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Review: Canon PIXMA MG7120 Color Photo Printer, Scanner, Copier
on December 13, 2013
Canon PIXMA MG7120 Black/White/Red/Brown Wireless Color Photo Printer with Scanner and Copier
This is a new sweet spot for the Canon PIXMA line with a lot of bang for the buck. This is the replacement for the still produced MG6320. The MG7120 has only been available since August 2013.
[2015/11/01 Update: I put out a review for the MG7720, the replacement for the MG7520]
[2014/12/09 Update: I put out a review for the MG7520, the replacement for the MG7120]
- One more color than the MG5420/MG5320 models, GRAY, just like its MG6320/MG6220 predecessors. GRAY is for improved black and white results and to better darken colors. I haven't seen the difference gray makes with color pages, but some reviewers can.
- Has an ETHERNET connection, allowing a solid, simple shared/network wired connection that stays up even when computers are down. Its predecessors MG6320/MG6220 have it too, the MG5420/MG5320 models do not.
- One of the few models that comes in WHITE (as well as BLACK, RED, and BROWN). The MG6320 before it started the white model option and it was a hit.
- Has a handy separate 4"x6" and 5"x7" PHOTO PAPER DRAWER at the front. The year old MG6320/MG5420 models have this too, the older MG6220/MG5320 models before that did not.
- Like the MG6320 before it, the MG7120 is a bit shorter/squatter than the earlier MG6220, which for some is a nicer form factor if on a desk and certainly if on a deep shelf, for example. The new design ditches the rear paper feed to help achieve its new shelf friendly size and form factor. Listed in a section below are some alternatives with rear/straight feed.
- The 250/251 ink tanks, a little over a year old now, for the MG7120/MG6320/MG5420 also come in an XL SIZE now which reduces the page cost significantly. The ink in the 250/251 tanks are the same formula as in the earlier 225/226 ink tanks according to Canon support.
- The touch screen content-sensitive interface of the MG7120 and MG6320 gets rave reviews, however, I find the old interface of the MG6220 just as easy, but the unanimity of positive reviews for it suggests it really is much better for many.
- For copying/scanning the top comes easily off just like the MG6320 (unlike the previous generation MG6220).
- The MG7120 (and MG6320 and MG5420 models) have 2x the number of black ink nozzles as their predecessors the MG6220/MG5320 models. This allows more efficient use of black ink and greater dot accuracy.
- See "vs. MG6320" section below for details on printing directly from mobile.
- With 10+ years of having a number of their products I have always found Canon to have great customer service, which for U.S. customers appears to be based out of Maryland and Virgina.
- 5-15% faster printing for the MG7120/MG6320 than the older MG6220 depending on b&w vs. color, quality, etc.
- Can print directly from CF memory cards on the MG7120/MG6320 models, unlike the older MG6220, if that is important to you. In addition can print from most SD/MMC/Memory Stick/xD-Picture card types, as always.
- I am leaving out a laundry list of features and specifications you can read on the Canon site to keep the review focused on the big defining features/differences of this model.
- This is new (Aug 2013) and as such can be expected to have more issues than after some time passes. On the other hand, this may just be an incremental modification to the MG6320 and so may not have this issue as much.
- These 250/251 ink tanks are different for these newer MG7120/MG6320/MG5420 models than for the previous generation and thus are at this time (late 2013), a little harder to find available at stores, especially in XL sizes.
- For copying/scanning, the lid telescopes up for books only to the thickness of around a cellphone, whereas the MG6220 telescoped up to around twice that. On the other hand the top COMES OFF easily now with the MG7120/MG6320.
- NO BUILT-IN FAX, if this is important to you in an all-in-one. Perhaps you want to get a dedicated fax machine of your choosing near a phone line anyways, however if you are looking for a built-in fax the MX922/MX892 printers have one.
- NO ADF (Automatic Document Feeder), if this is important to you in an all-in-one. The MX922/MX892 printers have an ADF.
- No straight paper path. If this is important to you, consider the rear-feeding models like the MX892 listed in a section below. Keep in mind that the certified paper weight for non-Canon paper is still 17#-30# for MX892 and 17#-28# for MG7120, so not that much difference. Even the old MG6220 rear feed recommendation maxed out at 28#. For Canon Genuine Paper the MG7120 is certified up to 78#.
vs. MG6320 (Its Predecessor):
- NEW: The MG7120 will automatically turn on if it is off when a print request is sent.
- NEW: The grinding noise of the MG6320 a minute or so after startup appears to have been greatly lessened in the MG7120, it is much quieter during that process whether or not you are in quiet mode. It may have been resolved in newer MG6320's, too, I haven't heard.
- NEW: The MG6320 required a wireless router to print from a mobile device. The MG7120 has an Access Point Mode which allows direct printing to the printer without need for a wireless router.
