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Canon PIXMA MP230 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £29.21
inc VAT

A cheap MFP without punishing running costs, the PIXMA MP230 is an entry-level bargain

Canon’s entry-level PIXMA MP230 is aimed at people who don’t need a top-spec MFP. You can’t install it on a network or use it to print photos from a memory card, it won’t send faxes and it doesn’t even have a proper paper output tray. Instead, it’s a compact no-nonsense device that focuses on basic prints, scans and copies. At less than £30 it sounds like a bargain.

Canon PIXMA MP230

The MP230 is tiny by MFP standards and it feels incredibly light, but it looks and feels basic rather than cheap or nasty. At the rear is a simple flip-up paper input tray which, when not in use, folds forward into a recess on the scanner’s lid to stop dust getting into the printer.

The scanner lid is thin and a bit flexible, but its hinges feel strong enough, and are engineered to allow perhaps 5mm or so of extension so that it can close on thick originals such as a magazine. The scanner bed itself tilts up to give access to fit the ink cartridges, while at the right of the top panel are a set of simple controls and LED indicators to cover the essential functions, although we couldn’t see how to make multiple copies at a time.

Canon PIXMA MP230

The only obvious omission is that there’s no output tray, so printed pages simply fall out onto the desk. It’s possible to keep them tidy by placing a book or another obstacle slightly more than a page’s length from the printer, but if you don’t have the desk space you’ll need to catch pages before they spill onto the floor.

Canon PIXMA MP230

In use this is quite a noisy MFP, with the print heads making quite a loud scraping noise as they pass repeatedly over the page. The scanner is also appreciably louder than most, making a coarse racket as the head is positioned. Inkjets and scanners are usually quieter when working at higher quality settings where the heads must move more slowly, but the MP230 is even noisy when printing photos at its highest quality setting. We can’t remember the last time we tested a printer that couldn’t print photos without borders, even on 6x4in paper.

Canon PIXMA MP230 Print status monitor

Print status monitor CAPTION The MP230’s print status monitor is simple but useful, much like the printer itself

The good news is that nothing else is missing. The MP230 uses Canon’s usual drivers for printing and scanning, which means that it’s easy to churn out jobs with typical settings, while more advanced options aren’t too hard to find. For such a cheap printer the results were impressive. On plain paper, text was black and crisp while colours were solid and true without significant banding. We were also impressed with the sharp focus and accurate colours in scans, although the maximum 600×1,200dpi optical resolution rules out anything too creative or detailed.

Canon PIXMA MP230 Basic scan mode

There’s Advanced Mode for those who want it, but Canon’s basic scan interface is clear and simple

Cheap printers often cost a lot to run, but with the MP230 this is only part true. At 3.5p, the black component of printing mixed pages is quite high, but the 4.9p colour component isn’t bad, leading to a reasonable 8.5p per page cost overall. This isn’t a great MFP for photo prints or scans, but it’s perfect if you need a cheap and cheerful all-rounder – as long as you don’t need Wi-Fi, this is a great Budget Buy.

Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution4,800×1,200dpi
Max optical resolution600×1,200dpi
Output bit depth24-bit

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.08m 14s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.011m 2s

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB
Optional printer interfacesnone
Noise (in normal use)44.7dB(A)

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4/legal
Maximum paper weight300gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity100
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity100
Duplex (code, cost if option)No


Printer technologythermal inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7/RT/8, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
Other inkjet featuresnone
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Consumable parts and prices£17
Price per colour A4 page4.9p
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge220 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)244 pages (ISO/IEC 24712)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Warrantyone year RTB

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges2
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges2
Quoted photo durability30 years
Quoted photo durability sourceCanon

Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area preview10s
A4 document at 150dpi13s
A4 document at 300dpi30s
6x4in photo at 600dpi34s
6x4in photo at 1200dpiFail

Tested Copy Speeds

Time for single A4 mono copy 1.014s
Time for single A4 colour copy 1.041s
Time for 10 A4 copies using feeder 2.0N/A

Photo Features

PictBridge supportNo
Direct (PC-less) printingNo
Supported memory cardsnone
CD printingNo

Copy Features

Maximum number of copies20

Fax Features

Max mono fax resolutionN/A
Fax memory (maximum mono pages)N/A