The Canon Pixma TS9520 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One Printer ($249.99) is a wide-format consumer-grade photo printer for family and home-based-office use. It’s the first in Canon’s TS series to have an automatic document feeder and the ability to print tabloid-size pages, and one of the first Pixmas with “smart” hands-free printing. Like Canon’s other five-ink all-in-one printers, the TS9520 produces excellent-looking text, photos, and graphics, but, like most consumer-grade photo printers in general, its high running costs relegate it to low-volume use. Despite, that, its rich feature set and excellent performance elevate it to our Editors’ Choice wide-format printer.
Unlike its smaller, letter-size (8.5 by 11 inches) TS series siblings that come with a few different colored chassis, the TS9520 comes only in black, and it’s 20-sheet ADF and support for wide-format pages make it a little taller and wider than previous TS-series models. At 7.6 by 18.5 by 14.5 inches (HWD), and weighing 21.3 pounds, the TS9520’s footprint requires a bit more space than the Canon Pixma TS9120, which it also outweighs by just more than 6 pounds. Epson’s ADF-less Expression Premium ET-7750, a bulk-ink AIO, is significantly bigger, and about 3 pounds heavier than the TS9520. Brother’s business-office-oriented MFC-J6935DW is a few inches bigger still, and it weighs a whopping 31.5 pounds more than the TS9520.
The TS9520’s paper input capacity is 200 sheets split between the 100-sheet main cassette that slides in under the 100-sheet output tray, and a 100-sheet tray that pulls up and out from the back of the chassis. You can load both trays with the same media, or you can deploy two different media types from separate sources. The TS9520 is capable of printing borderless pages up to letter-size and, while it expects that you’ll load photo paper in the rear tray, it also does a reasonably good job of sensing the correct media size.
The Pixma TS9120 and TS6120 also hold up to 200 sheets from two sources, while Epson’s ET-7750 comes with two 100-sheet trays and a 20-sheet snapshot-size paper tray inside the front paper drawer. Brother’s four-ink MFC-J6935DW ($793.00 at Amazon) tabloid-size small-office-friendly AIO holds 500 sheets split between three sources, and, in addition to printing wide-format pages, it can also scan, copy, and fax them. HP’s Tango X ($219.99 at HP) , on the other hand, holds a meager 50 sheets up to legal size (8.5 by 14 inches).
Canon no longer publishes duty cycle and/or recommended volume ratings for its consumer-grade printers.
Configuration and walkup tasks, such as making copies, scanning to a network drive or the cloud, and so on, are handled from the TS9520’s 4.3-inch touch screen control panel, shown below…
If you’re an avid scrapbooker, check out our review of the Pixma TS9521C, which is a crafter-friendly replica of TS9520. It offers support for 12-by-12-inch scrapbooking paper size, a wide selection of built-in printable patterns and templates, and a few other notable crafting features.
Myriad Connections and Mobile Maneuvers
Standard connectivity interfaces on the TS9520 include Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, Bluetooth LE (Low Energy), PictBridge over wired or wireless LAN, and an SD memory card slot. While you don’t see Wi-Fi Direct or Near-Field Communication (NFC) peer-to-peer networking options in this list, Bluetooth LE is a peer-to-peer protocol that lets any Bluetooth LE-capable device within a 15-to-20-foot radius connect to the printer. And nowadays, just about any mobile device that supports Wi-Fi Direct also supports standard Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n. The PictBridge protocol allows you to print directly from compatible digital photo and video cameras.
You can also print from mobile devices with the Canon Print app, which allows you to print from and scan to your smartphone, as well as various cloud sites, including Canon Image Gateway, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.
The TS9520 is also compatible with the Easy-PhotoPrint Editor app. As the name suggests, it allows you to edit your photos prior to printing them. It also provides access to a wider range of websites, as well as tools for cleaning up red-eye and other autocorrections, cropping and applying filters, and much more.
Yet another interesting mobile function is Message In Print, a feature Canon brought over from its Selphy photo printer. Similar to Lifeprint’s Hyperphoto and the HP Sprocket 2nd Edition’s augmented reality features, Canon’s Message In Print app allows you to embed hidden messages—text, animations, music, video links, and other creative augmentations—directly within the image.
Friends, family, or coworkers can (after downloading and installing the app) hold their mobile devices’ cameras over the photo to display your personalized messages or open the links contained within the images. As I said about this feature in my recent review of the TS9521C, this technology is not new to Canon’s latest devices, but its support for such a wide range of media types—from text messages to video links—is perhaps handier than the other augmented reality implementations I’ve seen.
In addition to the mobile software, printer driver, and scan utility, here’s an overview of the programs Canon includes with the TS9520:
Easy-PhotoPrint Editor: This software can be used for editing and printing the images stored on your computer or in the cloud. Like its mobile equivalent, it also enables you to edit and print various documents, such as calendars, collages, greeting cards, and more, from included templates.
My Printer: This Windows-only program allows you to tweak your settings, as well as diagnose and repair issues with your printer. You can also use it to upload screenshots and other data to Canon Support to get help solving a problem.
