Canon PIXMA TR4520 Review

A surprising performance from an entry-level all-in-one

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3.4

Canon PIXMA TR4520

The Canon Pixma TR4500

 Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like
  • Great price

  • Good print quality

  • Auto-duplexing feature

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • No Wi-Fi Direct

  • No NFC

  • Slow

  • High operating costs

The Canon Pixma TR4500 is a highly-affordable entry-level all-in-one inkjet printer that’s a great choice for home and light-duty home office use. It covers all the bases competently, but don’t expect world-class photo printing.

3.4

Canon PIXMA TR4520

The Canon Pixma TR4500

 Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

The Canon Pixma TR4500 is an entry-level all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printer that features wireless connectivity and supports Amazon’s Alexa. This is a light-duty printer that’s best suited for home use, and it has a price tag to match. It has some nice features, like auto-duplexing, and print quality is a bit better than I normally expect from a budget all-in-one.

I installed the Pixma TR4500 in my home office for five hours of intensive testing and about five days of general use. I tested things like print speed and quality, photo printing quality, scan and copy capabilities, and ease of use. I was pleasantly surprised by the overall performance of such an affordable printer, but not enough to recommend it for anything but light-duty home use.

Design: Oldschool interface and controls

The Pixma TR4500 doesn’t look dated overall, but the interface and controls do. In a time when a lot of entry- and mid-level inkjets have transitioned to big, colorful screens, the Pixma TR4500 features a tiny LCD display and a large assortment of physical buttons. The display is very sparse and a bit difficult to read if you aren’t looking at it from just the right angle, but the large buttons are easy to identify, making the printer fairly easy to use.

The display and control panel is located on the top of the printer, making it easier to use if you’re standing and looking down. Try to use it while seated in front of the printer, and you’ll have a tough time reading the display due to the aforementioned viewing angle issues.

To the right of the display and control panel, you’ll find a flip-up panel that conceals the automatic document feeder (ADF). Below that is a carved-out pocket that’s designed to hold documents after they have been run through the ADF.

The control panel and ADF both flip up, so clearing paper blockages is a breeze. Flipping the ADF up also reveals a standard flatbed scanner if you need to scan a single document, or if you need to scan something that’s irregularly sized or too thick to pass through the ADF.

The front of the printer flips open to reveal the paper cartridge and the telescoping platform that’s designed to catch documents as they print. The paper cartridge is conveniently connected to the front cover.

Further access to the internals is available by flipping down a panel that’s located behind the main cover. This allows you to slot in the two ink cartridges and access paper in case of a jam.

The rear of the printer features the power cord connector, Ethernet port, USB port, and a plugged up phone jack if you want to use the fax capabilities of the machine. There is also a quick release to remove a panel for additional access to paper jams.

Canon PIXMA TR4520
Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Setup Process: Theoretically easy, but I did run into problems

Setting up the Pixma TR4500 should be quite easy. It starts with securely seating the two ink cartridges, one color and one black, and then closing up the front of the unit. You can then set the printer up using the Canon PRINT app.

It should all be quite fast and easy, but I ran into an issue where the paper of several sizes jammed, causing error codes, during the setup process. This is the same set of papers I use for all my printer tests, and I’ve never had a printer eat so many sheets.

Once the printer settled down and stopped eating my paper, the process was fairly painless. I managed to get it all setup and connected to Wi-Fi using the Canon app on my phone, after which I was able to start printing.

Canon PIXMA TR4520
Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Printing Quality: Fantastic quality for an entry-level printer

The PIXMA TR4520 performs very well in terms of print quality, producing results that would be perfectly acceptable in a more professional office environment if various limitations didn’t rule out that type of use. The text was sharp and clear when printing black and white text documents, even when printing fairly small fonts.

Mixed text and graphics also came out quite well, including color graphics, especially considering the fact that this is an entry-level all-in-one. Color reproduction was fairly washed out on normal paper, but it did quite well with gradients and very fine lines.

Despite its low price and reliance on a single color ink cartridge, the PIXMA TR4520 produces some surprisingly high-quality photo prints. I printed a variety of photos in 4x6-inch and 8x10-inch, and they were uniformly vibrant and colorful, with beautifully saturated colors and well-executed fine details. Not on the level of a good photo printer, but pretty good for an all-in-one in this price range.

The TR4520 is definitely a cut above what I’ve come to expect from a photo printer in this price range, although the cost of ink is high enough that you probably won’t want to use this unit as your primary photo printer.

The TR4520 is definitely a cut above what I’ve come to expect from a photo printer in this price range, although the cost of ink is high enough that you probably won’t want to use this unit as your primary photo printer.

Print Speed: Too slow for heavy use

While the PIXMA TR4520 puts out surprisingly high-quality prints, they come out excruciatingly slow. I timed it at less than 9 pages per minute (ppm) for black and white text, which is significantly slower than other printers I’ve tested in this range, most of which print upwards of 11ppm.

Color pages come out even slower, with the PIXMA TR4520 printing fewer than five color pages per minute.

