This boxy, silver unit harbours a multitude of features. The Canon Pixma MX860 offers two 150-sheet inputs: a bottom cassette exclusively for plain paper, and a universal, rear vertical tray. The rear tray's panels are prone to rattling and they collapse easily. There's also a flip-out, 50-sheet front output tray and a 35-sheet automatic document feeder.
Automatic duplexing is available for letter-size media only, both for printing and for copying via the ADF.
Connectivity includes options for ethernet, USB, and Wi-Fi; Canon also sells a Bluetooth adaptor for the Canon Pixma MX860. Media slots for CF, MMC, MS, and SD nestle behind a front door. (You'll need an adaptor for xD, miniSD, or microSD.) A front USB/PictBridge port lets you print photos directly from a camera or save scanned files to a USB key drive.
The Canon Pixma MX860's control panel sports clearly labeled buttons and a 2.5in colour LCD. We'd have liked clearer cues for navigating menus on the LCD; it's not always clear whether you should push the up/down arrows or the Settings button to make a change. Canon does a good job in the documentation - but not in the interface itself - of explaining what to do.
Canon tells you upfront that the Canon Pixma MX860's top text-printing is just 8.4 pages per minute, and that's exactly what we got in our tests. Graphics pages meandered out at a rate of 2.2ppm (Canon claimed 5.6ppm for graphics).
The results were pleasing: Text looked very black and crisp. Though graphics and photos printed on plain paper tended to look pale and pinkish or orangey, on Canon's own paper they looked great.
The Canon Pixma MX860 ships with a full set of five separate ink cartridges. The costs per page are a little better than average.
The Canon Pixma MX860 supplies a wide array of features for an affordable price. But it's not fast.