Run a small business? Canon wants to help you ‘Maxify’ it with new office inkjet printers

As many politicians will tell you, at least during election campaigns, a big part of the country’s economy depends on small businesses. So it is this customer that Canon is focusing with its new line of Maxify inkjet printers. Launching with five models – ranging from $150 to $400 – Maxify devices are designed to deliver high speed, high yield, and laser-quality prints, according to Canon.

Canon has always catered to small office/home office users, in particular with its inkjet Pixma MX-series and, to some extent, the ImageClass-series of laser printers. But, according to Canon U.S.A. Vice President Michael Duffett, who heads the company’s consumer printer division, the SOHO (small office, home office) space is actually an area that Canon has underserved. For its Maxify products (stylized as MAXIFY in marketing materials), Duffett says the company conducted focus groups with small business owners, “to see how their business is managed and how we can help them improve.” The series is designed to help this consumer keep costs down, give them access to U.S.-based customer service, and access to cloud-based documents.

The Maxify sits somewhere in-between the Pixma and ImageClass series. It serves home users or small offices of less than 10 people, who require great print quality quickly and lots of copies. (ImageClass printers are for even more heavy-duty usage, while Pixma models are geared toward fewer prints or those that require photo prints as well.) Maxify also has a newly developed printhead system, and offers features desired by office users. They have a sleek yet strictly-business gunmetal gray look about them.

The new ink system, Dual Resistant High Density, offers larger ink yields “designed to produce graphs with vivid colors and sharp, optical density, crisp text, which is friction and marker resistant,” Canon says. Users can also opt for XL-size ink tanks. Unlike the Pixma models, the Maxify printers also have larger paper capacities, with some models featuring two paper trays. Canon also quotes a 7-second first-print speed for black and white documents. No longer do you need to choose between connected and non-connected models, as all five have Wi-Fi built in. Canon has created a dedicated Maxify Printing Solutions mobile app to serve users, with access to cloud storage platforms like Dropbox, Evernote, Microsoft Onde Drive, and Google Drive, as well as social networking services like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Photobucket (all via the Maxify Cloud Link platform). The app is similar to the Pixma Printing Solutions app. When asked why not create a universal app that supports all Canon printers, Duffett says that while both apps are similar, each will evolve to serve the different needs of their respective users. The printers also support Google Cloud Print, letting you print Gmail messages, attachments, and certain Google Docs files.

Related: These are some of the best printers you can get for less than $100

At the high end is the MB5320, a multifunction printer (print, copy, scan, and fax) with a 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF). What’s unique about the ADF is that it can handle auto duplexing, meaning it can scan a two-sided document in a single pass; Canon says it’s the first to offer such a feature. The ADF uses two Contact Image Sensors (CIS) to scan both sides of the document at once. This is one example of how Canon aims to make the machines more efficient for office workers, saving them time. The MB5320 has two 250-sheet trays, a 3-inch display, and an output of 23 images per minute for black and white documents and 15 ipm for color, with a 30,000-page monthly duty cycle. The MB5320 is an exclusive to Staples at launch, and will cost $400.

As you move down in price, you get fewer features, naturally. The MB5020, for $300, is identical to the MB5320 except that it doesn’t have the duplex scanning and just one 250-sheet tray. Moving into the home office space, the MB2320, for $200, adds back the two paper trays, but has a 15,000-page monthly duty cycle. The MB2020, for $180, has a smaller 2.5-inch LCD, 16 ipm for black and white and 11 ipm for color, and a 15,000-page monthly duty cycle.

Finally, there’s the iB4020, which is a straightforward printer for $150. This model has two 250-sheet paper trays, a monthly duty cycle of 30,000 pages, and speeds of 23 ipm (black and white) and 15 ipm (color).

Printers may not be the sexiest of computing peripherals, but it’s still a necessity, particularly in the SOHO environment. It’s this customer that Canon and other printer manufacturers (Epson, HP, Brother, Samsung, Dell, etc.) see as opportunity for their printer business. Epson recently launch a new series of its WorkForce office printers with a new printhead technology called PrecisionCore, and the Maxify is Canon’s response. For the regular consumer who makes occasional prints, these Maxify printers may be overkill. But if you have a household that prints plenty of mixed color documents like school essays, or you run a business out of your home, these new printers could be appealing.

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