The PIXMA TR4520 fares a bit better when printing color photos. I timed it at just under a minute, on average, to print my 4x6-inch test photos. That doesn’t exactly make it a speed demon, but it isn’t that out of line with other printers I’ve tested in this range.

While the PIXMA TR4520 puts out surprisingly high-quality prints, they come out excruciatingly slow. 

Scan and Copy Quality: Decent enough scans with no real complaints

The PIXMA TR4520 creates decent copies of black and white documents, with text that’s plenty clear enough to read, and decent graphics reproduction. Color copying is a bit less impressive and slow, but more than acceptable for such an affordable printer.

Operating Costs: Too pricey for anything but occasional use

While the PIXMA TR4520 itself is priced right, and it puts out the quality that’s better than I expected, the ongoing costs of running this printer are too high for anything but occasional home use.

The standard black cartridge has an MSRP of $18, while the tri-color cartridge has an MSRP of $23, and they’re both rated at 180 pages. The XL cartridges are priced at $26 and $30 each, and they’re rated at 300 pages each.

In my experience, these Canon cartridges don’t last as long as the page rating. But even if they did, you’d be looking at $0.08 per page for monochrome and more for color pages. That’s fine for running off a document or photo here or there, but it will add up fast in any kind of a medium to high volume print environment.

Canon PIXMA TR4520
Lifewire / Jeremy Laukonen 

Connectivity: Wireless options but lacking compared to the competition

Connectivity options is the one area, other than operating costs, where the PIXMA TR4520 really lives down to its low price tag. It does have basic Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity, and it does allow you to print either wired or wirelessly from your computer, or via the Canon PRINT app, but there is no Wi-Fi Direct or NFC connectivity here.

This printer also has an ancient USB 2.0 Type B connector in lieu of the speedy USB 3.0 Type-A ports seen in a lot of the competition. And that’s all you get. It’s understandable for the connectivity options to be a bit light due to the overall low price of this unit, but it’s still a weak point.

Canon PIXMA TR4520
Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Paper Handling: Enough for basic home use

The Pixma TR4500 features a single 100-sheet tray that you can configure to hold a variety of different sizes of paper, including photo paper. The capacity should be plenty if you use this as a home printer that only handles the occasional print job, but it’s small enough that I would find it frustrating to use in my own home office for an extended period of time.

Other printers I’ve tested in this price range, like the Epson WF2760, typically hold around 150 sheets, and printers that are designed for more extensive use often come with two trays or at least a secondary paper feed.

Price: Decent base price and a fantastic street price

With an MSRP of $100, the Pixma TR4500 is priced to sell. It’s priced a bit lower than competitors with similar capabilities, which is reflected in things like the small paper tray and lack of individual color ink cartridges.

The street price of the Pixma TR4500 is typically much lower, with Canon itself offering the printer for just $50 through its direct sales outlet. At that price, this is a fantastic home printer for light use, and you’re unlikely to find a better option at a lower price.

Canon PIXMA TR4520 vs. Epson WF2760

With an MSRP of $130, the Epson WF2760 (see on Amazon) is a bit more expensive than the PIXMA TR4520. They’re both inkjet all-in-one printers with similar capabilities though, and they’re both designed for fairly light-duty use.

The Epson WF2760 features three different colors of ink cartridges compared to the single color cartridge of the PIXMA TR4520. While the PIXMA is pretty good at photo printing, the Epson will tend to be less expensive to operate due to only having to replace each cartridge when it actually runs out of ink.

The Epson is also a faster printer, features a wider range of wireless connectivity options, and has a larger paper tray.

While the Epson is a somewhat better printer by the numbers, the common street price of the PIXMA TR4520 of just $49.99 makes it the more attractive choice for light-duty home use. For the money, the slightly better performance of the Epson just isn’t enough to tip the balance.

If you need a printer that’s better suited to a home office or even a small office environment, neither the PIXMA TR4520 or the Epson WF2760 is likely to satisfy. For that, you need to make some room in the budget for something like the Canon PIXMA G6020, which has a street price closer to $249.99.

Final Verdict

An all-in-one printer with a great price for low-volume home use.

The PIXMA TR4520 has a great price for what you get, but this isn’t a high-volume printer. It’s best suited to low-volume home use where you’re not asking your printer to put out more than about 100 pages each month, and only printing a few photos here and there. It has great print quality, and some nice features like Alexa integration, but the small tray size and high operating costs should make you shy away from using this printer in any office or business applications.

Specs

  • Product Name Pixma TR4500
  • Product Brand Canon
  • SKU 2984C002AA
  • Price $99.99
  • Weight 13 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 17.2 x 11.7 x 7.5 in.
  • Warranty 1 year
  • Compatibility Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
  • Type of printer Inkjest AIO
  • Cartridges Two (black and color)
  • Duplex Printing Yes
  • Paper sizes supported 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, Letter, Legal, U.S. #10 Envelopes
  • Connectivity options Ethernet, Wi-Fi, AirPrint, Cloud Print, Canon PRINT app