Canon PIXMA GM2050 Inkjet Monochrome Printer review: Less is more

A stripped down solution for reliable black and white printing

IT Pro RecommendedA photograph of the Canon PIXMA GM2050 Inkjet Monochrome Printer
Price
£208 exc VAT
  • Incredible value for high yield jobs
  • Super simple to set up
  • Wi-Fi and Ethernet ready
  • Adding colour is possible but complicated
  • Paper tray could be bigger
  • Too limited to be a “main” office printer

Technology is usually about all the whistles and bells, but sometimes, it pays to find something that does one job brilliantly. Canon’s latest PIXMA printer is aimed at high-yield, monochrome printing, with simple maintenance and Wi-Fi connectivity, making it a perfect workhorse for a small or medium office. 

Even within the usual excellent realms of Canon’s venerable PIXMA range, there’s a lot to love about the diminutive GM2050. It’s a workhorse of a printer, designed for basic printing at a low price per page (pp), yet measures a modest 403x369x166mm, making it suitable even for the cosiest of offices. In fact, it’s small enough to sit comfortably on a desk.

Canon claims that the three supplied bottles of ink can produce 18,000 pages, which is impressive. On the other hand, the paper cassette holds 250 sheets, with the option for a further 100 sheets via the rear input, so if you’re serious about using it for a huge print job, you’ll need someone popping back to refill paper and ink. 

Bizarrely, Canon’s description of this device as a “monochrome” printer is belied by the fact that it comes with instructions on installing a colour cartridge. In reality, we wouldn’t recommend buying the GM2050 on the strength of this, however, as it involves draining the tank of ink before and afterward, like you’ve accidentally put diesel in a petrol car. It’s definitely a feature of last resort, and although it’s nice to know it’s an option if you’re in a pinch, we’ve focused on the monochrome functionality for this review.

Canon PIXMA GM2050 Inkjet Monochrome Printer review: Setup

Setting up the GM2050 was incredibly simple. We used an Android phone, but the process for Wi-Fi connection is the same across all clients - press the ‘connection’ button on the front panel and set the Canon Print software to start searching. Alternatively, the gigabit Ethernet port lets you add a wired connection. Our network was found almost immediately, and from there, the app takes you through loading paper and ink. We were up and running within 10 minutes of unboxing. It’s worth noting that the supplied software isn’t available for MacOS, but once you’ve set it up, you’ll be able to add it to your Apple machine through the macOS printer menu. Additionally, if you prefer, you can connect it directly via the USB port and use the printer share function of your operating system.

A photograph of the Canon PIXMA GM2050 Inkjet Monochrome Printer

Canon PIXMA GM2050 Inkjet Monochrome Printer review: Performance

As this isn’t a multi-function printer, the most important question to ask is how well it can actually print. We undertook a 200 page print job for a local charity to put it through its paces and found it produced consistently crisp, properly aligned documents without smudges or artefacts. Although our test prints were largely text-based, where there were pictures or diagrams, the grayscale printing was clear and smudge-free, with ample contrast to make images clear and legible. We had no paper misfeeds, and alas, that’s not always the given it should be, so it’s reassuring to know that for a job of this size, it’s safe to go off and do something else, without the risk of coming back to a paper jam - subject to our earlier mention of the limitations of the cassette and ink reservoir, of course. 

Refilling the ink with one of the three supplied bottles is simplicity itself. When the ink runs low, simply empty a bottle into the nozzle under the printer hood. Further bottles of ink, with a 6,000 page yield, cost around £10.60 (exc VAT), so the 0.2p price per page remains consistent after the bundled supply dries up. Incidentally, there’s a ink window on the front side of the printer, so you can see how your supplies are lasting at a glance. Auto-duplexing also means that you can set the GM2050 to print on both sides of each page as it goes, saving paper, money and the environment.

Canon PIXMA GM2050 Inkjet Monochrome Printer review: Features

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The on-device controls, such as they are, all have a dedicated button - power control, connectivity on/off, wireless direct (for wireless printing without a router), Wi-Fi/LAN toggle, Network Information Print, and Pause/Resume, so there’s no squinting at menus on tiny LCD screens and no flimsy rocker switches to navigate them. In fact, we found that operation is so straightforward that we didn’t need to press a single button during our time with the GM2050, apart from during set-up. 

One feature that we were particularly impressed with is the decision to include support for Canon’s mobile apps, allowing print jobs to be sent straight from your phone or tablet. Whilst more common in domestic printers, the mobile and Wi-Fi support make the GM2050 particularly appealing for small businesses, home offices and community groups - and indeed anyone who uses freelancers, temps or volunteers, as there’s less red tape on getting new users set up. The app can also be linked to cloud storage services including Google Workspace and Dropbox. 

A photograph of the Canon PIXMA GM2050 Inkjet Monochrome Printer control panel

Beyond that, this is not a printer of whistles and bells in terms of additional functionality, Indeed, many of the features included in Canon’s software don’t apply to this model - but that’s kind of the point. It’s been designed to do one thing very well, and given the excellent job it does with large-batch monochrome print jobs, it’s very difficult to fault.

Canon PIXMA GM2050 Inkjet Monochrome Printer review: Verdict

The GM2050 lives up to all that Canon claims it to be, but may lack some of the flexibility required for the needs of a modern office. Having said that, if you’re currently using a colour printer for everything, it’s worth considering it as an additional printer to handle the bulk of your everyday jobs, saving more expensive colour ink and fancy paper for when it’s really needed. Equally, if your requirements are fairly basic and you don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with more expensive machines, its simplicity will be right up your street. The GM2050 may not be fancy, but it’s been built to do one job, and it does it effortlessly. 

Canon PIXMA GM2050 Inkjet Monochrome Printer specifications

Format

600 x 1200dpi A4 mono inkjet

Print speed

13ppm mono

Display

N/A

Networking

Ethernet, 802.11n wireless

Connectivity

USB Type B

Print type

Duplex

Tray size

250-sheet cassette, 100-sheet rear tray

Dimensions

403 x 369 x 166 mm

Weight

6kg

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