Canon MAXIFY MB5020 All-In-One Home Office Printer Review

Rating:

The MAXIFY MB5020 is Canon’s answer to the home office all-in-one printer segment, but built for the cloud computing age. The functions that it can serve are, of course, printer, photocopier, scanner and fax machine (if you’re of that small majority that still use faxes).

Some first impressions are that it weighs in at a hefty 25 pounds out of the box. Sometimes I question the need for making it this big, but I’m sure the folks at Canon took every consideration to make it as functional as possible considering the weight.

Canon Maxify MB5020

 

Priced at $329.99 MSRP, the MAXIFY MB5020 does not fit the “Razor-Razorblades” business model of cheapo printers that can be had for under $50, but being price gouged for the eventual purchase of inkjet printer cartridges that are almost as expensive (in some cases even more) as the printers themselves. If you search around, I believe prices are much more affordable now and definitely something to watch out for if you have a large family and have students in need of a printer. The MAXIFY MB5020 is positioned as a general purpose home office all-in-one printer. We’ll dive in to see how it stacks up for everyday use.

Setup

Setup time was a bit more of a struggle than I anticipated. While it’s not to say that it was impossible, there were some friction points along the way. I’m not going into the full details, but be prepared to set aside 45 to 60 minutes to get everything set up and ready to go. The instruction guide is simple enough as it’s all pictures. While it would have been nice to have some sort instructional text, they probably chose the route of pictures and diagrams as they’re not open to interpretation.

There are a few orange placeholder pieces that are slotted throughout the unit as you can see in the top right corner of the picture. While I wasn’t quite sure what their purpose was, I can only guess that it was it was for maintaining the structural integrity of the printer while it’s in transit to handle the inevitable jostling before it arrives at its owner’s premises. You need to be a bit careful in terms of prying out the orange placeholders, which I don’t believe they’ve mentioned in their instruction guide.

Once you get beyond the setup, everything else is a breeze and you’re off to the races in terms of printing, scanning, photocopying and even faxing (if you still do that sort of thing).

Performance

Canon Maxify MB5020 2

Let’s get this stat out of the way. The MAXIFY MB5020 is fast. Capable of spitting out 5 pages per minute in either black or colour, this MAXIFY printer is no slouch in printing out long form essays, guides or reports.

In terms of actual print quality, text looks crisp, even if it’s at 600 dpi. For colour photos, it may be common sense, but buy heavier stock paper to be able to absorb the inks and get dazzling photo quality prints.

The inkjet cartridges are reasonably priced at about $33 and $27 for their black, yellow, magenta and cyan colour cartridges respectively. The MAXIFY line-up of multifunction printers was built for high volume printing. With their black ink cartridges, you can expect to pay about 1.6 cents per page in monochrome (black) or 2.1 cents per page in colour.

It can hold about 250 pages in its tray, accommodating both letter size and legal size paper. Its expected monthly peak duty cycle is 30,000 pages – which is a heck of a lot of printing.

One last thing to note is that the printer itself can be a bit noisy. While it doesn’t give off a cacophony of noise, it will never be as quiet as a laser printer. If noise is a concern, then you might be better off getting a laser printer instead.

As for the photocopier, the photocopies were crisp and performed as expected, in black and colour. Same went for the scanner functionality, as I was able to scan documents and download them to a USB key. There is also functionality to scan and save directly to your Cloud drive, whether it’s with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box or Microsoft OneDrive.

In terms of faxing, I didn’t bother because I don’t own a land line anymore.

Integrations

Canon Maxify MB5020 3

Canon Maxify MB5020 4

I was astounded at how easy it was to set up printing through wireless and mobile.  Let’s start with wireless first. There are a few options that you can use, such as their WPS and their standard Wi-Fi procedure. I tried to go through the WPS route, but it turns out your router needs to have a “WPS button” which I’ve never heard of until going through their instructions. My Cisco router didn’t have one, so I opted for their Wi-Fi procedure, which was much more intuitive and easy to set up. This process took under 5 minutes and determining that the Wi-Fi procedure was the way to go and hit the ground running.

The beauty about the MAXIFY MB5020 is that without having to integrate into any of the services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and Microsoft OneDrive – if you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your printer, you can view files from your smartphone or your computer and print instantly. However, if you don’t have a computer handy, you can allow your MAXIFY to connect directly to any of your cloud storage services and access files to print directly from the printer itself. While I may be guessing, it looks like they have a stripped down version of Android that can access your accounts.

One last note however, is that I’m not sure about the security implications of authenticating through this route, as it’s outside the scope of the review and my expertise, but my guess it’s “good enough” for those who aren’t printing or scanning documents that require advanced encryption.

The Bottom Line

At first, I was a bit iffy in terms of having such a massive home office all-in-one printer in my condo. But after a few days, I got used to its presence, knowing that it would be a workhouse in terms of sheer printing volume and cost effectiveness. The MAXIFY is truly built for the 21st century, while catering to the latest mobile technologies in terms of its numerous integrations and its onboard computer and LCD touchscreen that could probably power a smartphone. While its MSRP is at $329, you can get it for less at Staples.

The Canon MAXIFY MB5020 is perfect for

The home office or small businesses that need a versatile all-in-one solution, or for students who need to print out a heck of a lot of hardcopy documents for school assignments.

Things to look out for:

– Be prepared to set aside an hour or so to set up the MAXIFY MB5020 – it’s not a toy and certainly not priced as one

– Inkjet cartridges retail for $33 for Black, and $27 for Cyan, Magenta or Yellow – they’ll last you quite a bit of time, even for heavy volume users. You should look at a cost of 1.6 cents per sheet for black page or 2.2 cents for colour pages.

– The MAXIFY MB5020 is heavy, weighing in at 25 pounds. You should set aside some significant desktop or give it a dedicated side table (placing it on the ground might work as well).

– The electric cord it ships with is pretty short, so if you’re looking to place your printer a little further away from the outlet we suggest to use an extension cord.

– It’s definitely not silent, so be prepared for the whirring of the inkjet heads buzzing back and forth as it prints out your documents.

Summary
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Canon MAXIFY MB5020 All-In-One Home Office Printer
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Will obsesses over the latest and greatest in gadgets, startups, does CrossFit and writes about technology, growth marketing, programming and personal development. He curates the Startup Digest in Toronto and is a coffee enthusiast.

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