Canon Pixma TR4720 wireless all-in-one printer review
Canon has upgraded its Pixma TR4000 series of all-in-one printers, replacing the TR4520 reviewed here in January 2019 with the new Pixma TR4720 Wireless All-in-One Printer ($119.99). Like its predecessor and most Pixmas in its price range, this inkjet printer/copier/scanner/fax prints well, with particularly attractive photos, and its standard automatic document feeder (ADF) makes it a better value than many other entry-level and home office machines. The competition at this price point is fierce, and given the TR4720’s tight paper tray and high running cost per page, it’s clearly designed for relatively low-volume print and copy environments. But unless you push it far beyond, say, 100 or so prints a month, this Pixma should serve you and your family well.
Small and methodical
Meet the new Pixma; It’s very similar to the old Pixma. For example, both the new TR4720 and the old TR4520 measure 7.5 x 17.7 x 11.7 inches (HWD) and weigh 12.7 pounds. This is relatively compact and light compared to several competitors including the HP Envy 6455e, Brother MFC-J805DW and the Editors’ Choice Award-winning Epson Expression Premium XP-7100, although you can still find smaller and lighter inkjet printers like HP’s Tango can x
Choose black or white depending on what suits your decor.
As mentioned, many AIOs in this price range lack an automatic document feeder for copying or scanning multi-page documents without having to place sheets one at a time on the scanner glass. The Pixma TR4720, like the above printers except for the Tango X, comes with a 20-sheet ADF. (The Tango supports scanning via your smartphone or tablet.)
A 20-sheet ADF sends multi-page documents to the scanner.
Like several entry-level inkjet printers, the Pixma doesn’t split the four standard process colors of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, commonly known as CMYK, into four ink cartridges. Instead, it only has two, a large black ink tank and a tri-color cartridge that contains cyan, magenta, and yellow hues.
The hallmark of a cheap inkjet printer: two ink cartridges instead of four or more
Compared to printers with four or more ink cartridges, the two-tank method is potentially wasteful: as soon as one of its colors runs out, you’ll have to replace the tri-color cartridge even if the other two colors still have enough ink. Of the AIOs mentioned here so far, only the Brother MFC-J805DW (four cartridges) and the Epson XP-7100 (five) avoid this shortcoming.
The three plus one design is inherently wasteful compared to separate color cartridges.
Another weak point of the Pixma TR4720 is its 20th-century control panel, which consists of multiple buttons for navigating, configuring, and launching copy and scan jobs; a numeric keypad for entering fax numbers; and a two-line monochrome LCD instead of a color touchscreen.
The large and archaic control panel is functional but not as easy to use as more modern color touchscreens.
Of course, every photo printer benefits from a convenient touchscreen with the ability to view graphical representations of photos and documents, as well as easy-to-navigate menus with color icons and configurable presets. The TR4720’s control panel isn’t pretty or cool or fairly cool, but with practice it will be good enough for walk-up tasks, although you might find it more convenient to use Canon’s Print Inkjet/Selphy app on your Android or iOS -Smartphone or tablet. (More on the included software and connectivity options in a moment.)
Paper handling consists of a 100-sheet paper tray; You can remove the letter- or legal-size paper to insert up to 20 sheets of premium 4″ x 6″ or 5″ x 7″ photo paper. I can’t provide a recommended monthly duty cycle or print volume as Canon (like Epson) hasn’t published these specs for a while.
Of the above competitors, the Brother holds up to 150 sheets and has a recommended monthly duty cycle of 1,500 pages (maximum 5,000). The Envy 6455e holds 100 sheets with a recommended monthly duty cycle of 400 prints (max 1,000). The Epson XP-7100 and HP Tango X hold 120 and 50 pages, respectively.
Connectivity and productivity software
Standard connection options consist of connecting a single computer with a USB 2.0 cable; 802.11b/g/n WiFi; and Wireless Direct (Wi-Fi Direct compatible). Other mobile options alongside Wi-Fi Direct include the Canon Print Inkjet/Selfy app. You also get Canon’s Easy-PhotoPrint Editor to enhance and enhance photos, and Creative Park to create calendars, collages, photo albums and more.
You won’t find support for USB flash drives or SD card flash storage, although you can get the latter (as well as five ink tanks and Ethernet) by upgrading to the Pixma TR8520. You do, however, get voice-activated operation via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, allowing you to print, copy, and perform various other tasks (“Print Google, Today’s Calendar, and To-Do List”) without even getting out of the bathtub.
