The Canon Pixma TS5120 is a basic all-in-one built for home use. At $70, this inkjet printer is among the least expensive models in the category. Although the feature set emphasizes simplicity, you do get a duplexer for making two-sided prints (a feature usually available only on pricier models).
The TS5120 has a small body and comes in black or white. It is small, at 16.8 inches wide by 12.5 inches deep and 5.8 inches tall, and could fit on a desk. Without paper loaded, it weighs a little over 14 pounds, light enough that you can move it around easily. The small, 2.5-inch LCD is a display only, not a touch screen. There are, however, physical buttons that ease stand-alone operation. This printer foregoes an automatic document feeder on top and has no SD Card slot or USB direct print port for printing from a memory card or thumb drive, respectively.
There's no automatic document feeder on top. On the bottom of the chassis is the paper cassette, with an output tray just above it. The output tray is short and has a narrow tongue that folds out on a hinge to support printouts. Both the input and output tray feel flimsy. I found the partial cover for the input cassette finicky to put back in place.
The paper cassette handles only plain paper and can hold 100 sheets. On the back of the unit is a second, vertical paper tray. After lifting up the paper support, you can load up to 100 plain paper sheets or twenty 4-by-6-inch sheets.
The TS5120 printed our five-page text document in 36.1 seconds, or 8.3 pages per minute. That's roughy average speed. For example, our Editor's Pick, the Epson XP-640, was a few seconds faster, at 33.1 seconds.
The TS5120 also printed our mixed text and color-graphics document with average speed. At 2 minutes, 33 seconds (or 2.4 ppm), this printer was much slower than the quickest model we've tested (the Epson XP-640), which took just 1 minute, 11 seconds.
The TS5120 makes two-sided text prints relatively slowly, at 2.2 ppm, compared to the average of 3.1 ppm. At 4 minutes, 29 seconds, it took more than a minute longer than the average to print our 10-page text document.
However, the TS5120 is among the fastest models at printing two-sided color documents with mixed text and graphics. Printing our six-page document at 2.2 ppm, the TS5120 bested almost all other models. At 2 minutes, 47 seconds, the TS5120 was 40 seconds faster than the average of 3 minutes, 27 seconds.
The TS5120 was also faster than the average at printing our test image at high-resolution settings on letter-size photo paper. It took 4 minutes, 3 seconds to do so, or 55 seconds faster than the average. Several other models were significantly faster, however. The Canon Pixma TS6020, for example, printed the same image in just 1 minute, 54 seconds.
The TS5120 printed a 4-by-6 page in 1 minute, 2 seconds at default settings, and in 2 minutes, 3 seconds at Best Quality settings.
Copy and Scan Speed
The TS5120 turned in roughly average speeds in our copying tests. It copied a black-and-white page in 14.4 seconds, or roughly 1 second faster than the average. The Epson XP-640 made the same copy in 11.8 seconds, while the HP Envy 5540 was significantly slower, at 21.9 seconds.
Making a color copy in 29.3 seconds, the TS5120 was just below the average, but 10 seconds slower than the lighting-fast Canon Pixma TS6020. The Epson XP-640 made a color copy in 23 seconds.
Scanning in color at 600 dpi to JPEG format, the TS5120 was faster than the average, at 61 seconds. Our Editor's Pick, the Epson XP-640, performed this task in just 41.6 seconds. At the other end of the spectrum, the HP Envy 5540 took 1:31 to make the same scan.
Scanning in black and white to PDF at 300 dpi, the TS5120 was blisteringly fast. It took just 7.3 seconds to make a PDF, making the TS5120 the fastest model on this test to date. By comparison, the Epson XP-640 took 16.1 seconds. This was the only speed test in which the TS5120 bested our Editor's Pick.
Text printed fairly dark and sharp, though errant spray marred the edges of some letterforms. The text prints did not quite rival the sharpness of laser-printer results, but the quality was quite good. Duplex prints of text, however, looked lighter and grayish compared to single-sided prints.
