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Canon PIXMA MG3650 review

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Canon PIXMA MG3650 printer review

Looking at Canon’s desktop A4 all-in-one printer

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We recently needed a small office printer and picked up a Canon PIXMA MG3650 for a good price from a local office supplier.

It’s mainly for printing the odd invoice and letter, with a bit of scanning and copying thrown in.

Keith decided to give it a quick look over and see whether a simple 4 ink (CMYK) printer could also produce reasonable photos?

The 3650 printer

Given the sorts of printers I normally test here at Northlight I wasn’t expecting great things from this little printer, but it’s for Karen’s office and is only going to get light print duty – colour and B&W.

It’s connected wirelessly to our network, and works from all our Macs and Karen’s iPad.


Actually not bad at the price – I’ve seen a pair of the higher capacity XL carts advertised at more than we paid for the printer ;-)

Canon Says…

  • Compact All-In-One for printing, copying and scanning
  • Double sided document printing
  • Prints borderless, long lasting photos
  • Connect and print with your smartphone or tablet using the Canon PRINT Inkjet/ SELPHY app
  • Apple “AirPrint” and Google Cloud Print support
  • Print and scan using PIXMA Cloud Link
  • WLAN “PictBridge” to print pictures directly from compatible cameras

I’d note that I’m one of those rare people who doesn’t use a mobile phone very often, so only the first three are of real interest.

Setting up the printer

Pretty basic setup with the two cartridges, power lead, plenty of setup guides (in a vast array of languages) and a coffee mug coaster (aka Windows only install disk).

install parts

You’ll need to go round and remove a collection of orange tapes and a clip at the back.

These are for transport, and the printer doesn’t like working if you leave them in place.

A panel at the front lowers to show two grey plastic clips that hold the print carts in place.

These flip down for you to insert the cartridges.

carts to install

The clips are flipped back up when the carts are in place

carts loaded

The printer will initialise itself and should be in a state to connect to your WiFi network, or directly via a USB lead (not supplied) to a computer or other device.

The setup guides take you clearly through what’s needed.

I first set it up via my MacBook Pro – connected wirelessly to the Northlight Images network.

First up I need to download the install software – a web page lets me select which printer I’m using.

online install

The installer walks you through what’s needed. [See 3650 Canon install pages]

Of course, the printer needs to be on the same network, and able to connect to the computer you are using.

connecting attempt

All looks well, in that it’s found the printer and knows where I’m connecting from.

Well, it looked OK for a while, but then the communications failed – probably because our network is relatively locked down.

I’ve the option of a WPS pin code connection (not really, this is also disabled here…)

another connection attempt

So, out comes the good old USB cable, and all is well.

The software still needs access details for our network, but this is easily carried out.

local connection

After this, the software lets you install a range of Canon software, that may be of some use.

installing software

Fortunately, there is excellent web based support (you can install the user guide) which gives an overview of all the various options.

Phone and pad options…

phone stuff

More printing apps…

apps and printing

In this last screen shot, note the backwards ‘L’ set of buttons at the right.

This is Canon’s quick utility menu popup, lasting about 15 seconds on my screen before its presence overlapping some document icons annoyed me ;-)

canon software

There is a lot you can do here – not at all bad given the price of the printer.

The printer needs setting up to use – on my Mac this can also be done via the System prefs.

install printer

The printer is just found on the network and added.

You then have access to the printer utility, with the usual cleaning options

printer utility

Other settings can be changed, such as allowing auto wake up when accessed.

This saves having to go to the printer to switch it on before printing.

power settings

A quick check of ink levels after setup and printing a test page.

after setup

The printer has a web page where many other settings can be altered – note that it needs the printer serial number as an initial password, so write it down somewhere.

printer web page

One minor issue I noticed in using Google Chrome to access the page on Karen’s Mac – Chrome threw a wobbly about insecure certificates and decided to inform Google – I’m not changing settings on someone else’s computer, but do note the potential issue – the printer has certificate management available via the web page, but I’m just not going there… (it worked fine via Safari).

Loading paper

The paper loads simply in the front of the printer, but there is no tray, so take care that the paper is loaded correctly, since there is a small plastic slider that lines it up.

For printers like this use good quality uncurled fresh paper – paper jams are an annoyance to fix.

plain paper loaded

If you want to use double sided printing then take care with paper quality and loading.


The printer can be used as a photocopier via the buttons on top, but also offers scanning at up to 1200x2400ppi.

It’s nowhere near the specialist Epson V850 I looked at a while ago, but, once again, it’s rather good for the price.

