Canon's all new all-in-one printer, the Canon Pixma MP980, is the replacement for their older model, the MP970, and it comes packed with features. It's definitely an all-in-one in the strict sense of the term, allowing you to print, scan, and copy right from it with one-click functionality. It has a decent-sized LCD screen and six ink system prints very nice-looking photos prints. It also has built-in networking with wireless capabilities.
The size of the Canon Pixma MP980 is fairly large, but not overly big that it cannot fit anywhere. In total, the device measures 8 x 15 x 19-inches roughly and has a pretty sleek look that will easily fit in with any desktop setting. Installation of the device is fairly straightforward and expected, you just have to place it on your desk, connect the power cable and USB cord, install the print cartridges, and install the software. Canon's drivers are compatible with Mac OS 10.3.9 and above as well as Windows Vista, XP, and 2000.
On the top of the MP980 is a 3.5-inch color LCD display for previewing and reviewing photos to print as well as adjusting printer settings. There is a USB port for direct printing from PictBridge enabled cameras, but not USB thumb drives. You can also insert your camera's memory card right into the slots to print directly from the memory card and avoid using a computer completely. This printer also allows you to both scan and print directly from film and 35mm slides, which is a huge plus for people who want to scan old photos to preserve them in digital format. For the not-so-expensive price of this printer, that's a very good feature to have. There's also a built-in duplexer for printing on both sides of the paper automatically.
Network installation of the Canon Pixma MP980 is also a nice added feature to this printer, but it's a little quirky. To enable and configure the network abilities for the printer, you first have to connect it to a computer via USB and enter the installation program and tell it to configure it for network use. Once you have entered the applicable settings and completed the installation wizard, the printer can be unplugged from the USB connection and moved to wherever desired. That is pretty standard, but we don't like that you cannot enable both wired and wireless connections at the same time, but that isn't a big deal for the majority of people.
The ink system on the Canon Pixma MP980 is pretty advanced for an all-in-one printer in the sense that it uses individual ink cartridges for each color instead of combined cartridges. This allows for more cost efficient printing because you don't have to replace the whole thing if only one color runs out. The MP980 uses six different cartridges, cyan, yellow, magenta, dye-based gray, dye-based black, and pigment-based black. This means that you'll get some pretty nice looking photo prints as well as fantastic looking monochrome photos.
Print speed with the MP980 is a little slower than expected for text, but not terrible. Photo printing is much better and above average. To print a 4x6 photo, it takes about a minute and two minutes for an 8x10. The photos that are printed look very nice and of store-printed quality. The color representation is almost exact and very impressive, especially for an all-in-one printer. Grayscale photos look amazing as well due to the multiple black/gray cartridges. Canon claims that photos printed with the MP980 will last 300 years in storage, 30 years behind glass, and 20 years exposed. The photos are also water-resistant as well as scratch-resistant to an extent, so they can handle some rough handling. As with all other photo printers, we recommend that if you are printing photos, you should be using paper designed for photo printing for best results.
Text printing was fairly decent, but not as impressive as with photo prints. If you print any font smaller than a 9-10-point font, distortion is apparent and causes some issues with readability. If you are printing regular documents for personal, school, or casual business use, then you'll be perfectly happy with the quality from this printer for text printing.