March 1, 2012
- Compact footprint
- Good quality for the cost
- Two-ink cartridge system
- No Ethernet port
- No memory card support
- No standalone printing/scanning
The Canon Pixma MG3120 is an all-in-one inkjet printer that gives you overall good copy and scan quality. It does lack in some features in order to keep the unit's cost low, like no memory card support or an Ethernet port. But if you're in the market for a cheap, reliable all-in-one, this one might be for you.
Canon has always been a good maker of printers and all-in-ones, perhaps second to HP in our minds. The MG3120 is a stripped down version of some of its higher-end models, like the Pixma MG6220, but the low cost doesn't sacrifice quality, which is probably the most important thing in this category.
It has a shiny black plastic chassis that makes it actually look more expensive than it really is. It measures 17.7 x 12.0 x 6.0-inches (wdh) and weighs 12-pounds, so it's about average size when compared to Canon's other all-in-ones.
The most striking different in terms of appearance is the lack of an LCD display. Instead, the Canon Pixma MG3120 has a one-line LED display that lets you know of printing statuses and any errors that may arise. The lack of an LCD means that you must use a connected PC in order to do any printing or scanning, which is something higher-end models allow you to do just from the printer itself.
There are no memory card slots on this printer, so printing directly from camera memory cards is out of the question. Some users really like that functionality, so if you are one of them, shy away from this printer.
The MG3120 does support networking through Wi-Fi only (there's no Ethernet port) and also the usual USB port for connecting directly to a computer. The Wi-Fi networking was a little involved to setup because of the lack of a multi-line display. Unless your network supports Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), you'll have to connect it to a computer via USB and run through the wireless setup wizard. Here you will enter in all your wireless network information and once complete, it will work without a USB connection. Luckily, Canon provides you with a USB cable to use, which is not always the case for other printers.
Printing from Apple iOS devices and select Google Android devices is also supported, although we did not test these features. This feature requires the printer to be connected to a wireless network.
Canon provides this model with a two-cartridge ink system that includes one large black cartridge and a three-ink color (cyan, magenta, yellow) cartridge. This setup means that you'll be wasting some color ink when, for example, one color is empty while the other two are not since the whole cartridge has to be replaced. As a result, the money you can expect to spend on ink will be higher on average for this printer than other printers with separate color ink tanks.
Paper input is handled by a 100-sheet tray that folds down from the printer's front side and the output tray is above that. There's no special media input trays, but considering this printer's low cost, that is expected. There is built-in duplexing, however, so you can print on both sides of the paper automatically.
In terms of speed, the Canon Pixma MG3120 was about average or just below average when compared to our other all-in-ones. It did do a better job speed-wise when it came to printing photos, which is typically the slower of the two when you compare text vs. photo print speeds.
In subjective image tests, we found text to be quite clear and readable at small font sizes. Photo quality was decent, but it could be better. We felt that the more expensive all-in-ones from Canon (and other brands) provided photo prints that are much better in quality. However, if you're looking for a cheap printer to print the occasional photos, it doesn't do a bad job.
Scanning quality was also run-of-the-mill and will definitely work for document scanning and the occasional image scan. The maximum scan size the MG3120 supports is 8.5 x 11.7-inches.