Canon Pixma MP160
Quick presentation and ergonomics
In the entry level, the Pixma MP160 stands out for us. It appears to us to be the only one to combine a quality economical printer with a good scanner. On the other hand, in terms of functions, it’s the most meagre. There is no screen not even a small monochrome, and therefore it’s difficult to work autonomously, except to make a color or monochrome copy.
Launched at 89 € in the second quarter of 2007, the price of this printer was reviewed and can now be found at around the 50 euro level in certain stores. If you are looking for a good product for next to nothing, in our opinion, this seems to be the best option. Note that a MP160 is nothing more than an MP150 in disguise, a printer that was released about a year ago.
Quality of printing and scanning
It’s excellent and this is one of the particularities of this product. The quality of Canon prints is more or less the same for the entire line, or at any rate, the entry level models aren’t necessarily less capable than the others, at least for office prints. The test text was precise, ink dries relatively fast, blocks of color are homogenous, and the desired tones are true. On this point, this differs with Brother, whose characters have even more precise curves, but original colors aren’t reproduced exactly.
If you always need monochrome prints, don’t hesitate to set this as a default setting, because it is more economical and consistently good (for example, printing maps). And to save even more, you can also opt for the draft mode in default. It’s of good quality and faster than normal default settings.
In photo mode, the MP160 sets itself apart with its ink drop size (2 picoliters instead of 1) from the more expensive MP510 and MP600. If you examine its prints up close, they are actually a bit less precise, because larger ink drops are noticeable, however, this is only if you are extremely meticulous.
Finally, the scanner is very good and even equal to Epson’s. In other words, it’s much better than HP, Brother and Lexmark.
The MP160 is one of those printers that do not try to draw attention to itself with announced print speed. They announced "only" 22 pages per minute in monochrome. With our rather light test document we obviously were under this with 5.3 ppm. In color it was 4.2. This is more modest than what was claimed by Canon but in the end is quite good. At this price level, only HP stands up to comparison. Above, we mention the option of setting the draft mode to default for good economical monochrome quality. This is also interesting for speed as on our test document we go from 5.3 to roughly 14 pages per minute without a significant loss in quality.
10x15 cm Photo printing is in the average at around 2 minutes, but with quality a step above the others. So, here again a point for Canon.
Last area, the scanner. Canon made a good product with excellent automatic processing and they assume that scanned images will not be touched up afterwards. For this reason, color correction, sharpness, contrast, everything is automatic and works very well. In addition, it’s amongst the quickest in this domain.
The MP160 gives you the choice of Series 40 cartridges, supposedly low capacity, or the Series 50, which last more. Concretely, the former print about 310 pages versus 560 for the others. The cost per page of the Series 50 turns out to be slightly less expensive at 9 cents per page versus 10 for the Series 40. On the other hand, and even with Canon’s own info (they publish ISO autonomies on their site), in photo mode this difference fades. 120 10x15 cm photos are possible with the Series 40 compared to 200 with the 50, but with the difference in price of the two cartridges, this gives us 13 cents per print without paper.
Conclusion : it’s better to go with the 50 only if you are a big consumer of ink and changing cartridges is annoying for you. Just don’t expect any huge savings, at least when comparing these two Canon offers. On the other hand, compared to the competition, the MP160 is a great deal. For example, HP prints turn out to be 2.5 more expensive in office use!
A serious defect?
No, there isn’t one. Noise is bearable and feeding is good. There is only the question of if you should go up in class. The MP180, 20 € more, has a small monochrome screen and the MP460 a color one.