- NEW: The MG6320 allowed you to print directly (no computer needed) from Picasa, Canon Image Gateway, and Google Cloud Print. The MG7120 now allows you to also download apps to the printer itself that allow printing directly also from Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, DropBox, Evernote, and more.
- There is a specification error online suggesting some changes in the photo paper drawer and MMC card compatibility, but these are misprints, they are the same. The MG7120 and MG6320 are very similar feature-wise.
NEW MODEL NUMBERS CONFUSION
(as of late 2013):
- The MG5520 you would think replaces the MG5420, however the MG5520 4x6 photo printing can be 110% slower, the copying can be 30% slower, has lower max color resolution, has lower max scanning resolution, and can't print on CDs/DVDs. Thus for 5 ink MG series solutions, MG5420 may still be the sweet spot.
- The MG6420 you would think replaces the MG6320, however the MG6420 is missing the gray tank, has no Ethernet, 4x6 photo printing can be 110% slower, copying can be 30% slower, has lower max color resolution, has lower max scanning resolution, and can't print on CDs/DVDs. Thus it is really the MG7120 that is replacing the MG6320 in my opinion.
SUGGESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
(1) See below consideration to select it not to automatically shut-off to reduce ink wastage.
(2) Consider choosing to print "Grayscale" when color isn't necessary, this can lessen the amount of color layering to get black (though the use of grey and colors is not necessarily eliminated). Canon feels the black is better with more color layering, you decide :).
(3) If the GRAY and ETHERNET (MG7120/MG6320/MG6220) is for sure useless to you and you'd like a SMALLER FORM FACTOR, you might consider looking into the MG5420/MG5320, which are otherwise somewhat similar.
(4) Use Canon paper when you need optimal results with their ink, and test matte vs. glossy. Matte is much less expensive and may meet most of your needs. Let me know in comments if anyone finds a comparable quality and yet significantly less costly photo paper for this printer, I'd like to test it out.
(5) When doing black & white, for example text, consider choosing the HIGH QUALITY setting (and perhaps set it as the default) in the printer page set-up, it really makes a difference (though it is slower and uses more ink).
(6) The Canon site has lots of easy to find product comparison information for these inkjets, you might consider reviewing it before committing on a model. There are errors of omission suggesting differences that are not there, if important you may want to double-check with Canon.
(7) In case of POWER OUTAGE, it is sometimes necessary to unplug it for A FEW MINUTES and then plug it back in. This allows capacitor discharge. Thanks to Karen for the heads up on this in a comment.
(8) Another reviewer "G. Stewart" found the solution to getting some Avery labels to print on MG printers that have trouble with them is to peel off the label at the top of the Avery label sheet.
(9) Another reviewer "Technically Proficient" found that for printing directly to DVDs/CDs (on an MG7120) the waterproof Taiyo Yuden (JVC) discs resulted in track marks while the Maxell discs didn't. So if you get marks try switching disc types.
(10) As soon as you can after getting your printer, print samples of full color, b&w, borderless photos, print on a DVD if that's important to you, etc. Determine if you have a lemon before you get too busy with other things so you can exchange for a good one while it is easy to do. These are complicated machines with lots of parts.
Anyone researching Ink Jet Printers will likely be concerned about ink costs. Here are 6 things you can do to mitigate this with the MG7120:
- Buy the XL versions of the ink, this is supposed to reduce the cost per color page to a very competitive 13-14 cents per page (vs. 16-19 cents).
- As noted above, choose to print black and white or grey scale when that will do just fine. For some documents this can avoid black made from layers of colors. Canon says, for example, MS Word may print in black only with default text color but an Adobe graphics document not saved in a grey scale only format will likely use colors to try to faithfully reproduce the graphics.
- Turn off the automatic shut-off. Standby mode uses 1.0W, so on standby even all year uses around 9kWh/yr., so around $1/yr depending on where you live. This can help lessen the number of minute or so long cleaning routines as it runs around a minute after start-up and sometimes at shutdown. It runs the cleaning other times, too, which is good as it keeps ink from clogging.
- Avoid printing pages with solid or heavily colored background in color when possible.
- Some fonts use 20-40% less ink than others. According to a leading consumer magazine, Times uses much less than Arial which uses much less than Calibri, for example.
- Draft quality mode uses less ink than Standard (and is faster), and of course both use less ink than High quality mode. Note that text is much sharper at high quality.
- When it says it is out of ink but you can't tell which of the blinking cartridges is truly empty, use a kitchen scale that handles grams or hundredths of an ounce to find which is lightest/emptiest.
NOTE #1: If there is no printing or cleaning routine at least once a month or so, select it to run a cleaning routine (easy to do) or turn it off and on to force it to once a month or so to keep the nozzles unclogged. If they clog talk to Canon support for what is often an easy solution.