Slow print speeds, satisfactory quality
Canon rates the TR4720 at 8.8 monochrome pages per minute (ppm), with color pages at an even more tepid 4.4 ppm. This isn’t the slowest in its class, but it’s close. The 2019 Pixma TR4520’s rated speeds were the same, while the HP Envy 6455e rates up to 7ppm and the Epson XP-7100 a more impressive 15.8ppm black and 11ppm color.
I ran my tests via USB from our standard Intel Core i5 testbed running Windows 10 Pro. The Pixma printed our 12-page standard Microsoft Word test document at a speed of 9 pages per minute, slightly above its rating. Across multiple runs, the HP Envy averaged 6.9ppm versus the Brother MFC-J805DW’s 10.1ppm, with the Epson XP-7100 being the fastest at 13.3ppm.
Next, I clocked the TR4720 as it printed our collection of colorful and complex business documents, which consisted of full-page Adobe Acrobat PDFs that mixed graphics and text in different fonts and colors; Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and accompanying full-page charts and graphs; and PowerPoint handouts with colorful fonts and graphics. I combined these values with the results from our text document to get an average score of 4.9 ppm.
That beat the 2019 Pixma by 0.4ppm and was on the high side among the machines reviewed here. HP’s Tango X, for example, managed an uninspiring 1.8 ppm, while the Envy 6455e did only slightly better at 2.8 ppm. The Brother was around 4.8ppm while the Epson XP-7100 produced 6.3ppm.
Finally, I clocked the AIO as it printed some highly detailed and colorful 4″ x 6″ snapshots. At the highest quality setting, it took an average of 59 seconds to print each borderless snapshot. That’s a second slower than its predecessor, but six seconds faster than Canon’s rating.
It may take a while to get you there, but if you start out with good-looking, quality content, the Pixma TR4720’s output won’t disappoint. The text was just a little too dark, but well-formed and attractive, with well-spaced lines and characters – not exactly laser quality, but clean and legible.
The Canon did a good job with our full-page charts and graphs too. Dark fills and gradient fills were produced with little to no smearing or uneven ink distribution, and colors were both brilliant and accurate. Such were the photos from Pixma; Canon and HP both do a good job of creating good-looking photos with two-cartridge inkjet technology, although their results aren’t quite as colorful and detailed as images from five- and six-ink printers. However, unless you’re exceptionally picky, they’re more than attractive enough for most scenarios.
When printing a series of full-page, color-intensive documents, I noticed that the TR4720 ripped through ink tanks at an alarming rate, clearly indicating that this isn’t the best choice for producing stacks of colorful handouts.
Operating costs at low volume
The main disadvantage of inexpensive inkjet printers like these is that they use small, relatively expensive cartridges. Monochrome pages on the TR4720 will cost you around 8.5 cents each, color pages around 18.3 cents. (Remember, these are pages with 5% to 25% ink coverage, not letter-size photos or PowerPoints with 90% to 100% ink coverage.)
You can get your photos and other print jobs for a lot less depending on how much you are willing to pay for the printer. Among the models here, the two Canons and the Epson are cartridge-based machines with no cost-per-page cutting features, unlike Canon MegaTank and Epson EcoTank printers that use bulk ink that’s refilled from bottles. The XP-7100 is slightly cheaper to use than the TR4720 at 5 cents for black and white and 13.7 cents for color pages, but it’s still a low-volume, consumer-only AIO.
However, Brother’s MFC-J805DW is one of the company’s INKvestment Tank models, which means it has a lower running cost – a little less than a penny for mono pages and just under a nickel per color page, which is great for an entry-level printer. The HP Envy is eligible for this company’s Instant Ink subscription program, where you pay a flat rate (ranging from 10 to 3.6 cents per page) whether you’re printing a page of two-line text or a letter-size borderless photo. Note that the cheapest plans are for 300 and 700 pages per month, which is probably overkill for this tier of machines. One thing is for sure, the more you print, the more the Pixma TR4720 and other traditional cartridge inkjet printers cost compared to AIOs with ink tanks or discount incentives.
Slow but sure for simple printing needs
You can choose from a range of compact, entry-level inkjet AIOs, all of which print well and offer different features. The TR4720, for example, has the automatic document feeder that many all-around AIOs lack. Their running costs make these printers a lightweight printer, but if you only need to print or copy around 100 pages a month and want good-looking photos, this Pixma is a reliable choice.
Canon Pixma TR4720 Wireless All-in-One Printer
The final result
It doesn’t come cheap to run, but the entry-level Canon Pixma TR4720 prints exceptionally well, making it a good choice for family rooms and home offices.
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