Friday, January 08, 2010

Installing a printer - Apple vs Microsoft. Which is easier?

My new Canon Pixma MP560 wireless all in one printer arrived today. £90 for a current wireless 5 ink duplex printer, scanner, copier is an absolute steal in my book.

The Amazon box was HUGE, and had me worried that the given dimensions were a bit iffy. Thankfully, the actual printer box was significantly smaller, and doesn't take up much more of a footprint than my outgoing HP Deskjet940c.

The manuals (a proper manual plus a network setup manual) are massive. The main manual is about an inch thick!

I first set it up for my main Win 7 desktop. It was very odd setting up a wireless printer, with the only lead being a power lead, but setup was a breeze once I'd unpacked the very well packaged unit.

Software install was painless, and less than 20 mins after opening the delivery box, I was holding a vibrant colour document in my hands, printed over the air. Superb.

I then turned to my Macbook Pro. Several of the Amazon customer reviews had mentioned whilst this printer does work with OSX/Snow Leopard, setup could be fiddly. Maybe it's my relative lack of experience with a Mac, but I can only agree. Having already set up the printer to me wireless network, all (!) I had to do was install the software and off you go. Yeah.

It took me over an hour and a half, much Googling, two downloads and a tip off one of the Amazon customer reviews for this device to get it working, but get there I did.

To save anyone else having the same trouble, the key is the following, and I thank a certain M Wrycraft from London who thankfully posted the following on the Amazon site.

The Mac installation was not so fine. Everything looked ok until printer registration (via the network of course) and OSX failed to find it. I suspect a few people will find this as the CD software is not the latest version and does not support 10.6. However a search on the Canon support found the software (you need the CUPS driver for printing and the ica driver for scanning). Once quickly installed (note: just complete the rest of the setup first then install these 2 drivers after), I could then add the printer and scanning using the normal System Preferences method. After that printing and scanning were fine.
So, far from perfect but at least there is an answer.

So there you have it. It's working on W7 and Mac. I have to say that my first impressions (Mac installation aside) are fabulous. It's a good looking bit of kit. It can sit virtually flush against a wall, has a neat on-board user interface, can print both sides, has 5 separate ink cartridges so you don't waste (much) expensive ink. It's wireless, so doesn't have to sit on your desk or even in the same room - I happily printed from downstairs to the unit which is up in our "study". There's a bottom paper tray and photo paper feeds from the top rear. The output tray door automatically drops gently open when a print job starts to give it that slight "mystic" appeal. The scanner driver looks very capable and above all, it seems to give very good results.

I'm very happy with this purchase, and would recommend it even on one evening's use.

I've just printed my first photo on one of the supplied freebie Canon photoglossy papers, and I have to say, the output is absolutely stunning. Bear in mind my HP Deskjet was at least 6-7 years old, so not exactly cutting edge, but still printed photos OK (ish) - not that I printed many, but this is hard to distinguish from a real print. I'm really gobsmacked by how good this unit is.

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