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Canon Maxify GX2020 review: all your home office needs

Canon's Maxify GX2020 keeps printing for thousands of pages.
Canon Maxify GX2020
MSRP $379.99
“The Canon Maxify GX2020 has everything a home office printer needs.”
Pros
  • Excellent photo prints, even on plain paper
  • Good print speed and quality
  • Generous 250-sheet paper tray
  • Fast 600 dpi scans
  • Quick and easy set up
Cons
  • No borderless photo prints
  • Couldn't print an envelope

Canon’s Maxify GX2020 is an all-in-one printer designed for the home and the office. With so many people working from home, that sounds like a winning combination.

Budget printers focus on keeping the upfront cost low while maintaining quality, and the best printers do a little bit of everything very well and often excel at single-purpose tasks.

Since the Maxify GX2020 isn’t a budget model, it has to be able to serve multiple purposes. We tested this all-in-one printer to see how well it can handle these diverse tasks while maintaining good performance, offering nice print quality, and keeping running costs affordable.

Design

The Canon Maxify GX2020 is compact and looks nice in a home or office.
The Canon Maxify GX2020 is compact and looks nice in a home or office. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

The first thing you’ll notice with Canon’s Maxify GX2020 is how compact it is. For a multifunction printer, it’s surprisingly small. The footprint is about 15 by 15 inches, and there are no rear trays so that it will fit almost anywhere.

It’s one of the smallest all-in-one printers with an automatic document feeder (ADF) I’ve ever reviewed. Canon’s Pixma TS6420a is only a little smaller yet lacks ADF.

With the output bin extended, the depth is 20 inches. Height is only 10 inches, so you could almost place this tiny printer on a shelf. However, you need enough room at the top to lift the flatbed scanner lid and refill the ink tanks. The weight is just under 18 pounds.

It’s a good-looking printer, mostly off-white, with a dark gray accent in the middle. The color bars at the bottom right are the ink tanks showing through nearly transparent panels. For most tank printers, the color is lost, and you see only the level of the ink.

Unlike most tank printers, the color of the ink is visible from the outside of the Maxify GX2020.
Unlike most tank printers, the color of the ink is visible from the outside of the Maxify GX2020. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

You won’t need to lift the tank lid to know which color is low when using the Maxify GX2020. Just a glance will do. That should be a rare occurrence since inkjet tanks can print thousands of pages before you need to replenish supplies.

Canon gave the Maxify GX2020 a large 2.7-inch color touchscreen with a textured matte finish to reduce glare. It tilts 90 degrees for easy viewing while standing or seated, and the easy-to-understand menu system makes navigation easy.

A generous 250-sheet paper tray can be completely removed, but you only need to pull it halfway out to add paper. There’s no media tray, so you must remove all paper when printing envelopes or photos.

Printing performance

The Maxify GX2020's photo prints look great even on plain paper, but there's no borderless option.
The Maxify GX2020’s photo prints look great even on plain paper, but there’s no borderless option. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

As a home office printer, the Canon Maxify GX2020 is quick and offers great quality. The manufacturer’s photos on Canon’s website show it printing color documents, so I wasn’t expecting great photo quality.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by just how well it printed pictures. The six-color ink system of Epson’s EcoTank ET-8500 outshines the Canon printer on glossy photo paper, but on plain paper, the Maxify GX2020 is impressive and might be as good.

The only concern is that it can’t print without borders on any paper, even on 4×6 photo paper. The white border isn’t a problem on a letter-size page, but you’ll be losing a significant amount of space on smaller paper. That disqualifies the Maxify GX2020 as a photo printer unless you’re willing to trim the edges.

Print speed is good for an inkjet, rolling through 15 monochrome or 10 color pages every minute. Color documents look nice with consistent color and no lines or gaps.

Duplex printing works well, reliably retracting and flipping each page to print on the other side.

Special features

Canon gave the Maxify GX2020 a fast scanner that supports up to 600 dpi.
Canon gave the Maxify GX2020 a fast scanner that supports up to 600 dpi. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

Canon’s Maxify GX2020 is an all-in-one with fax capability. You won’t need to visit your local office store or travel back to the office when you need to scan a document, make copies, or receive a fax.

Scanning is as quick as printing, with only a brief lag between these two functions when copying. Resolution is up to 600 dots per inch (dpi) from a computer or 300 dpi from a mobile device. If you need to scan photographic prints or film negatives, a good, dedicated scanner can provide even higher resolution.

