The $200 Canon Pixma MP600 is the mini-me to the gargantuan $300 Pixma MP810. Its smaller form factor and price have no bearing on the print quality or print speed, though we found this printer to be reasonably fast (lightning fast, even, with photo printing), and the print quality impressed us. The only major feature you lose out on is the negative and slide scanner. It doesn't come with a fax either, but a fax generally is found on more office-oriented printers, such as the $200 Canon Pixma MP530. Given the price vs. performance calculation, we actually prefer the Pixma MP600 to the Pixma MP810, and we definitely like it better than its competition from HP and Epson. If high-quality scans are a high priority for you, though, skip the Canon Pixma MP600 and check out the office-oriented Pixma MP530
The Pixma MP600 looks as though someone hit the MP810 with a shrinking ray: same body, same layout--only smaller. It stands 17.5 inches wide, 15 inches deep, and 7.5 inches high. It has the same two paper inputs (cassette in front and auto sheet feeder in back) and a flip-out panel for output. Two memory card slots reside behind a door and the PictBridge port sits under that door.
The control panel is embedded in the scanner lid, and the MP600 also uses the new scroll wheel design found on the MP810. The menu options are shown on the 2.5-inch color LCD that's nestled into the underside of the control panel cover. We like the tactile click response from the scroll wheel, and although we'd always prefer a larger LCD for previewing photos, the one found on the MP600 is bright, colorful, and easy to read.
The Pixma MP600's flatbed scanner can hold up to A4 size originals; if you need to scan legal size sheets, you're out of luck. This model lacks the negative and slide scanner found on the more expensive Pixma MP810, and it offers only a USB connection. If you want to network it, you can avail yourself of a variety of third-party routers or print servers that will do the job for you.
The MP600 uses the same five-ink system the MP810 employs: dye-based cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks, plus a pigment-based black for better text prints. Canon estimates 4x6 photo prints cost a competitive 29 cents each and color documents cost a mere 3 cents per page--both numbers are at the low end in the industry.
The Canon MP600 offers the same feature set available on most Canon multifunctions (see the Feature section of the Canon Pixma MP810 review for additional details). When scanning, you can attach it to an e-mail, save it as a PDF, save it to your PC, or open it in an application, such as Adobe Photoshop. Likewise, the special copy option offers the usual suspects: two-sided copy using the built-in duplexer, borderless copy, 2-on-1 and 4-on-1 copy, and image repeat.
With photo printing, we found the features we expected to see. You can reprint photos by scanning them and outputting them as normal photo prints or in a sticker print. If you're printing straight from a memory card, you can print all, print only selected photos, or print a photo index of all the contents of a card, by date range, or just the last 36, 72, 108, or 144 pictures taken. We find this last option to be really useful for people who tend to just add to their memory cards without offloading older images first.