2 inches wide, 14.6 inches from front to back, 5.5 inches tall, and weighing a slight 17.4 pounds, considering all that it does (print, scan, copy), the MG7520 just isn’t that big. It should fit on the average desktop comfortably, and at under half-a-foot high, it should slide neatly under low-hanging shelves and cabinets. And, when it’s not in use, it closes up into an attractive black, white, or burnt orange cube. 

Before we get too far in to this AIO’s features, let’s talk about what it doesn’t have—namely an automatic document feeder (ADF) for feeding originals to the scanner bed without user intervention. That the MG Pixmas don’t have ADFs has always bothered me a little. If you’ve ever tried to scan or copy multipage documents without one, know that at one page at time, you’ll quickly come to appreciate the convenience and enhanced productivity.

You can connect to the MG7520 wirelessly, via Ethernet (wired), or directly to a PC via a USB cable. In addition, you can connect wirelessly via Apple’s AirPrint, Google’s Cloud Print, and Wi-Fi Direct, as well as Canon’s Pixma Printing Solutions (PPS), which allow you to manage and create all types of documents, such as calendars and greetings cards and hundreds of other types of online documents and templates you can download to the printer from the Internet and print. (For a description of the latest mobile device support, check out this About.com “Mobile Printing Features – 2014.” article)

A notable part of Pixma Printing Solutions is this Pixma’s near-field communications (NFC) PIXMA Touch & Print (Active NFC), which allows users with NFC-ready Android smartphones or tablets that are registered with PPS to simply open the PPS app, touch the NFC Tag on the top of the printer while viewing the picture, and begin printing without the need for d Wi-Fi network or router.

In addition, you can print from and scan to a number of memory card types, including SD Card and USB thumb drives. These, and many other PC-free tasks are handled from the MG7520’s context-sensitive control panel. It lights up only when the device is in use, and only then are the current, or in-context, features illuminated. When you press Copy, all you see are options for making copies—everything else stays hidden until you call to another feature that initiates another feature set.

Performance and Print Quality 

As for print speed, like most Pixmas, this one is somewhat slow—especially when printing documents. The truth is, this is not a high-speed, high-volume printer. If that’s what you’re looking for, I suggest you look elsewhere, but then photo-centric printers in general aren’t known for their print speeds. Still, few $200 printers are as slow as this one.

When it comes to printing documents, even documents with embedded business graphics and photos, though, this and most other Pixmas do a decent job, with crisp-looking fonts and detailed images, if not a little slowly. This particular Pixma also printed our test photographs exceptionally well—among the best I’ve seen from a consumer-grade photo printer.

Cost Per Page

Over the many years I’ve been doing this, I’ve yet to see a consumer-grade photo printer (except for some Kodak models, near the end of that company’s solvency) with a low CPP. Folks who buy printers in this class are more inclined to care about quality, rather than the cost per page. Still, FYI, when you use Canon’s highest-yield tanks with this printer, monochrome pages will cost you about 4-and-a-half cents each, and color pages will run you just under 13 cents.

For an explanation of how choosing the wrong printer can be expensive, check out this About.com “When a $150 Printer can Cost You Thousands” article.

Keep in mind that we’re talking document pages here, not photos. Document pages are calculated on a small percentage of coverage, say 5 to 30 percent. Photographs typically cover the entire page and therefore cost considerably more to print. 

Photo enthusiasts would retort that quality is the real issue here, and from that perspective, the Canon Pixma MG7520 is hands down a clear value.