Canon’s Pixma TR8620 Wireless All-in-One Printer ($180) is an entry-level multifunction inkjet printer and scanner/copier designed primarily for family and home office use. It replaces the 2017 Editors’ Choice Pixma TR8520 and doesn’t differ much from its predecessor. However, the small-office, home-office (SOHO) printer market has changed drastically in those three years. Two 2019 PCMag favorites, HP’s OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Printer and Epson’s WorkForce ST-4000 EcoTank Color MFP Supertank Printer, surpass the TR8620 in several key areas, including print speed, volume and capacity, feature sets, and running costs. Even so, for low-volume print and copy scenarios, and especially for home offices that print a lot of photos, the TR8620 makes sense.
Small Footprint, Entry-Level Specs
At 17.3 by 7.5 by 13.8 inches (WHD) with its trays closed and weighing 17.5 pounds, the TR8620 is identical in size and girth to its predecessor. It also occupies about the same desk space as the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015, the Epson XP-7100, and the Brother MFC-J995DW INKvestment Tank All-in-One Printer. Epson’s bulk-ink WorkForce ST-4000 EcoTank Supertank Printer, which boasts similar volume and capacity, has a slightly larger footprint.
The TR8620 comes with a 20-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multipage documents to the scanner, so you don’t have to feed each page to the scanner by hand. However, the TR8620’s ADF is manual-duplexing. If you’re scanning a two-sided document, you’ll have to flip it and put it back in the ADF for the second side to be captured. Of the AIOs mentioned here, only the HP 9015 comes with an auto-duplexing ADF.
As ADFs go, a 20-page capacity is small; the Epson ST-4000 and HP 9015’s ADFs hold up to 35 pages.
Where the TR8620 doesn’t skimp is its impressive 4.3-inch color LCD touch screen control panel. Aside from the Power button and a couple of status LEDs, the entire control panel is contained within the display. You can use it to set up and run printing, scanning, copying, and faxing; monitor ink and paper levels; make configuration changes; generate usage reports; and more. These and other functions, including adjusting security configurations, are also available from the TR8620’s web interface, which is mobile-friendly.
Unlike many business-oriented AIOs, the TR8620 uses a Pigment Black ink in addition to the standard cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). Pigment Black makes text darker and the black areas in photos richer and deeper. It also increases the color gamut (range). Epson’s XP-7100 uses five inks, too. To get a sixth, you’ll need to spend just a little more for a photo printer such as the Editors’ Choice Canon Pixma TS9120, which adds a Photo Blue ink that increases the depth of blue sky and water in photos.
As for paper handling, the TR8620 holds up to 100 sheets in a cassette up front and 100 more in a tray that pulls up from the rear of the chassis. The rear tray can also hold up to 20 sheets of premium photo paper, and the printer autosenses the size and type of paper (glossy, matte, and so on) and switches trays automatically according to the print job at hand.
Canon no longer publishes monthly volume specs, but given the TR8620’s paper input capacity, print speed, and output tray size, I estimate that the maximum monthly volume is around 5,000 pages and the suggested monthly volume is under 1,000 pages. Printing more than that on this relatively slow and small Pixma is not a comfortable prospect.
Most similar printers have comparable capacity and volume ratings. The OfficeJet Pro 9015’s maximum volume rating is 25,000 prints per month, but its suggested volume of 1,500 pages isn’t as impressive.
A Connection for Every User
No matter what computer, camera, phone, or tablet you’re using, the TR8620 has at least one way to connect to it. Its interfaces include Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB for connecting a single computer, Wireless PictBridge for printing from PictBridge-compliant digital cameras, and Wireless Direct (Canon’s Wi-Fi Direct equivalent) for connecting directly to handheld mobile devices.
Other smartphone and tablet connectivity options include Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria, the Canon Print app (Android, iOS), Canon Print Service (Android only), and Canon Cloud Link for connecting to your favorite cloud services. If these aren’t enough, you can insert an SD card and print directly from there.
Like a well-trained pup, the TS8620 obeys voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can issue commands such as “Hey Google, print today’s calendar” without leaving your couch. As of October 2020, Canon no longer supports IFTTT scripts or applets to voice-activate your printer on other platforms, and HP nixed its IFTTT applet channel on its Envy and OfficeJet products back in March of this year. If you want to talk to your printer through Apple’s Siri or another platform, you’ll need an Epson Expression, WorkForce, or EcoTank model.
When compared to the applications that come with Canon’s Pixma TS consumer-grade photo printers, the Pixma TR series software bundle is a little sparse. For both Windows and macOS, you get the Pixma TR8620 driver, which includes print and scan interface utilities, and PosterArtist Lite, a pared-down version of the $335 poster design and print software that Canon ships with high-end plotters and photo printers such as the Editors’ Choice imagePrograf Pro-1000.
You also get the company’s Easy-PhotoPrint Editor, a simple but handy app for photo enhancing, correction, and special effects. In addition to fixing imperfections such as red eye, poor contrast, and skewed saturation, you can add text and frames. Easy-PhotoPrint Editor lets you arrange your photos in album page layouts or simple four-up, six-up, and eight-up arrays, or place them in calendar pages, greeting cards, and other attractive layout templates. The app looks and functions similarly across Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Ho-Hum Print Speeds
Like its 2017 predecessor, the TR8620 is rated at 15 pages per minute (ppm), which is about par for an entry-level AIO. Of the other models mentioned here, only the HP OfficeJet Pro 9015, at 22ppm, has a notably higher rating. I tested the TR8620 over Ethernet on our standard Intel Core i5 testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional. Printing a 12-page text document from Microsoft Word, I clocked it at an average speed of 13.8ppm. That score beat the TR8520 by 1ppm and outpaced the Brother MFC-J995DW by 3.3ppm, but it fell behind the Epson XP-7100 by 1.2ppm, the Epson ST-4000 by 3.3ppm, and the HP 9015 by a whopping 9.2ppm.