When making copies, there’s an option for double-sided scanning, but it’s not a true duplex feature since the Maxify GX2020 scans one side and then instructs you to place the scanned page back in the ADF to scan the other side. The instruction helps you orient the page correctly, but it can’t copy a multi-page, double-sided document automatically.

The copy feature can, however, scan single-sided and print double-sided if you need to reduce the number of sheets used in a long document.

Software and compatibility

Set up is quick and Canon's Maxify GX2020 printhead alignment is fully automatic.
Setup is quick, and Canon’s Maxify GX2020 printhead alignment is fully automatic. Photo by Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

Set up is fast and easy using the touchscreen and the single-page quickstart guide included in the box. I installed two printheads, filled four ink tanks, and left the Maxify GX2020 alone to complete its 12-minute printhead alignment.

The ink used in the Maxify GX2020 is uniquely vibrant and dense looking, yet it drains quickly into the four tanks. Everything is clearly labeled, and the bottles are shaped to prevent accidentally mismatching the ink colors for each tank.

Most manufacturers and printer models require the user to print and manually check one or more alignment pages, then use the control panel for best quality. Epson printers like the EcoTank ET-2800 require you to stay at the printer during alignment, so installation feels slower.

I praised HP’s OfficeJet Pro 9015e for its two-step, streamlined alignment process, but Canon’s Maxify GX2020 lets me leave and be productive elsewhere while the printer automatically aligns the printheads.

When I returned, the printer asked me to scan a QR code to install the Canon Print app, which quickly found and connected the Maxify GX2020.

For Windows PCs and Mac computers, adding the Maxify GX2020 was simple. You can use a Chromebook with most printers, but it’s nice to see that Canon specifically mentions compatibility on its website. The Canon Print app works well with iOS and Android phones, letting me scan, print, and check ink levels remotely.

The Canon Maxify GX2020 is fast and reliable, making almost everything easy.
The Canon Maxify GX2020 is fast and reliable, making almost everything easy. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

I printed a variety of documents and photos on various paper sizes and types. Almost everything worked reliably.

Unfortunately, I got stuck when trying to print an envelope. From the mobile app, there’s no option for envelopes in the paper-size menu. Using my iPhone’s Airprint didn’t help, but the iPad let me choose envelope, but the envelope didn’t print correctly.

I tried from Windows, selecting a No. 10 envelope on the printer and from the Windows print requestor, but I got an error message about a paper mismatch. I simply couldn’t print an envelope correctly. I alerted Canon to this issue and will update the article when this unusual problem is resolved.

Long-term Value

The Maxify GX2020 has low maintenance costs like most tank printers.
The Maxify GX2020 has low maintenance costs like most tank printers. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

You’ll pay a bit more for the Canon Maxify GX2020, but the fast speed and great print quality will make you happy, as long as supplies don’t cost too much. That’s generally not a problem for tank printers, and Canon offers good long-term value.

It comes with full bottles that are actually larger than the standard refill bottles. The extra ink is a nice gesture because some is used to fill the supply lines and printheads.

Canon estimates you’ll get 3,000 pages of color documents and 3,000 monochrome pages. Compared to cartridge-based inkjets like the Epson Expression Home XP-4200, the Maxify GX2020 includes hundreds of dollars worth of ink. The same can be said of most tank printers.

I calculated the cost per page using Canon’s estimates for number of pages per bottle. It works out to be five-tenths of a cent for monochrome documents and one cent for each color page. HP’s Smart Tank 7602 has even lower running costs but is a more expensive printer.

Is this the printer for you?

The Maxify GX2020's ADF isn't really duplex since I had to refeed each page.
The Maxify GX2020’s ADF isn’t really duplex since I had to refeed each page. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

The Canon Maxify GX2020 sits comfortably at the crossroads of premium home printers and low-cost office printers. It handles most office tasks with speed and quality, with surprisingly nice photo prints on glossy and plain paper. If it had borderless printing, it would nearly be the perfect all-in-one.

If you like to print 4×6 photos, this is not the right printer for you. The large white borders seem like a waste of expensive photo paper. For full-size prints, the border is small and unobtrusive. The fact you can print in good quality on plain paper increases the cost efficiency dramatically.

There are a few things missing for office use. I couldn’t manage to print an envelope from my phone or computer, which is probably some odd glitch, but it’s still worrying. Duplex copying is lacking since you have to manually reinsert documents when instructed. If you need automated duplex copying, the Maxify GX2020 won’t work.

If you want a business printer that handles every office task you throw at it, the best color laser printers are more expensive but more full-featured. Canon’s Maxify GX2020 is so great in every other way, though, especially for a home office setting.

Editors' Recommendations

Alan Truly
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
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