Nowadays if you want a printer that stands out from the crowd there aren’t many options. Sure you can scan but every printer just about does that. Printers have to perform better, lower cost of ownership or offer extra features to draw attention to itself. The Canon MP560, while a refresh of previous models, manages to get two out of three right.
While a refresh can be nothing more than a slight change in the look of the printer, the MP560 packs in a lot more under the hood than you would give credit for.
While on the outside it is pretty much every other Canon printer in the range, with silver and black detailing, which makes itself look great in the home or fashionable office. It is a little shorter than previous models and this means that it can be more flexible in placement where space is tight. There is a flap at the back for letterheaded paper (can carry up to 150 sheets of paper). It can also print special media, such as photo paper, through this.
The plain paper tray underneath holds around 15 sheets and while printing the fold-down front cover drops automatically to become an output tray.
To the right on the top a panel can be lifted up to reveal the control panel, complete with a 50mm LCD display. The controls and big enough for the clumsiest of fingers. They are clearly marked and sport the clickwheel, which has become a regular feature of the Canon range.
At the front, to the right, is another panel behind which lies three memory card slots. One for SD, Memory Stick and xD and another for CompactFlash. Of course, having a CompactFlash slot is a bonus for any user of a semi-pro DSLR.
Connectivity is via either a USB port at the back or through the wireless functionality. The MP560 supports both WPS and WPA. Getting the machine online was easy enough to do.
Inside, printing in colour is dine through five ink cartridges. CMYK and a further black cartridge for text. Each cartridge has a corresponding LED which lights up when inserted correctly. These also flash when empty.
There are drivers for both Windows systems (2000 SP4 onwards) and Macs (10.3.9 onwards). We couldn’t find any drivers for Linux or Unix systems.
Canon claims printing times for the MP560 at 9.2ppm for black and white and 6.2ppm for colour. Overall the quality of the prints are good but maybe not as good as earlier models, but close. Photo prints are excellent and one of the main strengths of a Canon printer, the MP560 did not disappoint with the detail in the images.
Copying and scanning show another benefit of the all-in-one. The output is surprisingly good given that the scanning head is a budget effort and it managed to scan through a single sheet very quickly.
Ink seems to last a reasonable length of time and so the cost per print should be reasonably low as well.
Overall, this printer seems to be faster in printing than its predecessor as well as offering duplex printing and Wi-Fi connectivity, all for a little extra on the cost price. It’s flexibility with coping with all that is put to it should make this one something to consider.