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Buyers are not silly: you buy an inkjet printer for $60, happily use it, drain the original inks, then head back to the store for refills, only to find the replacement cartridges cost more than the printer!
And we can count: retail stores often charge as low as 10 cents each for happy snap 10x15cm prints from your digicam’s memory card. You then compare the cost of a pack of 10x15cm sheets to do the printing on the home computer: 40, 50 cents per sheet. Go figure!
But when it gets to making A4 prints from our pictures it’s hard to beat the maths of owning a home printer, ink cost aside. And, these days, you can buy a multi function printer for $50 plus that will scan documents and print them.
At my place we run a separate scanner and a pair of inkjet printers. Each is single purpose — but that’s the way I like the show to run.
For its part, the MP630 is a multi function device. Although, in this review, I’m zoning in on its ability to print photos.
It prints of course at 9600 dpi quality — to all sorts of media: plain paper, photo quality media, T-shirt transfers, CD/DVDs (using a supplied adaptor) etc. It prints directly from your digital camera; it prints from all types of memory cards. Double-sided printing is available.
And it can copy and scan documents, photos etc at 4800 dpi. The Auto Scan mode detects documents or photos and scans using the appropriate settings before saving the scan as either a PDF file or a JPEG image.
If your home is set up for it, you can print via Bluetooth or infra red.
The installation of the device is a little complex — but worth the effort. Software loaded, you install the print head and all of the five ink cartridges (yellow, cyan, magenta, black, photo black), then you load a special alignment sheet and the printer aligns the heads and then makes a test print. All up, about 15 minutes.
You can use the MP630 with no computer connected. It has a reasonably sized, bright 6.4 cm LCD screen that tilts to any convenient viewing angle. An on screen rotating selector wheel lets you choose the operation you want.
I started by loading a pile of documents and photos onto an SD card. There are two media loading trays: the sub-printer sliding cassette handles A4 and similar; the rear upright tray is mostly for 6×4 inch paper printing from memory cards.
You can edit the images prior to printing: crop an image, apply an ‘auto fix’ that brightens up dull or underexposed shots as well as touching up contrast, colour change and apply some loopy, add-on effects. You can of course print multiple images — like passport-style IDs — onto a single sheet of paper, or make calendar prints, with dates, or index prints.
I had a batch of shots I needed to print to A4 size so my plan was to print from within Photoshop, after a certain amount of work on them. I was absolutely amazed at not only the quality of print coming out of the MP630 — but the speed: prints were coming out almost as fast as I could prepare each in the stream of images. Impressive!
What undoubtedly helps is the photo grey inkset in the printer. Neutral grey tones are now just that: neutral grey.
The MP630 is truly a big basket of options — but possibly too much for the cautious. You will need to spend time with the on screen manual and the brief printed instruction booklet to get the most out of it.
A very high quality image printer. If you need a multi purpose machine to print, copy and scan, this also could be the one for you.
Type: Inkjet photo printer.
Minimum ink droplet size: 1 picolitre.
Printing Resolution: 9600×2400 dpi.
Print Speed: A4 black text up to 25ppm; borderless 6×4 inch (10×15 cm) approx 20 seconds.
Plain Paper Capacity: 250 sheets.
Paper sizes: A4, Letter, Legal, A5, B5, Envelopes (DL, COM10), 4×6/5×7/8×10 inch
Paper Weights: 64-300g/m2.
Camera Direct Printing: PictBridge.
Memory Card Printing: SD/SDHC; MMC; MMC Plus; miniSD/SDHC; microSD/SDHC; RS-MMC; CF; Microdrive; xD-Picture Card plus Types M and H; Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Micro.
Mobile Phone Printing: PictBridge, IrDA 1.2 Infra Red, (optional Bluetooth with BU-30 adaptor).
CD/DVD Printing: Printable DVD/CD.
LCD Screen: 6.4 cm LCD.
Interface: USB 2.0, Bluetooth.
System Requirements: Windows Vista/XP/SP2/2000,2000 Professional SP4, Mac: OS.X (10.3.9+).
Software Included: Easy-PhotoPrint EX, MP Navigator EX, CD Label Print.
Dimensions (W x D x H): 450x368x176 mm.
Weight: 8.8 kg.