Thank you to Canon PIXMA for sponsoring this article. Print anything that matters to you from anywhere to anywhere, with Canon PIXMA and the PIXMA Cloud app.

The first printer I ever used was an old dot matrix in elementary school. I fancied myself quite the young novelist in 1994 when I wrote a “book” about time-traveling hippies. With no access yet to a computer at home, my only option was to print my story at school so I could share it. The dot matrix took forever (not to mention how you had to tear each sheet of paper apart), and the best thing about it (for a 12 year old) was that you could rip off the edges and make friendship bracelets out of them.

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Canon PIXMA MG7120 Wireless All-In-One Photo printer

So as you can imagine, inkjet printers really revolutionized the printing experience (even for young writers like me). Now it was possible to make greeting cards, calendars, stationery, and any other kind of printed novelty — in color! — on different kinds of paper! The actual printing was so much faster, and the document quality was better, as well. It got even better when we realized that we could print photos from our computers onto photo paper we could buy. We were so excited about it, in fact, that we overlooked the poor quality that most common ink jet printers produced.

And now, the Canon PIXMA MG7120 has upped the ante. After using it for just a few days, I realize I’d been settling for mediocrity all this time.

Setup was pretty simple: as a Mac user, there was nothing for me to install (though the printer does come with an installation disc for Windows users). I simply plugged the printer in and the 3.5 inch color display screen came on and guided me through each step of the setup, from installing the ink cartridges to the cleaning and alignment required. There was also an instruction guide included with the printer materials so that if the screen moved too quickly, you could follow a setup chart, as well. The wireless setup was also relatively straightforward and there were a few different options for setting that up. I just entered my wi-fi password. Easy enough.

Image credit: Canon PIXMA
Image credit: Canon PIXMA

The feature that sets this printer apart from its other ink jet companions is PIXMA Printing Solutions (PPS), which allows for printing from the cloud through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote, Photobucket and Flickr. You can use the cloud apps right on the printer screen if you like, and this is what I tried first. I signed into the Facebook app with a specific picture in mind that I wanted to print. It was on a friend’s page. It was a little tough to scroll through all of my Facebook friends (who weren’t in any particular order) to find the one I was looking for, but my guess is that most users won’t be accessing the cloud apps directly from the printer (more on that in a moment). When I located and printed the picture onto one of the sheets of 4×6 glossy photo paper that was included, I was amazed at the quality.

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Pictures that I printed with the Canon PIXMA.

As I mentioned before, the ability to simply print pictures onto photo paper from our basic inkjet printer gave us instant access to prints that we wanted right then and there. This was such a novelty that we could look beyond the fact that the quality wasn’t so great and the color was always just a little bit off. Even getting pictures printed in a digital lab could sometimes come back a little bit pixelated — especially pictures from Facebook.

The PIXMA quality was sharp and the colors were right on. I attribute much of this to the fact that there are 6 ink cartridges in this printer. Whereas your run-of-the-mill inkjets will have one black and one color cartridge, this printer includes the individual colors. While this will perhaps make it pricier when it comes to replacing the cartridges, especially as a set, it also means that you can replace them as they run out, and no color will be wasted in the process of replacing the others.

As I mentioned, the need to use the apps directly from the printer is all but nothing if you have a smartphone or tablet. This is a major plus since we’re becoming a more mobile society. From the App Store, I downloaded the free PIXMA Print app. There was a brief registration process that involved creating an account and printing the registration ID, and then I had access to all of the same apps that were on the printer. From that dashboard, I could easily search the other apps available to add.

When I was a kid, I loved Print Shop. I loved the idea of creating and customizing something, and then “publishing” it by printing it and giving it to someone. So naturally, I was very excited to see the “web template print” and Creative Park cloud apps, which allowed me to print stationery, calendars, and greeting cards, all from my phone.

I also tried printing outside of the PPS app just to see if it would be easy to print something else directly from my phone to my printer when nearby (over wi-fi). The short version: it was.

While the PIXMA’s sleek design will dig a little deeper into your pockets than your basic inkjet printer, if you’re a creative person who loves being able to print your documents, projects, and images from anywhere — and with high quality — the Canon PIXMA is well worth your investment. Once you try it, your old ink just won’t look the same again.

Disclosure: I received a free printer from Canon. All opinions are my own.

Want to win your very own Canon PIXMA?

Would a shiny, new Canon PIXMA printer make your job easier? You’re in luck! Along with Technorati and Canon, Business 2 Community will be giving away a Canon PIXMA printer to one lucky winner.

TO ENTER:

1. Leave a comment below telling us how you would use this printer.
2. Be sure to use a valid email address — winner will be notified by email! (Make sure you can receive email from business2community.com.)

Giveaway entries must be submitted by 8pm ET on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. Winner will be notified on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013.

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. A winner was selected and notified on Dec. 16. Thank you.

 

Thank you Canon PIXMA and Technorati for being sponsors of this article. All opinions expressed here are my own.