printers
Expert Score
6.4

Canon MG5420 Review

A mid-range multifunction, the MG5420 punches a bit above its weight class.

May 15, 2013

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Introduction

Get to know the Canon MG5420, a mid-range multifunction printer from Canon. While it definitely has its rough spots, you're getting a bit more than what you pay for if you decide to pick it up, as it performs very well in terms of detail and color gamut. Additionally, if you're a member of a young family, this could be a good pick because it doesn't waste ink with combined CMYK cartridges, and it has a wide range of printing/scanning options.

If you're on the fence about what kind of printer to buy, this one bridges the gap between "just prints photos" and general family use fairly well. There are a range of options not commonly found on comparably-priced printers that the MG5420 brings to the table, and considering the performance for the price, you can count on stretching your dollar quite far. This is especially good if you're looking at Canon's high-end printers, but don't have the cash or the conviction to spend big.

Design

If you're looking for a small printer because you have space issues on a cluttered desk, you may want to look elsewhere. It's not that the printer is a huge, ink-spewing monster, but its profile is actually a bit unwieldy when you consider that all the space freed up by having a low profile is lost in how wide it is. For those of you at home, definitely measure out to see if your desk can accommodate something that measures 18.0" x 14.6" x 5.9", and weighs 17.5lbs.

It has a range of networking options that will allow you to print pictures and other files from your smartphone or tablet. Tweet It

Aside from the general girth of the unit, its functional features are quite handy. Not only does it perform all the typical functions of a multifunction printer—print, scan, copy—but it also can print on things like CDs and DVDs if you elect to, and it has a range of networking options that will allow you to print pictures and other files over a wireless network or the internet from your smartphone or tablet.

While the printer's drivers disc comes with quite a few bundled software options, you can elect not to install them. However, I recommend installing the user's manual, Adobe RGB color profile, and XPS drivers at the very least. These will help you adequately support your day-to-day options, and if you want to do some of the more unusual print jobs, the drivers disc will always be there.

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In Use

Opening any printer's box can be a bit daunting, but there should be no surprises with the . Aside from the large amount of plastic waste you'll be greeted with, the printer is neatly packed into the box with all the items you'll need to get going. If you prefer setup via USB, you will need a type A to type B USB cable, however.

Once you're done hunting and removing tape and plastic, setup is fairly straight-forward from there—if you're setting up over the network, you can enter your password in using the capacitive touch controls on the printer, and the animation will guide you through each step. Just be sure not to throw away the test paper (you'll need that at the last step) and you'll be printing photos in under half an hour.

You'll find that there are very few idiosyncrasies to deal with. Tweet It

If you've installed the drivers, you'll find that there are very few idiosyncrasies to deal with—print options are effectively handled on Mac and PC if your software supports them, and the biggest frustration is honestly the print speed. I do need to warn you: put your photo paper in the load tray face down, lest you get ink on the printer's rollers, which are a huge pain to clean.

Perhaps one of the best things about this printer is the ink managament, though that's true of many single-ink cartridge printers out there. Because there's only one ink to a cartridge, replacing ink means only grabbing the color you need: not throwing away the whole cartridge when cyan runs out and leaves you with gross-looking photos. You can easily track ink levels on the printer's screen, and when it is time to change an ink cartridge, all you have to do is pop open the hood of the printer (it's fun to think of it that way, at least), and the screen will tell you how to do the rest. It's very stress-free.

Performance

Considering that this is a more mid-range printer, it actually makes this kind of performance surprisingly good. To wit, you're getting more than what you pay for in terms of color performance, color gamut, and detail—this printer offers somewhat comparable print performance to its bigger brother, the MG6320, and outperforms it in color gamut. All this does come at a tradeoff of print speed, however.

The dropoff in quality from "Best" to "Fast" is not as big as you'd expect Tweet It

That's not to say that the print speed is bad—it's not. However, if you need high-quality documents in a hurry, it takes almost a full minute per page for color prints. I do want to point out that the dropoff in quality from "Best" to "Fast" is not as big as you'd expect, and in return, you can rip off 25 pages in just over 3 minutes if you're late for a meeting or class. Detail in gradients is severely impacted, however.

If you need to print photos, this printer takes its time, but is more reasonable than some on best quality. Larger prints will take longer than smaller ones, obviously, but it's definitely faster and more convenient than going to a one-hour photo. A big plus if you want to keep your photos in your own hands, and not passing through others' hands.

Conclusion

I would go so far as to say that this printer is a solid bet for someone who needs something that works the way you ask it, when you ask it, and how you ask it. It doesn't hurt that the pricetag is only $149.99—even though it might be a bit more than what your average spender is looking to plunk down on a printer, the value of buying a good, consistent, and efficient printer is high.

Sure, it's not flashy, and what printer is nowadays? But a printer that you don't think too much about is valuable when you rely on paper copies of documents and photos. How many times have you wished death and destruction upon a printer of yours, or fought the temptation to take it out back and "relieve stress" with any manner of blunt objects? There's a reason why we laugh at the iconic scene from Office Space.

Keep in mind that Canon is one of the biggest players left in the printer scene, so chances are high that you won't have to suffer the annoyance of not being able to find the correct ink in a few years. If you're looking for a printer that can handle just about anything you ask of it (within reason), and is about as stress-free as it gets in the printer world, the MG5420 is a smart purchase.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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