NOTE #2: The MG6220, 2 quick generations back from the MG7120, had a low ink early warning bug. For example, when I take ink from a MG5320 and put it in a MG6220, the low ink warning bars show the ink as vastly lower. This helps exaggerate the appearance of high ink usage. Actual ink usage is high enough that this bug is pretty unwelcome. If it wasn't for a leading consumer magazine's highest photo quality rating for all-in-ones and their estimated page cost that wasn't crazy, and lots of other favorable reviews, I think this bug could have been much worse for MG6220 sales. This might make you feel better about MG7120's past lineage ink usage wise.
NOTE #3: Gray is supposed to go much faster than the rest, thus you wouldn't want to measure average speed of ink usage based on gray. I haven't tracked it in comparison to the other inks myself.
NOTE #4: Just an informative, probably not very useful factoid :). This model range of Canon inkjet doesn't do a big cleaning/purging after it prints, you are usually hearing head realignment. However, it does quietly "prime the head" to keep the heat from ink clogging the print head and this uses a little ink (even for B&W). This is much less ink than with the big cleaning/purging routine that is much rarer if you set the printer not to auto shut-off.
INK USAGE CANON DATASHEET:
As it is pretty difficult to find, here below is Canon's published Page Yield per Document numbers (I rounded a little) for MG7120. It is the same as for the MG6320.
I'm not sure how much of the difference between these numbers and users experience is due to the minute or so cleaning routine, difference between test and real world usage, etc.
Here at least you can see real world expected usage ratio between standard and XL cartridges and compare to costs to determine the better value.
Mixed Text/Graphics, A4/Letter, Plain Paper, Adobe Reader 10
ISO/IEC24711 Test Method, ISO/IEC24712 Test Pattern:
PGI-250 __ 300 pages
CLI-251 BK 1100
CLI-251 GY 780
CLI-251 C_ 300
CLI-251 M_ 300
CLI-251 Y_ 300
PGI-250 XL __ 500 pages
CLI-251 XL BK 4,400
CLI-251 XL GY 3,300
CLI-251 XL C_ 650
CLI-251 XL M_ 650
CLI-251 XL Y_ 650
Color Photos, 4"x6":
PGI-250 __ 3000 pages
CLI-251 BK 490
CLI-251 GY 120
CLI-251 C_ 160
CLI-251 M_ 160
CLI-251 Y_ 160
PGI-250 XL __ 3900 pages
CLI-251 XL BK 1120
CLI-251 XL GY 270
CLI-251 XL C_ 360
CLI-251 XL M_ 360
CLI-251 XL Y_ 360
HOW MANY SHEETS DOES IT HOLD?:
- 80 sheets of standard 24# ink jet paper comfortably (tested).
- Supposed to hold 125 sheets of 20# (not tested). This is what most copier paper is. Some cheaper 20# has LOOSER FIBERS which is NOT AS INKJET FRIENDLY, I'd stick to paper with a surface designed for ink jets, which is usually also 24#. Of course, specialty Canon papers for photos or line art for inkjets are heavier (45#-93#).
- If using 28# paper, expect less than 80 sheets to fit, of course. Sheets whose surface is designed for laser writers are usually also 28#.
For folks not as familiar with printers, I created this section to help delineate when you CLEARLY DON'T want a Canon ink jet printer in the popular 5320/5420/6210/6220/6320/7120/82XX model range at all. Perhaps it may help you find a good starting point to meet your needs.
YOU ARE ALL ABOUT PHOTOS, CAN
SPEND HUNDREDS MORE, AND DON'T
CARE ABOUT COPY, SCAN, ETC:
Consider checking these:
(per a leading consumer magazine and reviews)
- Canon Pixma Pro9500 Mark II
- Canon Pixma Pro1
- Canon Pixma Pro10
- Canon Pixma Pro100
- Epson Stylus R2000
YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT PHOTO QUALITY,
YOU WANT ETHERNET, SHARP B&W TEXT,
GREAT SPEED, AND LOWER PRINT COSTS
Consider checking out these lasers
as a starting point:
(per a leading consumer magazine or reviews)
- Samsung Xpress M2825DW
- Brother HL-2270DW
- HP LaserJet Pro 400 M401n/M401dne
- Samsung Multifunction Xpress SL-M2875FW
- Canon imageCLASS MF4770n/4890dw
YOU CARE ABOUT PHOTO QUALITY, DON'T
CARE ABOUT GRAY, WANT ETHERNET, AND
MUST HAVE FAX BUILT-IN
Consider checking these:
- Canon MX922
- Canon MX892
YOU CARE ABOUT PHOTO QUALITY AND
CARE GREATLY ABOUT STRAIGHT/REAR
PAPER FEED BUT DON'T NEED TO
SPEND FOR A PRO-100/10/1
- Canon MX892 (released 2012)
- Canon MG6220/MG5320 (released 2011)
- Canon IP8720 (released 2014)
- Canon IX6820 (released 2014)
Hope that helps someone :).