The TS5120 printed very attractive color graphics on plain paper. Colors were well-saturated, looked natural and had plenty of fine detail. Midtone transitions looked smooth. Similar to two-sided prints of text, color graphics printed using the duplexer looked lighter overall; dark areas in particular printed in lighter hues. Details and smooth midtone transitions were maintained, however.
Photographs printed on glossy paper showed lots of fine detail, richly saturated colors and smooth textures. In our test portrait, skin tone looked natural, and in our print of a still life, the TS5120 reproduced realistic shades and plenty of fine detail.
Copy quality was very high on graphics, which had lots of detail and richly saturated color. Text copied from plain-paper originals was sufficiently dark and quite sharp, although copies of sleeker letterforms from a glossy magazine came out with slightly fuzzy edges.
Scan quality was good and on par with that of competing models. Scans of photographs had accurate, well-saturated colors and reproduced fine details well. Scans of graphics reproduced the tonal range well, though text looked rougher around the edges (but, again, on a par with competing models' results).
Ink Cost and Yield
The TS5120 keeps ink buying simple, using just two cartridges: a black and a tri-color. Using standard cartridges, estimated printing costs are above the average. The TS5120 uses 10.6 cents worth of ink for text pages. By comparison, the Epson XP-640 has a cost per page of just 5.8 cents. Black ink costs are still above average using the XL cartridge, but at 7.7 cents, the TS5120 is still more expensive than most other tested models. However, an XXL black-ink cartridge is available, with a cost per page of 6.7 cents.
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At 24.4 cents per color page, the TS5120 costs more than the average for tested models. Again, the Epson XP-640 is significantly lower, at 18.8 cents. Using high-yield cartridges, the TS5120's cost per page is 15.7 cents. While that's almost exactly the same as the HP Envy 5540's 15.6 cents, it's not nearly as low as the Epson XP-640's 10 cents.
Setup and Software
The TS5120 is easy to set up. After removing the packing tape from outside and inside the unit, you follow the on-screen prompts until the printer tells you to continue with the "Getting Started" printed guide.
Connecting to my PC, my phone and my Wi-Fi network was simple. For Wi-Fi, I used the WPS method, pressing the button on my wireless router. The printer, however, was somewhat slow to make the connection.
The all-in-one comes with a CD-ROM, but the printed guide directs you to install software from the web. Be forewarned that if you choose the full installation, it will include My Image Garden, which is a large download that you may not need. The display showed at first that it would take 7 minutes to download the software, then bumped that up to 9 minutes.
My Image Garden does a lot of things, including scanning. But if you already have a photo organizer and a photo editor, you may not need this program. I found it difficult to escape once it popped up on my Windows desktop, for example.
I found the TS5120's paper-registration feature a little confusing. When you pull out the paper cassette, you need to register the paper type. But when you go to your PC, the paper type does not change unless you have checked the box saying, "Let the app change my printing preferences."
You can put the TS5120 on your wireless network and use the Canon Print app with your smart device. AirPrint is supported for iOS devices. To set up the TS5120 with my Android phone, I simply followed the instructions on the printer's display (iOS devices are also supported). It showed a password that I typed on my phone's touch screen into the Canon Print app. I found myself repeatedly trying to tap the screen on the TS5120, forgetting it's only a display.
The TS5120 starts up quickly, doing so in just 6 seconds.
The Pixma TS5120 is a basic all-in-one offering the flexibility of a duplexer and two paper trays. For a fair price, you get respectable performance in a budget-priced model. However, the lack of touch-screen functionality makes stand-alone operation less than elegant.
In the end, the lower quality of two-sided prints is disappointing, and above-average ink costs are going to add up over the long haul. For roughly the same price, our Editor's Pick, the Epson XP-640, does almost everything faster and delivers lower ink costs — and that includes faster duplex printing, without a hit on print quality.