Prin­ters

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If you can put up with slower-than-av­er­age print­ing speeds, the Canon Pixma TS3150 is a de­cent MFP for very lit­tle money

The mul­ti­func­tional Canon Pixma TS3150 is cheap and mostly cheer­ful

CANON’S PIXMA TS3150 is a bud­get inkjet mul­ti­func­tion pe­riph­eral (MFP) for peo­ple who don’t print all that of­ten. It’s about as no-frills as we’d ex­pect for its sub-£40 ask­ing price, but it does have sup­port for wire­less net­work­ing: you can con­nect it up and share it around all your home PCs and mo­bile de­vices. It’s small, light and looks in­of­fen­sive, and is avail­able in black (the TS3150) or white (the TS3151).

At the back there’s a sim­ple pa­per tray, and at the front there’s a sim­i­larly util­i­tar­ian out­put, which ac­tu­ally kept ev­ery­thing im­pres­sively tidy when print­ing. When not in use, the rear tray flips shut to act as a lid. Canon has sprin­kled a few more but­tons than we’d ex­pect on top: you get the usual job can­cel and black and mono start but­tons, but there are also a few ex­tra to help op­er­ate a small, mono LCD win­dow, which shows sim­ple sta­tus mes­sages. In the­ory, it’s a step up from en­try level con­trols, but in prac­tice we found the ex­tra func­tions largely un­fath­omable.

SETUP AND GO

Still, this is a sim­ple MFP to in­stall. Canon’s setup pro­gram can usu­ally de­tect it wire­lessly with­out any con­fig­u­ra­tion on the user’s part, but if all else fails it falls back to a tem­po­rary USB con­nec­tion to set up wire­less ac­cess. Un­like more ex­pen­sive Pix­mas, the TS3150 sticks with one black ink car­tridge, along with an­other con­tain­ing cyan, ma­genta and yel­low.

In the­ory this is more waste­ful than hav­ing sep­a­rate car­tridges for each colour, and in prac­tice it makes print costs a lit­tle high. Us­ing the XL sizes, we cal­cu­lated the colour com­po­nent of an A4 page at a not un­rea­son­able 5.4p, but the black com­po­nent was an eye-wa­ter­ing 4.3p.

SLOW EX­PEC­TA­TIONS

We don’t ex­pect the cheap­est de­vices to be su­perb all-rounders, and the TS3150’s weak­ness is its print speed: this peaked at 7.4 pages per minute (ppm) for black text, and dipped as low as 1.6ppm for colour graph­ics, the low­est we’ve recorded in some time. You’ll need two-and-ahalf min­utes to print a colour photo at best qual­ity, and you won’t be able to do it on A4; although the driver lets you cre­ate and send the job, the prin­ter won’t print on A4 photo pa­per.

At 26 sec­onds in black and 57 sec­onds in colour, pho­to­copies weren’t fast either, but scan speeds com­pared well to even mid-range de­vices. Con­nected over USB, it took us just 37 sec­onds to cap­ture a 6x4in photo at 1,200 dots per inch (dpi).

Our scan and pho­to­copy tests ex­hib­ited ver­ti­cal lines through­out the length of the doc­u­ment, which is not some­thing we’ve ever seen from a Canon scan­ner be­fore. Un­for­tu­nately, our re­view unit had got wet in tran­sit, and we’re con­fi­dent ours was an iso­lated is­sue, prob­a­bly re­lated to that.

This hitch aside, prints and pho­to­copies were ex­cel­lent, with bold colours and fairly crisp, dark text. Scans were sim­i­larly im­pres­sive for such a cheap de­vice.

The Pixma TS3150 isn’t ideal if you print par­tic­u­larly of­ten: it’s slow and com­par­a­tively ex­pen­sive to run, par­tic­u­larly on text jobs. How­ever, if you just want a ba­sic, com­pe­tent mul­ti­func­tion for light home use, it’s a great choice, and wins our Rec­om­mended award.

Si­mon Handby

Prints and pho­to­copies were ex­cel­lent, with bold colours and fairly crisp, dark text. Scans were sim­i­larly im­pres­sive for such a cheap de­vice

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