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Canon PIXMA MP490 ReviewCanon MP490 Printer

Reviewer: Tim Benson     
Printer Type: All-in-One - Wireless/Inkjet 
Overall Rating: 4/5    
The Canon PIXMA MP490 Inkjet Photo All-In-One Printer is a sure-fire value pick, at a suggested retail price of about $100.  The low price is sure to be the main attraction for most consumers, but when it comes down to it, the MP490 is just a good printer that does everything an everyday user will need it to, as well as it’s needed to, with plenty of reliability – as long as you don’t expect to be doing a ton of printing.
As an entry-level product, it’s crucial that the MP490 be an easy-to-use machine, and it certainly is.  Like most home user-focused Canon printers, the MP490 is a snap to set up and install – the whole process should take a matter of minutes.  It’s also pretty small and lightweight, with some good design elements, such as the fold-away console that houses the on-board controls and the LCD screen.  These combine to make the MP490 a good choice for students and other users who can expect to have to move the printer around a lot. 
The MP490 reads all of the popular types of memory cards, and can print items directly from these media sources, a task which even some higher-end printers don’t do (for whatever reason).  Another nice thing about this unit is its noise level, or lack thereof.  It’s reasonably quiet while printing, and doesn’t suffer from the warmup noise issues that some of the previous models in its range had. 
As long as you use photo paper, you’ll get very good quality photos from the MP490.  This is one of the real strong points of this model, particularly at such a price.  The photo print quality is probably better than what you’d get from the drugstore or other neighborhood developer.  Furthermore, provided that you don’t have to replace them all the time, the two ink tanks are reasonably inexpensive to replace.  However, the ink life still isn’t all that great, so you’ll end up paying a lot more over the long term if you print a lot.  In other words, if you’re looking for a printer that can see a lot of use over a long period of time, you might get a better value from a laser printer, even a more expensive one. 
In terms of print speed, the MP490 is perhaps a bit on the slow side, especially when printing large-scale black and white images.  The MP490 is roughly on par with other value-priced printers in this respect, but, as you might expect, it lags way behind even slightly more expensive ones.  Its advertised manual duplexing function isn’t very convenient at all, and takes a lot of the attraction out of duplexing – it’s hard to see anyone making extended use of this so-called “feature.” 
The MP490’s 1.8” LCD screen is just as it seems: small.  It also doesn’t have much in the way of functionality, and you may find yourself wishing that the space it takes, even if it is tucked away under that folding compartment, had been put to better use.  The MP490’s scanner is also a bit on the rough side in terms of performance, and probably wouldn’t stand up to the demands of business-level functions. 
Thanks to its price and overall competence, the MP490 is a great choice for people who don’t need to print a lot, and are just looking for a good all-in-one that does every task well. 

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