As the flagship model of Canon’s new MegaTank inkjet line, the Pixma G4200 Wireless ($399.99) comes with very low running costs as well as features that make it a good all-in-one printer for either home or home-office use, or for use in both roles. Although there are less-expensive inkjet all-in-ones with even more features, the G4200 offers an appealing mix of solid output and very low costs per page for both black and color printing.
Black with rounded corners, the G4200 is a four-function printer that can print, scan, copy, and fax. I measured it at 7.7 by 17.5 by 13 inches (HWD) and a weight of 15.6 pounds. Its single paper feeder holds up to 100 sheets of plain paper, which is fine for home use but sparse if you are going to use it for work purposes. The same feeder can also fit 20 sheets of 4-by-6 or 10 sheets of 5-by-7 photo paper in place of plain paper.
On top of the G4200 is a letter-size flatbed scanner, and above it an automatic document feeder (ADF) that holds up to 20 sheets of letter-size or 5 sheets of legal-size paper. To the left of the ADF is a 2-inch monochrome LCD, an alphanumeric keypad, and function buttons including Start (for both black-and-white and color scans), Stop, and Menu. The G4200 does not support automatic two-sided scanning, and for that matter lacks an auto-duplexer for two-sided printing, a feature that the Editors’ Choice Brother MFC-J985DW does include. The Canon Pixma G3200 Wireless MegaTank All-in-One, which costs $100 less than the G4200, lacks both an ADF and fax capabilities.
Ink Bottles and Tanks
Canon’s approach to keeping down ink costs in its MegaTank line is by using bottled ink you pour into refillable tanks built into the printer, the same concept that Epson uses in the Epson Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer, the Epson WorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer, and other models in its EcoTank line.
Adding ink is a straightforward (if potentially messy) procedure with the G4200. Four ink tanks are built into the printer, the black tank to the left of the output tray and three tanks for color inks (yellow, cyan, and magenta) to the right. Each tank is sealed with a rubber cap. To fill a tank, you remove the stopper, open the ink bottle for the tank in question, and insert the bottle’s nozzle into the hole on top of the tank. You then gently squeeze the bottle until it is empty (which can take a few minutes) and the tank is full. If you’re careful, you should be able to do this with little or no spill—it’s possible that a small amount of ink may end up on the top of a tank, as happened to me when testing another MegaTank model.
Mobile Printing Features
The G4200 can connect directly to a computer via USB, or to a network via Wi-Fi. It is AirPrint compatible and Mopria compliant for printing from iOS and Android devices, respectively, and can print from the Canon Print app as well. Like all the models in Canon’s G-series so far, it lacks Ethernet connectivity, a feature you’ll find on the Brother MFC-J985DW. The Epson Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer, priced the same as the G4200, also includes Ethernet, though it has neither ADF nor fax capabilities. I tested the G4200 over a USB connection with drivers installed on a PC running Windows 10 Professional.
In printing the text-only (Word) portion of our business applications suite, the G4200 averaged 7.1 pages per minute (ppm), a little short of its 8.8ppm rated speed for monochrome printing. In printing our full business suite, which includes PDF, PowerPoint, and Excel files in addition to the aforementioned Word document, we timed it at 3ppm, in line with Canon’s other MegaTank printers but a bit slow for an inkjet all-in-one. The Epson Expression Premium XP-640 was a tad faster in printing out the whole suite, averaging 3.2ppm. Because we tested the Brother MFC-J985DW using our old test protocol, we are unable to directly compare its speed with the G4200’s, but the Brother has a slightly higher rated speed (12ppm).
The G4200’s overall output quality, based on our testing, is above par for an inkjet, particularly with regards to its text and photos; its graphics are average. Text should be good enough for any business use except those requiring tiny fonts.
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With graphics, I saw a trace of banding (a regular pattern of faint striations) in several prints. Colors were generally well saturated, although several backgrounds looked somewhat pale. The G4200 did well with thin colored lines, and in differentiating between similar tones.
Photo quality was above par for an inkjet, with bright colors and generally good retention of detail. I did notice a slight tint on a monochrome print.
Running Costs and Conclusions
Like its MegaTank cousins, the G2200 and the G3200, the G4200 has ultra-low running costs of just 0.3 cent per black page and 0.8 cent per color page. (Each bottle only comes in a single size; Canon sells black ink, with a rated yield of 6,000 pages, for $17.99, and each of the three colors, with a yield of 7,000 pages, for $11.99 per bottle.) This is nearly identical to Epson EcoTank printers such as the ET-3600 and the ET-4550 (0.3 cent per black and 0.9 cent per color page). Although the Brother MFC-J985DW’s running costs of a penny per black page and 4.7 cents per color page are quite low compared with what you’ll see from typical inkjets, they are still much higher than the G4200’s.
The main draw of the Canon Pixma G4200 Wireless MegaTank All-in-One Printer is its minuscule running cost, which it achieves by using bottled ink rather than cartridges. Its per-page costs are nearly the same as with several Epson EcoTank models, including the ET-3600 and ET-4550, and considerably less than with even the Editors’ Choice Brother MFC-J985DW, with which ink is considerably less expensive than is typical for inkjets. Although you may save money over time with the G4200 and its output quality is slightly better, the MFC-J985DW has a much lower purchase price yet includes additional features. That said, the G4200 is a more-than-reasonable choice as an all-in-one printer for either home or home-office use, or both.