Blog » ForemostList Reviews » Canon Maxify GX7020 Review | PCMag

Canon Maxify GX7020 Review | PCMag

The $899.99 Canon Maxify GX7020 inkjet all-in-one printer delivers a lot of capability, but its major claim to fame is its small size. Its closest competitors, which includes more laser than inkjet AIOs, are faster, and the laser AIOs have lower price tags as well. The GX7020 stays in the running by being notably compact for its level of paper handling. Its refillable ink tanks give it a much lower cost per page than any of the competitive laser models, which can make it far less expensive in the long run—assuming you print enough to take advantage of the savings. The considerably faster and somewhat larger Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 ($849.99) remains our Editors’ Choice for a midrange color AIO, but if you need a printer with a 600-page capacity and don’t have much space, the GX7020 could be just the right fit.


Many Drops in the Bucket

A key strength for the GX7020—and its even smaller sibling, the Canon Maxify GX6020 ($799.99)—is that saving pennies per day can add up to big bucks over time. The HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw ($599), for example, costs much less up front. But the M479fdw’s printing costs are 2.2 cents for a black text page and 13.9 cents for a color page, compared with Canon’s estimate of a flat 2 cents per page for the GX6020 and the GX7020. Print 5 text pages with each, and the Canon models will save you a penny over the HP. Print 50,000, and they will save you $100. For color pages, a single page saves 11.9 cents. Print 3,000, and you save $357—more than making up for the difference in retail price.

The GX7020 also has no shortage of features. Its connection choices include Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct. If you link it to your network by Ethernet, Wi-Fi Direct is disabled, but you can still print from a phone or tablet that’s on the same network via Wi-Fi. Like all AIOs, it can scan to a PC and serve as a standalone copier and fax machine; it also faxes, which the GX6020 does not. There’s a USB Type-A port that lets you easily print from and scan to a USB memory key.

Paper handling is another strong point. The GX7020 has two 250-sheet letter-size drawers, and a rear tray that can hold 100 sheets of legal-size paper, letterhead, labels, and other occasional-use stock. The recommended monthly duty cycle is up to 3,300 pages, with a maximum of 45,000. Duplex (two-sided) printing is supported. The automatic document feeder (ADF) on the letter-size flatbed can hold 50 letter-size sheets or 10 legal-size sheets, and it can scan both sides of each page at once. Menu settings let you copy both simplex and duplex documents to your choice of simplex or duplex output. This is where the GX7020 significantly outranks the GX6020, which has only one paper drawer and does not have an auto-duplexing ADF.

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Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 Image
editors' choice

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Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5880 All-in-One Image

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5880 All-in-One

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw Image

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdw

If you install the printer on a network that’s connected to the internet, you can print from and scan to cloud folders using the printer’s LCD touch screen. I found the 2.7-inch screen a little cramped but usable. Canon’s Pixma/Maxify Cloud Link offers about a dozen links, including to Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, OneNote, Box, and Evernote. There are several ways to send scans as email, and scanning and sending to another internet-connected printer is also an option. There’s even a link for Google Classroom, which can be useful for both students and teachers. Canon says the printer has limited support for automation with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and also says it plans to expand the functionality over time.


It’s Hard to Spill The Ink

Setting up the GX7020 is mostly straightforward, despite a minor quirk in the software installation. At 28.6 pounds and just 12.4 by 16.2 by 15.8 inches (HWD), the printer is light enough for most people to move into place without help. That isn’t true for any of its direct competitors other than the GX6020, which is a few inches shorter (due to having only one paper drawer) and weighs a few pounds less. Epson’s ET-5850 and ET-5880—which we called “slender” and “relatively small” only a year ago—weigh 39.2 pounds and are a couple of inches larger in every dimension, and equivalent laser AIOs tend to be even bigger and heavier.

Two paper drawers, slightly ajar

Most of the physical setup is standard, the exception being the ink. The GX7020 gets its low cost per page by supplying ink in bottles instead of cartridges, and providing large tanks to pour it into. This is the same approach that the two Epson printers use, and the main reason why the three AIOs share a similar claimed cost per page.