Here are some of the scan options when using the IJ Scan Utility.

scan options

There are plenty more options to explore, including what applications are opened up when you scan in different modes.

scan settings

Here’s my business card (unfolded) – with the image automatically opened in Photoshop – the crop and straightening was fully automatic.

business card scan

‘Real’ scanning

I was pleased to see that the 3650 is supported directly with one the best bits of scan software out there: VueScan

VueScan works with almost every scanner I’ve come across, ranging from my ancient UMAX PowerLook III transparency/flatbed scanner (connected via a Firewire<->SCSI adapter) to the MG3650, as well as my Canon FS4000 negative scanner.

Vuescan supported scanners

vuescan options

Photo print and profiling

The printer is supposed to print photos – how good is it?

I decided to print an A4 profiling target, make an ICC profile and print one of my printer test images

To print the target, you need to print without colour management.

I’ve two ways of doing this, either the Adobe Color Print Utility (win and Mac)

acpu target printing

Or the Mac ColorSync utility (note the 100% scale setting and ‘print as color target’ mode.

colorsync utility

I’ve selected ‘Pro Lustre’ as the media since I know that the Pinnacle Lustre 300 I’m using is quite similar.

I load a single sheet – there’s no problem with the 300gsm weight of the paper.

profiling target

In under a minute I’ve a profiling target.


After leaving overnight I create an ICC printer profile with i1Profiler and the iSis patch reader

I don’t usually set much store in the little gamut volume displays, but comparing the 3650 profile (darker) with one for the same paper on the Canon PRO-1000 (lighter) confirms my suspicion that the 3650 is not going to produce dark colours very well. I can see this anyway, just looking at the target sheet.

profile compare

Who’d have thought it… 11 inks give a much bigger gamut than 4

Anyway, time for two test prints, one with the profile and one with printer colour management.

The two test prints, viewed under domestic halogen lighting.

The lower print is using the profile.

test prints

There’s a distinct improvement in grey neutrality, but nowhere near what I’d be happy to use, especially for black and white.

Trying out some 6×4 photo paper the printer produced some pleasing snaps, but of the sort of quality I’d expect from a 1hr photo process in a store.

A quick check of ink levels shows how few big colour prints I’m going to see from a standard size ink cart…

ink levels - enough colour printing

Conclusions and observations

It’s a simple to set up and use basic printer – the scanner works well and paper fed through it perfectly well.

It doesn’t have a document feeder, but then again I’ve never needed one.

Double sided print appeals to Karen’s thriftiness, as does the auto power down and wake-up.

What’s not so good is an estimated £0.06 (6 pence) per page for B&W and £0.078 for colour if you use the standard size cartridges.

Moving to the larger XL carts brings estimated costs to £0.028 and £0.045 respectively.

From a colour printing POV the fact that a colour cart only lasts as long as the first colour runs out is not so good, but my profiling test confirms that three colours and black just isn’t anywhere near the quality you get with more colours.

If you intend to print photos at all often, look for a more expensive printer that has independent colour cartridges.

I didn’t really expect stellar performance for photo printing – but I was surprised just how competent the printer was in many other respects.


Functions: Wi-Fi, Print, Copy, Scan, Cloud Link


  • Print Resolution: Up to 48001 x 1200 dpi
  • Print Technology: 2 FINE Cartridges (Black and Colour)
    Inkjet system with 2pl (min.) ink droplet size ChromaLife100 inks
  • Mono Print Speed: Approx. 9.9 ipm1
    Colour Print Speed: Approx. 5.7 ipm1
    Photo Print Speed: Borderless 10x15cm : Approx. 44 seconds
  • Borderless Printing: Yes (A4, Letter, 20x25cm, 13x18cm, 10x15cm)
  • Two Sided Printing: Auto Duplex Print (A4, Letter)


Standard Ink Cartridges: PG-540 (Black) CL-541 (Colour)

Optional XL Ink Cartridges: PG-540XL (Black) CL-541XL (Colour)

Cartridge Yield (Plain paper): A4 colour documents printing1
Black: 180 pages
Black XL: 600 pages
Colour: 180 pages
Colour XL: 400 pages

Cartridge Yield (Photo print)

  • 10x15cm colour photo printing1 Black: 2465* photos
  • Black XL: 7560* photos
  • Colour: 69 photos
  • Colour XL: 150 photos
  • * Estimated supplemental yield


Paper Types

  • Plain Paper
  • High Resolution Paper (HR-101N)
  • Photo Paper Pro Platinum (PT-101)
  • Photo Paper Plus Glossy II (PP-201)
  • Photo Paper Pro Luster (LU-101)
  • Photo Paper Plus Semi-gloss (SG-201) Glossy Photo Paper “Everyday Use” (GP-501) Matte Photo Paper (MP-101)
  • T-Shirt Transfer
  • Envelope

Paper handling

  • Maximum Paper Input: Front tray: Max. 100 sheets (plain paper)
  • Paper Sizes: A4, A5, B5, 10x15cm, 13x18cm, 20x25cm, Envelopes (DL, COM10), Letter, Legal
  • Paper Weight: Plain paper: 64 – 105 g/m2
  • Canon photo paper: up to 300 g/m2


  • Scanner Type: CIS flatbed photo and document scanner
  • Scanner Resolution (Optical): 1200 x 2400 dpi1
  • A4 Scan Speed: Approx. approx. 14sec1
  • Scanning Depth (Input / Output): Colour: 48 bit / 24 bit Greyscale: 16 bit / 8 bit
  • Maximum Document Size: 216 x 297 mm


Copy Speed: sFCOT: Approx. 22sec1 sESAT: Approx. 2.7ipm1
Multiple Copy: 21 copies (max.)

