Canon's Maxify MB2720 Wireless Home Office Inkjet Printer

For the home-based or micro office

Canon Maxify MB2720 Wireless Color Inkjet Printer
Canon Maxify MB2720 Wireless Color Inkjet Printer for the home-based and micro-office. Photo courtesy of Canon

Pros:

  • Several connectivity options
  • Excellent print quality
  • Huge paper capacity for the price
  • 50-sheet automatic document feeder

Cons:

  • Single-sided scanning only; no auto-duplexing
  • Cost per page slightly high
  • No Wi-Fi Direct
  • No Near-Field Communication, NFC

Bottom Line: An update to Canon’s Maxify MB2320, this is an overall fine printer with great output and a large input capacity, but an auto-duplexing scanner and a lower per-page cost of operation would provide greater value.

Buy the Canon Maxify MB2720 at Amazon

Introduction

Today we’re looking at the update to one of Canon’s first Maxify business machines, the Maxify MB2320, the ($199.99) Maxify MB2720 Wireless Home Office Inkjet Printer. As with most updates of this nature, the machine hasn’t really changed much since the Maxify MB2320—a couple of new features, some firmware and software upgrades, but basically you get the same thing: A competent midrange business-ready all-in-one with a slightly high cost per page. If yours is a low-volume printing and copying scenario with the need for quality scanning and faxing, give this new Maxify a good look.

Design and Features

Meet the new printer; it’s a lot like the old printer. At 18.3 inches across, 18.1 inches from front to back, 12.6 inches tall, and weighing in at 26.9 pounds, on the outside, the chassis and the control panel are identical to the MB2320, except for the name of the printer, of course.

Like all Maxifys, this one is cube-shaped and really doesn’t take up much room on your desktop.

If you don’t want it on your desktop top, though, it supports Wi-Fi (wireless) and Ethernet (wired) networking, as well as connecting directly to a single PC via a USB printer cable. However, as I’ve cautioned several times, to take advantage of this Maxify’s cloud and other mobile connectivity options, you’ll need to use one of the networking options.

In addition, this model does not support Wi-Fi Direct nor Near-Field Communication, or NFC.

You configure some of these options, as well as walkup, or PC-free, functions, such as making copies, scanning to the cloud, or scanning to or printing from a USB thumb drive, from the MB2720’s control panel, which is anchored by a 3-inch color touch screen. There’s also a 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF), but unfortunately, it’s not auto-duplexing (but the print engine itself is), meaning that it can’t scan two-sided pages automatically. To get that, you’ll have to step up to the Maxify MB5420 Wireless Home Office Inkjet Printer, and that sells for twice as much as the Maxify MB2720. I’ll be reviewing the MB5420 here on About.com in the next week or so.

But then an auto-duplexing ADF isn’t all that the larger, more-expensive MB5420 has going for it. It has a lower cost per page, for example, which it accomplishes by supporting an extra-large ink cartridge that the MB2720 can’t use.

Performance, Print Quality, and Paper Handling

Canon claims that the MB2720 is capable of printing 24 pages per minute, or ppm, in black-and-white and 15.5ppm in color. My scores were somewhat slower, just over 20ppm for black-and-white.

As the documents became more complex, with multiple highly formatted fonts, color, images and graphics, the pages per minute dropped considerably.

When printing an aggregate of monochrome text files and documents containing business graphics (charts, graphics, tables) and photographs, the MB2720 scored 8ppm, which isn’t bad when compared to other inkjet printers in its price range. Epson’s WorkForce WF-2760, for instance, completed these tests at only 6.2ppm. The bottom line is that for what it is, the MB2720’s print speeds aren’t bad, especially for a low-volume printer; they don’t usually need to be that fast.

Print quality, though, is an area where the MB2720 shines, but that’s not unusual for Canon Inkjets. (The longstanding Pixma brand printers are well-known for superior output quality.) Text quality looked very similar to laser output with highly readable fonts down to about 6 points. Business graphics looked good overall, with even fills, smooth gradient transitions, deep, even blacks, grays, and tints, with only the occasional mild banding—the kind of thing you see only when looking for it, really.

Scanning and copying, too, came out clean, accurately colored and, well, good overall.

Input sources consist of two 250-sheet drawers, for a total of 500 pages altogether, which is a lot for a printer with a 20,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle. In fact, as you’ll see coming up next in the Cost Per Page section, given this printer’s cost per page, running anywhere near 20K prints through it is, compared to several competing models and slightly more expensive competitors, expensive. Despite the deep drawers, that are certainly convenient in terms of how often the printer needs tending, printing more than a few hundred pages a month isn’t sensible economically.

Cost Per Page

Canon provides two sizes of ink cartridges for this printer: standard-yield and high-yield, or XL. The smaller black tanks cost $22.99 and they’re good for about 400 prints, and the three color tanks (cyan, magenta, and yellow) are $13.99 each. Between them, they hold about 300 pages. When you use these tanks, black-and-white pages will cost you about 5.6 cents each, and color prints about 19.7 cents. Both of these numbers are, if nothing else, an incentive to switch to the higher-yield tanks.

The high-yield black tank sells for 31.99 on Canon’s site, and it holds about 1,200 prints, while the three color cartridges cost $15.99, and, combined with the black tank, they print about 900 pages. Using these numbers, I calculated the cost per page as follows: 2.7 cents for monochrome pages and 8.1 cents for color.

While these CPPs may be similar to some other entry-level or midrange printers, whether they’re good for you depends on how much (and what) you print. If you print more than about 300 or so pages each month, 2.7 cents per page may be too high. A rule of thumb when assessing a printer’s per-page cost of operation is, for every 10,000 pages you print with a printer with a cost per page 1-cent higher, it will cost you an additional $100. Two-cents higher, $200, and so on.

That’s $1,200 per year, or enough to buy six or eight of these printers. If you plan on printing thousands of pages each month, do yourself a favor and find one that does so well at under 2 cents per page and preferably under 1 cent. They're out there; Brother’s INKvestment models, such as the MFC-J5920DW Multifunction Printer or the $300 MFC-J5920DW Multifunction Printer, for example. Both of these deliver black and white CPPs of under 1 cent and color pages for under 5 cents.

Granted, the Brother models don’t print images and graphics as well as this Maxify, and to some degree that’s important, depending on your application.

The End

I’m probably not a good business man, but I always go for the higher capacity and more features—you know, just in case I might need them down the road. If you need an auto-duplexing ADF or you want to print and copy a lot, you should look at the MB5420. Yes, it costs a lot more, but it will pay for itself in a short time, depending on how much you print.

When I wrote this in Late-August 2016, the MB2720 was on sale on Canon’s site for $50, or $149.99, and the MB5420 was also marked down to $329.99, or $70 off. And yes, there’s still a huge difference between the price of these two models. Even so, the MB5420 will provide better value in environments with heavy printing and copying.

If, on the other hand, your print and copy load is low, and you’ll make good use of the other all-in-one features, you should be happy with the Canon Maxify MB2720 Wireless Home Office Inkjet Printer.

Buy the Canon Maxify MB2720 at Amazon