The GX7020 ships with one full set of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink, plus two extra bottles of black. The black tank holds only one bottle’s worth of ink, but the presumption is that you’ll be printing many more pages with black text than with color. Replacement bottles are rated at 6,000 images (with one image on each side of a duplex page) for a bottle of black ink ($27.99), and a collective 14,000 images for each set of cyan, yellow, and magenta ($32.99 for each bottle). Canon says the bottles that ship with the printer will print fewer pages, as some ink is needed for the initial setup.

A copy in progress, with pages still in the ADF input tray, and printed output in the printer output tray.

When I hear “ink bottles,” I tend to reach for latex gloves and paper towels, but that’s really not needed with the GX7020. If you follow the instructions, the ink doesn’t start pouring until the bottle is properly positioned, and I didn’t spill so much as a drop even when I removed each emptied bottle from the top of its tank.

The rear of the printer showing the ports on the right, and the maintenance tray being inserted.

Installing the software requires downloading it from Canon’s website. The process is easy enough, but after downloading, the onscreen instructions said I should click on a link to go to a page with more applications. The link took me instead to a page for subscribing to an ink-buying plan, and it took a call to tech support to confirm I already had all the software I should have. Canon says this was due to a combination of a misleading instruction and a broken link, both of which it expects to fix quickly. I also found that the process of registering the printer for Canon’s Pixma/Maxify Cloud Link was less straightforward than it could be, but I managed to get through it without problems.


A Little Slow, but Fast Enough

Canon rates the GX7020 at 24 pages per minute (ppm) for simplex printing in black and 15.5ppm for color. That’s slower than any of its competitors (not counting the GX6020, which has the same engine and printing speed). The ET 5850 and ET 5880 are rated at 25ppm for both, and most comparable laser AIOs are faster still.

To test performance, I connected the printer to a network by Ethernet and ran the tests using our standard Windows 10 Pro printer testbed. For text output, I timed the GX7020 at 20ppm, using our 12-page Microsoft Word text document. On our full business applications suite, which includes several color graphs and other images, it managed only 6.9ppm. As a point of reference, the ET-5850 printed the Word file at 28.7ppm and the full suite at 18.3ppm.

See How We Test Printers

When I tested duplex printing, the GX7020 delivered the Word text document at 12.2 images per minute. For 4-by-6 photos, it averaged 48 seconds using Canon’s recommended Photo Printer Plus Semi Gloss paper.

The GX7020 can print on custom paper sizes up to 5 inches by 47 inches.

Output quality for text, graphics, and photos is all at the high end of the range for inkjet AIOs. Text on plain paper was crisp and highly readable even at 4 points, making it hard to distinguish from laser output except for a tendency to smudge slightly after I put a few drops of water on it. Full-page graphics tended to leave the paper feeling damp immediately after printing; once it was dry, the color inks did a better job than the black ink of resisting smudging from wet fingers. Both text and graphics are high enough quality for any business use.

Photos on the recommended paper were perfectly suitable for trifold brochures and the like. They also resisted smudging when handled with wet hands.


A Good Pick for a Tight Spot

If you have enough room for a bigger, heavier printer than the GX7020, be sure to consider HP’s M479fdw, which is faster and can be expanded with an optional paper tray to a capacity of 850 sheets. If you’re more concerned with running costs than paper capacity, the ET-5850 and ET-5880’s cost per page is just as low, and they’re much faster than the GX7020, though neither is as fast as the M479fdw.

That said, the Canon Maxify GX7020’s small size and light weight makes it particularly well suited for homes and small offices that are tight on space, need to print up to 120 pages or so per day, and count low running costs as a key requirement. A three-year, 80,000-page warranty adds to its value.

If you want an even smaller AIO and can make do with a lower paper capacity, somewhat lesser scanning capability, and no faxing, you should consider the Canon Maxify GX6020. If not, the Canon Maxify GX7020 may be in your Goldilocks zone, literally and figuratively the best fit.

Pros

  • Supports Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct connections

  • Fax support

  • Duplex printing and single-pass duplex scanning

  • 600-sheet paper capacity

  • Refillable ink tanks keep running costs low

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Cons

  • Noticeably slower than its competition

  • Ethernet network connections disable Wi-Fi Direct

  • Some hitches with software installation

The Bottom Line

The Canon Maxify GX7020 inkjet AIO is slower than its closest competitors, but its paper handling and speed are still sufficient for a small office, and it’s compact enough for personal use.

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