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Canon PIXMA MP990 ReviewCanon MP990 Printer

Reviewer: Tim Benson  
Printer Type: All-in-One - Wireless, Inkjet 
Overall Rating: Top Rated! 5/5  
Newer might not always mean better, but in the case of the Canon PIXMA MP990 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-In-One Printer, just released, you really are getting a state of the art all-in-one that benefits from the design and performance lessons of the past.  While it falls short of being absolutely perfect, the MP990 is clearly the best all-in-one in its price range and should serve any casual or business user very well.

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As with most Canon printers, the MP990 is well designed and offers great ease of use.  It’s a snap to set up, requires very little assembly, and its packaged software is easy to install and pretty well foolproof from that point on as well.  On top of that, Canon’s software suite is reasonably useful, too, although there are some frustrating aspects of the scanning utility – this part of the software isn’t as fully realized as it could have been, and it can be unnecessarily tricky to change the file destinations.
The MP990’s ink cartridges are easier to replace than they were in earlier models, which is nice, even though you probably won’t be replacing them all the time.  However, there’s no indication of an error in the cartridge insertion – say, if you put a cartridge in the wrong slot – until you’ve closed the printer up again, which can be a bit of a time-waster.
The most noticeable feature of the MP990, of course, is the wonderful 3.6” LCD screen, which rectifies the problems present in similar readouts in previous printers: it’s easy to read, even from far away, and the controls are reasonably simple and easy to use.  On the other hand, the MP990’s face buttons don’t have back lights, which can be a problem when working in a dark room.
In terms of print quality and speed, the MP990 truly excels.  Compared to its competitors, the MP990’s print quality and speed are markedly better in all respects.  Its text print quality is even comparable to that of dedicated laser printers, while its scan quality is also as good as anything else on the market currently.  Finally, the MP990 even offers reasonably good cartridge life, which is a serious point in its favor in a market filled with printers that seem designed to sap your resources over time.
There are some minor quibbles against the MP990, of course.  Its print speeds can vary, even when printing exactly the same thing on separate occasions.  The reason for this isn’t exactly clear, and it can be a little bit frustrating.  That being said, even its slow moments are more than adequate, and easily equal to the competition’s best.  There are some inconvenient aspects to the MP990’s USB and infrared connections.  The USB port won’t accommodate older USB keys, and the infrared receiver is not ideally placed, forcing you to hold the communicating device at potentially difficult angles.  Also, the MP990 lacks an auto document feeder, which some of its competitors do have.
Don’t be fooled by the all-in-one tag on the MP990: not only does it do everything, but it actually does everything exceptionally well.  There’s no more well-rounded printer on the market, and the wireless aspect of the MP990 is something that has been sorely missing from previous units.  If you’re in need of an all-in-one printer, you really can’t go wrong with the MP990, which more than justifies its price tag with superb performance. 
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