For the next phase of testing, I timed the TR8620 as it plodded through our collection of complex business PDFs, Microsoft Excel charts and graphs, and PowerPoint handouts resplendent with colorful graphics. I combined these scores with the results from printing the 12-page text document and came up with a sluggish 4.7ppm for printing our entire suite of test documents. This score puts the Pixma behind almost all the other machines in this group by about 3ppm. It ties the 2017 TR8520 and falls behind the OfficeJet Pro by more than 10ppm.
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I finished testing by printing our highly detailed and vibrant 4-by-6-inch test snapshots several times and then averaging the scores. The TR8620 produced the test snapshots at an average of 37 seconds each, which was the slowest of this group, but not by much.
Output Worth Waiting For
Canon’s TR series Pixmas are marketed as business-centric AIOs, as opposed to the TS series, the company’s consumer-grade photo brand. The fifth ink gives the TR8620 a leg up on other business-centric models, such as Epson’s WorkForce ST-4000 (and other WorkForce and WorkForce Pro models) or Brother’s MFC-J995DW (and its MFC-J series siblings), for printing photos. I printed our test suite of color photos and found that the five inks produced brighter, vibrant, and more accurate colors—with less graininess and greater detail—than I’ve seen on prints from most four-ink printers.
The Pigment Black ink enriches black areas, making them deeper and less susceptible to that faded, somewhat washed-out look you get from some competing four-ink business-oriented models. Increasing the number of colors widens the color gamut, which in turn increases the number of colors the printer can print; in this case, that translates to more and richer shades of black and gray.
As many inkjet models do, however, the TR8620 struggled with an exceptionally challenging PowerPoint handout containing a gradient from dark green to black. Instead of flowing evenly from one color to the next, the gradient stepped significantly, with distinct bands of color. This ink dispersing flaw was garish and unattractive, unusable for most applications. Out of the many complex color pages I printed, though, it was the only one that misprinted. And I’ve seen the same or worse results from several other printers, including some that cost two or three times more than this Pixma.
The TR8620 also prints crisp, well-shaped, and highly legible everyday serif and sans-serif fonts down to 6 points, as well as several decorative and display fonts. The embedded photos and business graphics in our test documents were sharp enough for both internal use and marketing material.
This AIO’s photos hold up well against its siblings and competitors. Six-ink machines such as the TS9120 and Epson’s XP-8600 have a slightly wider color range and can produce somewhat greater detail and a slightly higher range of colors, but I have no complaints about the TR8620’s output.
High-Volume Printing? The Price Isn’t Right
Though you could churn out several hundred or even a couple thousand pages on this Pixma each month, you should do so only if you don’t like money. When you buy Canon’s highest-yield ink tanks for this AIO, monochrome pages will cost you a brutal 7 cents per page, and color pages will run around 12.3 cents. A borderless 4-by-6-inch snapshot will, on the other hand, cost a more reasonable 25 cents.
These numbers don’t include the cost of the Pigment Black ink, primarily because I have no way of knowing when it deploys and how much ink is used when it does. I suspect that most prints, especially document pages, don’t use much. In any case, the TR8620’s color page cost isn’t too bad—for an entry-level machine—but 7 cents per monochrome page is steep.
Canon’s TR series printers use a long-established and costly model where you pay a relatively low price for the printer and compensate by buying expensive ink cartridges as needed for the life of the machine. That’s also true of Epson’s XP-7100, and its running costs are about 5 cents per black page and 13.7 cents for color.
Epson’s ST-4000 EcoTank printer, on the other hand, comes with a lot of ink in the box, and when you buy more, you get big bottles of it, with per-page costs of 0.3 cent monochrome and 0.9 cent color. If you print and copy a lot of pages each month, that difference of 6.7 cents for black prints and 10.2 cents for color adds up fast. For every 100 color pages you print, the EcoTank model will save you $12. The catch is that the ST-4000 costs over three times more than the TR8620. You’ll need to print upwards of 500 pages each month for the EcoTank model to start making sense. The more you print, the better value it becomes.
The Brother MFC-J995DW and the HP 9015 can also be significantly cheaper to use than the TR8620. The Brother, which lists for only about $50 more than the Pixma, is part of the INKvestment Tank line and will print your monochrome pages for just under 1 cent per page; color prints will run you just under 5 cents. If you sign up for HP’s Instant Ink subscription program—which tracks how many pages you print, charges by the page, and sends unlimited ink refills—you’ll get 700 pages for $24.99 per month. In other words, each page will cost you about 3.6 cents, no matter what you print on it. This is a great value, especially if your printing needs are ink-heavy.
Best for Your Home Office’s Modest Print and Copy Needs
Printers in family and home office settings sit idle much of the time, getting used only when something comes up. If you print over 400 pages each month, that 7-cent monochrome cost per page will dig into your pocket, but if all you’re printing is a bimonthly homework assignment or a few snapshots to send to grandma and grandpa, the TR series is right for you. Its 20-page ADF, two paper input sources, and ability to print fine-looking photos will suit many home offices, college dormitories, and other settings where occasional printing is the norm.