Lightweight and compact. Two additional ink cartridges for higher-quality photos. Two paper input trays. SD card, Ethernet, and Bluetooth 4.0 support. Excellent print quality. Fast snapshot printing.
No automatic document feeder. Lacks NFC and Wi-Fi Direct. Slow document printing.
- Bottom Line
Though it lacks an automatic document feeder, the six-ink Canon Pixma TS9120 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One printer produces exceptional text, graphics, and photos.
The flagship model in Canon's Pixma TS-series consumer-grade photo all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printers, the Canon Pixma TS9120 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One ($199) replaces the Pixma TS9020 we reviewed earlier this year. Like its sibling, the Pixma TS8020, a top pick, the TS9120 is a six-ink machine designed to print primarily photographs, and that it does quite well. It prints and copies documents well, too, but sluggishly, compared with its business-oriented counterparts, and it lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF). However, its outstanding output quality, larger display, and Ethernet support for just $20 more than the Canon TS8020 makes it well-deserving of our Editors' Choice as a consumer-grade photo and occasional document printer for home and family use.
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Pick a Color
Part of a recent five-model debut of Canon's TS-series Pixmas, the TS9120 is available in three colors: red, gray, and gold. (Canon sent us the gray model.) As the highest-priced model in the series, it consequently has the most features. Its primary difference from the next model down is that it supports wired networking (Ethernet), and it has a 5-inch color touch-screen control panel, compared with the (soon-to-be-reviewed) Canon Pixma TS8120's 4.3-inch screen.
While the lower models down the chain have fewer features than the TS9120, the primary difference between it and the Canon Pixma TS6120 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One is that the lower-end model uses five inks, instead of six. The two additional inks are pigment black (which is the Canon TS6120's fifth ink) and photo blue (the TS9120's sixth ink). The first darkens text and makes black areas in photos and graphics a deeper black, and, according to Canon, the photo-blue ink increases definition (by helping to eliminate graininess) and increases the color range.
The TS9120 measures 5.6 by 14.7 by 12.8 inches (HWD), and it weighs 14.7 pounds, making it the same size and weight as the Canon TS9020, as well as the Canon TS8120. The four-ink HP Envy Photo 7855 All-in-One, with its 35-page ADF, is a few inches bigger in all directions and weighs a little over 3 pounds more than the TS9120, as does Canon's own Pixma TR8520 Home Office Wireless All-in-One (another top pick), which has a 20-sheet ADF. In any case, all are small enough to sit comfortably on all but the smallest desktops.
As for paper handling, the TS9120 comes with two input trays, one up front and one that extends out and up from the back of the chassis. Both drawers hold up to 100 sheets of plain paper or 20 sheets of premium photo paper in the rear tray. The HP 7855 holds up to 125 sheets of paper and 15 sheets of photo paper simultaneously.
The spacious and easy-to-use 5-inch touch-screen display, along with the power button and power status light, comprises the entire control panel. In addition, the TS9120 supports printing to pre-surfaced CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs via a small caddy that slides in just beneath the output tray, as does its predecessor and its TR8520 and TS8120 siblings, but not the HP 7855.
Easy Setup, Wide-Ranging Connectivity
Canon TS-series Pixmas are designed for home-based office and family use, and therefore should be foolproof to install. Like all the other Pixma models I've set up, this one was a snap. After you plug it in and turn it on, well-designed animated demonstrations show you how to load the six ink cartridges and the paper trays, and how to connect the AIO to your wired or wireless network. (It also supports a connection to a single PC via USB, but that method curtails your mobile and cloud connectivity options).
Whenever possible, for consistency, we test printers over Ethernet, but with the TS9120 you also get Wi-Fi and USB, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. Normally, I would commend the addition of Bluetooth, but this appears to be an alternative to (or inexpensive substitute for) the near-field communication (NFC) and Wi-Fi Direct peer-to-peer wireless protocols most other manufacturers use, which are much faster and wider ranging than Bluetooth. But then again, most mobile devices nowadays have Wi-Fi, which usually works as good or better than those other three connection methods.
You can also print from SD cards and wireless PictBridge with the TS9120, which is supported by some Canon digital cameras and digital video cams. In addition to Bluetooth and SD cards, mobile connectivity also includes: Canon Print app for accessing cloud sites and printing emails; Google Cloud Print; Mopria; Pixma Cloud Link; My Image Garden, a collection of image correction (redeye, for example) and special effects filters; and Creative Park Premium, a collection of document templates.
No Speed Demon
The ability to print (and copy) documents on consumer-grade photo printers like the TS9120 and most others is offered more as an afterthought—you can do it if you need to, but doing so frequently becomes an exercise in patience. That said, Canon rates the TS9120 at 15 monochrome pages per minute (ppm). It printed our 12-page simply formatted Microsoft Word text document at the rate of 13.2ppm, which is 0.3ppm faster than the Canon TS9020 and 0.5ppm faster than the HP Envy 7855. (Just about every other consumer-grade photo printer we've tested recently delivered similar scores.)
When I merged the results from the above monochrome text document test with those that I got when timing the TS9120 as it printed our color Acrobat, Excel, and PowerPoint documents containing photos and graphics, it scored 4.7ppm. Again, that's quite close to the times of its competitors. The HP 7855, for instance, printed our entire suite of test documents at an average of 4.6ppm.
Where these photo-centric models do perform well is when printing, well, photos. The TS9120 printed our highly detailed and colorful 4-by-6-inch snapshots at an average of 32 seconds each, compared with its predecessor's 33 seconds and the HP 7855's 40 seconds.
Output That's Worth The Wait
The TS9120 may be slow, but just about everything it prints and copies looks quite good, especially photos. But let's start with text. Characters down to about 6 points or so looked terrific, and even some of the decorative fonts we tested were well-shaped and better-looking than what we saw with most other inkjet machines. Our business graphics and PowerPoint handouts looked great, too, with accurate, bright colors, and hairlines (1 point or less) came out smooth and well-delineated. However, I did see noticeable banding in the solid-black background on one of our full-page Excel charts. I got the same results recently when reviewing Canon's five-ink Pixma TR8520, the flagship model in the company's new TR-series home office printers. In fact, despite the lack of a photo-blue ink, the TR8520 printed our test photos and other documents very similarly and at the same speeds as the TS9120.
While there are several competitors that print comparable photographs, Canon's six-ink photo printers churn out impeccably detailed, accurately colored, and vibrant photos. As far as I can tell (even with the introduction of the new photo-blue ink), the overall image quality itself hasn't really changed over the past several years, which is probably good, because the only way quality could go is down.
Superb For Photos
Like the Canon Pixma TS9020 and the long line of six-ink, consumer-grade photo printers before it, the Canon Pixma TS9120 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One is a highly capable photo printer and just a marginal office AIO, due primarily to its lack of an ADF, sluggish document printing, and somewhat high running costs (all six-ink printers cost more than their four-ink counterparts to use). If you need comparable photos and an ADF, check out the Canon Pixma TR8520, and for the lowest-cost photos, HP's Envy Photo 7855, with that company's Instant Ink subscription, is a good choice.
If the best possible photos from a relatively low-cost, consumer-grade printer is what you're after, however, the TS9120 is the way to go. It's our latest Editors' Choice for consumer-grade photo and light-duty home office AIO printer.
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