Copy Functions

  • Document copying (plain paper), Borderless Copy
  • Copy Zoom
  • Fit to page


  • Display Type & Size: No display
  • Interface Type – PC / Mac
  • Hi-Speed USB (B Port)
  • Wi-Fi: IEEE802.11 b/g/n
  • Wi-Fi Security: WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WEP, Administration password
  • Wireless LAN Frequency Band: 2.4GHz

Interface Type – Other

  • PIXMA Cloud Link
  • Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app Canon Print Service Plugin (Android) Google Cloud Print
  • Access point mode
  • WLAN PictBridge
  • Apple AirPrint
  • Mopria (Android)

Supported Operating Systems

  • Mac OS X v10.7.5 to Mac OS X v10.10
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1 (including Windows 8.1 Update), Windows 8
  • Windows 7, Windows 7 SP1
  • Windows Vista SP2
  • Windows XP SP3 (32 bit only)
    Note: For Windows, .NET Framework 4 or .NET Framework 4.5 is required. For Windows XP, XPS Essentials Pack is required.
Supported Mobile Systems
  • iOS Android
Minimum System Requirements
  • Mac: Internet connection, 1.5GB disk space, Safari 5 Display: 1024 x 768 XGA
  • Windows: 3.1GB disk space, Internet Explorer 8
Software Included
  • MP Driver including Scanning Utility
  • My Image Garden with Full HD Movie Print1 Quick Menu
  • Easy-WebPrint EX (download)2


  • Weight: approx. 5.4 kg
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): approx. 449 x 304 x 152 mm
  • Acoustic Noise Levels: approx. 43.5dB(A)1
  • Operating Temperature: 5-35°C
  • Operating Humidity: 10-90%RH (no dew condensation)
  • Power Source: AC 100-240V, 50/60Hz
  • Power Consumption: Off: Approx. 0.1 W
  • Standby (Wireless LAN connection to PC): Approx. 1.4 W (scanning lamp off) Standby (all ports connected): Approx. 1.4 W (scanning lamp is off)
  • Time to enter Standby mode: 7 minutes
  • Copying: Approx. 16 W1
  • Print Resolution – 1 Ink droplets can be placed with a minimum pitch of 1/4800 inch
  • Mono Print Speed – 1 A4 document print speed on plain paper is measured based on average of ESAT in Office Category Test of ISO/IEC 24734 standard.
  • Colour Print Speed – 1 A4 document print speed on plain paper is measured based on average of ESAT in Office Category Test of ISO/IEC 24734 standard.
  • Cartridge Yield (Plain paper) – 1 Declared yield value in accordance with ISO/IEC 24711 standard. Values obtained by continuous printing.
  • Cartridge Yield (Photo print) – 1 Declared yield value in accordance with ISO/IEC 29102. Values obtained by continuous printing.
  • Scanner Resolution (Optical) – 1 Optical resolution is a measure of maximum hardware sampling resolution based on ISO 14473 standard. When scanning in high resolution, the maximum scan size is restricted.
  • A4 Scan Speed – 1 Colour document scan speed is measured with ISO/IEC 24735 Annex C Test Chart A. Scan speed indicates the time measured between pressing the scan button of the scanner driver and the on-screen status display turns off.
  • Copy Speed – 1 Colour document copy speed is measured based on average of sFCOT and sESAT in Performance Test of ISO/IEC 29183 standard.
  • Software Included – 1 Full HD Movie Print is available for MOV and MP4 movie files created by select Canon digital cameras and camcorders. Requires installation of software bundled with Canon video or digital camera, from which the movie was captured. MOV files require:
  • ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser (version 6.5 or later), MP4 files require: ImageBrowser EX (version 1.0 or later).
  • 2 Easy-WebPrint EX requires Internet Explorer 8 or later
  • Acoustic Noise Levels – 1 When printing ISO/JIS-SCID N2 pattern on 10x15cm Photo Paper Plus Glossy II using default settings. Power Consumption – 1 When copying ISO/JIS-SCID N2 (printed by inkjet printer) on A4 size plain paper using default settings.

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