The Canon Pixma G3260 is one of their latest megatank all in one printers. For what it costs and does it represents a great value if you just want a basic no frills printer. Megatank printers are so cost effective they make tri color ink cartridges obsolete. Monthly ink programs (HP instant ink) may keep tri color cartridges around a bit longer but supertank printers address the same issues.
Running out of ink and changing cartridges frequently are major issues with inkjet printers. Not to mention the price per page. An ink program may cap the cost at 3 or 5 pennies per page yet supertank printers cost less than a penny per page.
Supertank printers only need filled after several thousand, not hundreds of pages. No frequently changing ink cartridges, or frequently buying them. They won’t stop in the middle of an important job either. There are windows to clearly see the ink levels at all times. Even with the low ink warning message they can generally still print hundreds of pages before running completely out.
Supertank printers, like the Canon Pixma G3260, don’t suffer from the same frustrations of other inkjet printers. Both the Epson EcoTank ET-2720 and the Brother MFC-J1215W are similar in price and specs to the G3260. While the Epson and Canon are evenly matched, the Brother isn’t exactly a supertank. It does have separate ink tanks but they aren’t built in. Each tanks is replaced as a unit and doesn’t have the yield (or savings) of the other supertanks.
Brother’s Inkvestment costs run about a penny per page in B&W and less than 5 cents per page in color. Much lower than any tri color cartridge system and lower than an ink program. Yet it isn’t the fraction of a penny per page supertanks cost. While HP’s Smart Tank Plus 651 is a true supertank, it isn’t comparable here. It costs over twice as much as the others and has a different feature set.
Setup isn’t any harder than the average inkjet printer. I unboxed it, pulled off some tape, then added ink. Once it came to ready I was ready to download Canon’s setup utility.
Canon’s setup utility is fairly plain but dependable. Some utilities like to walk you through every step and some do everything behind the scenes while you wait. Canon is more of the latter and only interacts if there’s an issue.
It has a small display which doesn’t make setup easier. But this is a no frills all in one. It’s meant for basic printing, scanning, or copying.
Adding ink from a bottle is not much different than adding an ink cartridge. There’s much more room to see what you’re doing. Line up some notches and plug in the bottle. No harder than plugging in a plug.
Ink simply drains into the tank on its own without any squeezing. The valve automatically shuts off when it’s full. Once it’s full of ink it primes itself. This takes some time but once it’s done it’s ready. And this won’t need done again until several thousand pages are printed.
In order to be thorough I tested the weight and dimensions. I used a standard ruler and scale. When I placed the printer on my scale it weighed 14.4 lbs.
My measurements revealed a width of 17.8 inches, a depth of 13.3 inches and a height of 6.7 inches. A very lightweight inkjet printer but only slightly wider than the average inkjet printer.
The Canon Pixma G3260 is capable of copy and scan but it has no document feeder. It also has no auto duplex. Meaning you have to manually reload the paper to print on both sides. Not a problem if you rarely print on both sides.
Document feeders can be a mixed blessing. Flimsy doc feeders installed on many all in one’s can’t handle anything besides documents in pristine condition. But none of the all in ones mentioned have document feeders so the point is moot.
If you do a lot of scanning, I highly recommend local print shops. The charge for scanning is much lower and some I’ve seen don’t charge at all for scans.
The Canon Pixma G3260 takes 100 sheets of paper in the rear. While the Epson also takes 100 sheets the Brother will accept 150 sheets of paper. Both the Canon and Epson printers are slow, though they aren’t made to be fast.
Supertanks are made to save time and money on ink cartridges. The Brother has a print speed several pages faster than the others but doesn’t represent the savings the others do.
The other two models in this series are the G1220 and G2260. The single function G1220 is a printer only. No copy or scan. The G2260 is the same as the G3260 minus WiFi. It has copy, print, and scan but only from a USB cable. These are Canon’s lowest priced line of megatank printers.
I tested the speed by printing pictures of cats and dogs. My test pages had less coverage than ISO/IEC 19798 and 24711 color test pages. But served their purpose.
My color test pages clocked in at 5.8 pages per minute. Not the fastest printer but the slow speed does equate to better print quality. The color print quality is better than the average 4 color inkjet printer.
My B&W test pages also had less coverage than the ISQ/IEC 19752 standard B&W test page. My emails and forms I printed clocked in at 11.3 pages per minute. Still on the slow side but what inkjet isn’t?
The control panel is very basic. But I rarely use the control panel. I mostly use the printer driver and scan utility. Which are great in my opinion.
The printer driver has more features than HP printer drivers. It’s easy to use but gives you the necessary settings to improve print jobs.
The scan utility is also simple and straightforward. The presets are useful but I prefer the custom settings to select the resolution or output file myself.
The Canon Pixma G3260 is part of their lowest cost line of megatank printers. The G1220 is lower but it is the same print engine stripped down. These printers are inexpensive to operate since they need refilled so infrequently. Which accomplishes the same goal as a monthly service. Keeping track of ink levels isn’t a hassle. Even with instant ink you still have to change cartridges regularly, whereas a supertank may only need a bottle once a year.
When it comes to inkjet printers I highly recommend a supertank printer over any cartridge based printer. The cartridge costs are too prohibitive. Individual cartridges for each color are still fine. It’s the inexpensive printers with one black and one tri color cartridge that will cost more in the long run. Unless you print like 100 pages a year, the money spent on cartridges will exceed the purchase price difference.
If I wanted a no frills, basic printer this is the one I would buy. A $100 basic inkjet will cost more after just a few cartridge replacements. Supertank printers take the worry out of printing. No need to hesitate whether or not to print because cartridges are so expensive. Ink dried out from no use? Instead of $25 for a new cartridge, several purge cycles cost less than a dollar’s worth of ink. Running out of ink in the middle of a print job isn’t a problem. Besides seeing the ink levels at all times, the low ink message doesn’t mean it will print 5 pages and stop.
The Canon Pixma G3260 has good quality and great savings even if it isn’t the fastest printer. Higher operating costs of printers like the Brother MFC-J1215W will quickly surpass the few dollars saved on the purchase price.
The Epson EcoTank ET-2720 is very closely matched in price, quality, and features. In my experience Canon has a stronger paper feed system. Though the Epson has a 2 year warranty and accepts sublimation ink while the Canon doesn’t if that helps with a decision. Either one is a smart buy but I lean more toward the Canon just because I’ve worked on them longer.
The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes over 26 years. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I have certificates from Canon, Xerox, Ricoh, Kyocera, Lexmark, HP, and Konica Minolta. My experience includes other brands as well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.