Network Tool: This utility enables you to display and modify network settings for a Canon printer, all-in-one, or scanner. It is installed when the Canon machine is set up and monitors the network for changes that might affect performance.
Quick Menu: This is a collection of quick-access icons, or shortcuts, to the various programs and utilities installed with your printer.
PosterArtist Lite: You can add this collection of poster and signage templates (in the Business, Education, Hospitals, Photo Collages, Restaurants, Retail, Signs & Notices, and Special events categories) to your images, graphics, and text to create professional-looking signs and other wall adornments.
Like the Tango X mentioned earlier and Canon’s recent TS9521C Crafters AIO, the TS9520 is a “smart” printer primarily because it interacts with either Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant Smart Home appliances, though other platforms that support IFTTT (If This Then That) scripting technology, are available.
IFTTT scripts facilitate seamless, automated workflow profiles, or printer apps, that fire when your printer receives a string of code from a voice-activated device. In short, IFTTT enables hands-free printing. When used in conjunction with the TS9520’s own printer apps and other automation features, when you say something like, “Google, ask Canon Printer (or whatever you name it) to print photos from Facebook,” the printer comes to life—without you’re having to get up from the couch.
Pixma Print Speeds and Output Quality
Like most other TS-series models, Canon rates the TS9520 at 15 monochrome pages per minute (ppm) and 10ppm for color. I tested it over Ethernet from our standard Intel Core i5-equipped testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional. The TS9520 printed our 12-page monochrome Microsoft Word text document at the average rate of 13.4ppm, or about a-page-and-a-half slower than its rating, but 0.8ppm faster than the TS9521C. Epson’s photo-centric wide-format ET-7750 ($1,489.00 at Amazon) managed 13.8ppm and Brother’s office-oriented MFC-J6935DW ($793.00 at Amazon) (also wide-format) printed the same text pages at 16.5ppm.
I should also point out that, while these are tabloid-size printers since most of the family and home-based-office printing (and most printing in general) are letter-size, I used 8.5-by-11-inch test documents. Tabloid-size pages contain twice as much printable area, so, with roughly the same percentage of coverage, they should take about twice as long to print.
See How We Test Printers
In the next part of my tests, I printed several colorful and complex Acrobat, Excel, and PowerPoint documents and then combined the results with those from printing the previous 12-page text document. Here, the TS9520 churned at the rate of 4.7ppm. That’s a negligible 0.3ppm faster than the TS9520, but 3.3ppm behind the Epson ET-7750 and more than two times slower than the MFC-J6935DW.
Finally, I clocked the TS9520 (and its TS9521C sibling) when printing our colorful and highly detailed 4-by-6-inch snapshots at an average of 23 seconds. That score beat all but the MFC-J6935DW’s 7 seconds, with the HP Tango X bringing up the rear at 59 seconds. Anything faster than 60 seconds on this part of our tests is respectable.
As for print quality, as I’ve said several times before, few machines print better than five- and six-ink Pixmas. The TS9520 churns out clear, well-shaped, and highly legible common serif and sans-serif fonts down to 6 points, and the several not-so-common decorative and theme fonts we test looked good, too. The business graphics, charts, graphs, and embedded photographs I printed were more than attractive enough for both internal and external business use.
It did, however, struggle with a particularly challenging PowerPoint handout with a dark-green-to-black gradient-background. Instead of flowing smoothly from one color to the next, the gradient banded and stepped noticeably from shade to shade. This ink dispersing flaw wasn’t necessarily garish or even unattractive, but it was obviously not the intended effect.
This brings us to the TS9520’s photo output. There are other Pixmas and competing consumer-grade photo machines from Epson that print exceptional photos. The TS9520’s photos hold up well against them all. As I said about the TS9521C recently, while the six-ink TS9120 ($839.34 at Amazon) and TS8120 do appear to, on close inspection, contain a slightly higher range of colors, I have no complaints about this AIO’s photo output.
No Bulk Ink Option
Without a discounted-ink incentive, consumer-grade photo printers like this one cost a lot to use. The HP Tango X’s Instant Ink incentive, on the other hand, offers ink as low as 3.5 cents per color or monochrome page; and the Epson ET-7750’s EcoTank system prints black pages for less than 1 cent and each color page for slightly more than 1 cent.
With the way Canon packages its ink cartridges and publishes its per-cartridge yields, I can’t calculate running costs with the same formula PCMag uses for other printers. Suffice it to say that the TS9520’s running costs are high enough that it will cost you a lot more to use than either of the printers mentioned in the previous paragraph. My educated guess is that monochrome pages cost about twice as much than on Instant Ink-compatible printers and more than 10 times on EcoTank models. The TS9520 is obviously not a high-volume printer.
Excellent for Low-Volume Offices
While the Canon Pixma TS9520 may not be the least expensive printer to operate, the cost of consumables won’t hit your wallet too hard over time if you don’t print thousands of pages a month. And its slew of excellent features far outweighs any concerns: In addition to being an excellent photo printer, it’s also a versatile office AIO, making it our new favorite family- and home-office consumer-grade photo printer. If you’re into scrapbooking and other types of arts and crafts, the TS9521C is a great choice as well.