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Canon Pixma TS9521C Review & Getting Started

Get reviews and learn about the Canon Pixma TS9521C


The Canon Pixma TS9521C was announced in late 2018. It is a 12" wide, five color, dye ink photo printer. Designed for bold color reproduction on quality inkjet paper, the TS9521C is a photo printer that should be considered by greeting card enthusiasts, scrapbookers, artists, designers, photographers, and business users.

Just the Facts

BIG NEWS - Borderless 5x7 folded greeting cards and 12x12 scrapbook pages

12" wide photo quality inkjet printer

Print 4" x 6" up to 12" x 26" banners

Five Dye Based Inks - Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Black, Pigment Black

All-in-one model with scanner and auto document feed.

Estimated Retail Price $199

The Big News - Borderless Greeting Cards

For years customers have asked "what printer can make a borderless greeting card?". Until now the answer was none. Well, good things come to those that wait and the TS9521C is the first desktop inkjet printer that comes ready to print the 7" x 10" - folds to 5" x 7" greeting card! The 5x7 greeting card is the standard size you will find in any card shop.

Red River Paper is the source for inkjet greeting cards, envelopes, display bags, and much more. What makes us truly unique is the free expert advice and resources provided to help you set up and print your photo, art, and design cards with ease. Learn more about the TS9521C's borderless capabilities in the printer driver tours below.

Opening the Box

The Canon TS9521C shipping box includes:

  • PIXMA TS9521C Crafter's All-In-One Printer
  • Multi-Purpose Tray
  • Setup CD
  • Set of Standard Ink Tanks
  • Power Cord

Inks

The printer comes with starter ink cartridges. A small amount of ink will be used in the printer setup, but you will still have plenty to make prints and become familiar with the machine. When installed, you will see a light on the front of the ink tank glow steady red. The same light blinks slowly when you're low on ink and quickly once the tank has been depleted.

Canon TS9521C Ink Tanks Included

  • Black CLI-281
  • Cyan CLI-281
  • Magenta CLI-281
  • Yellow CLI-281
  • Pigment Black PGI-280


CLI-281 inks are available in standard, XL, and XXL sizes. Ink volume in each is listed below. Looking at the cost per mL, the standard size tanks offer the best value. The downside is more cartridge changes relative to the XXL tanks.

CLI-281 Ink Cost - standard $10.99, XL $19.99, and XXL $26.99
PGI-280 Ink Cost - standard $15.99, XL $24.99, and XXL $34.99 (Used for text printing)

InkVolume in millilitersCost per mL
Standard CLI-2815.6 mL$1.96
XL CLI-2818.3 mL$2.41
XXL CLI-28111.7 mL$2.31
Standard PGI-28011.2 mL$1.43
XL PGI-28018.5 mL$1.35
XXL PGI-28025.7 mL$1.36

Anatomy of a Canon Ink Tank

A - Bottom of ink tank and ink outlet.

B - Ink reservoir

C - The onboard chip stores and reports ink level. It does not really know how much ink is physically in the tank. Rather, it starts at 100%, then records nozzle firing data sent from the printer and subtracts volume. The system is very accurate, and you will indeed have a dry tank when it comes time to do a replacement.

Getting Ready to Print

Once all of the inks were installed, the printer charged up and was ready to begin printing in less than five minutes.

The assembled printer is 18.5" (W) x 14.5" (D) x 7.6" (H), and weighs 21.3 pounds.

You'll want at least 7" of clearance from the back of the printer to the wall for proper operation.

When fully extended, the front paper tray extends 11" from the front of the printer.

Connectivity

The TS9521C can connect to your computer via:

  • Hi-Speed USB
  • Ethernet
  • PictBridge (LAN/Wireless LAN)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n wireless networking, 2.4 GHz)
  • Memory Card Slot
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE

 

Front Control Panel

The front control panel is a brightly lit 4.3" LCD Touch Screen. The menu is easy to understand and the most important features are only two or three clicks

from the home screen. Some notable features from the control panel:

  • Wi-fi and mobile setup
  • Print templates including scrapbook patterns and graph paper
  • Access device settings and printer settings

Top Tips

We recommend you disable the "Detect paper setting mismatch" during setup. The print driver and the printer's control panel can control the media setting among others. If the settings in your driver conflict with the panel, the print will fail. In practice, if you are printing from a computer the driver should be the final word on all settings. So, disabling this setting will prevent unnecessary conflicts and wasted time.

Access - Gear icon on the panel home page > Feed Settings

Using thicker stock? Enable the Prevent Paper Abrasion feature. It is the thick paper setting for the TS9521C. Use when your

paper is 12mil or thicker.

Access - Gear icon on the panel home page > Device Settings > Print Settings menu

Front Control Panel

The front control panel is a brightly lit 4.3" LCD Touch Screen. The menu is easy to understand and most important features are only two or three clicks from the home screen. Some notable features from the control panel:

  • Wi-fi and mobile setup
  • Print templates including scrapbook patterns and graph paper
  • Access device settings and printer settings

Ways to Feed Paper

The TS9521C has two paper paths. The top tray can hold around 30 sheets of photo weight paper (thickness 9-11 mil). Photo papers like satin and glossy are expertly handled by the printer with no misfeeds. If you are using heavy stock(11+ mil thick), load 10 or fewer sheets at a time. Cotton fine art papers and canvas (13+ mil thick) should be fed one sheet at a time. The front tray is only for lightweight papers - 32lb. (120gsm) or lighter. The printer also has the ability to print on CDs.


Top paper tray

Front tray for plain paper

Print Quality

Like most current model inkjet printers, the TS9521C prints photo quality in near continuous tone. When you're printing a high-quality image, dots of ink that make up the photo are not visible at normal viewing distance or even at fairly close inspection. Solid blocks of color are uniform and smooth. For most, prints from the TS9521C will rival traditional photo lab quality.

Quality Settings & Print Differences

We printed the test files using 68lb. UltraPro Satin. Prints were allowed to dry eight hours, and then evaluated under balanced 4700k Solux lights.

Print quality was evaluated using the standard and high settings. There was little noticeable difference between them at standard viewing distance*. Upon close inspection, the highest quality setting made smoother tonal transitions and cleaner edges. The most obvious difference was how solid colors were rendered. Using the highest quality setting yielded better solid color rendition with the least amount of grain and banding.

In conclusion, printing at standard or better quality for photographic printing seems to make little difference except for print speed. However, for graphics and art reproduction, where solid colors are common, we recommend using the highest available print quality setting.

* Viewing distance is a reasonable distance between the print and viewer. It depends on the size of the print - smaller prints can be held closer while a large print might be viewed from several feet away. Inspecting a print from inches away can be instructive, but it is often reveals little.

 

Print Speed

Satin 8x10Time
High Quality (Level 2)1 minute 30 seconds
Satin 4x6Time
High Quality (Level 2)42 seconds
Glossy 7x10 Greeting Card - Folds to 5x7Time
High Quality (Level 2)55 seconds
Matte 12x12Time
High Quality (Level 2)1 minute 46 seconds

 

Printer Driver Tour - Windows

 

Click for a detailed look at the printer driver in the Windows operating system

Printer Driver Tour - Mac

Click for a detailed look at the printer driver in the Mac operating system

Software & More Features

Canon Easy-PhotoPrint

This is a basic application for quick, template driven printing such as photo layouts, collages, calendars, and business cards. It is not a high-power program though you should take time to understand what it can do. For unique creations or those you want to make from scratch, you will need another program such as Photoshop Elements. Avoid the greeting card templates altogether as they are fraught with size and setting restrictions.

Canon PRINT App

From the Canon website - Print your social media memories straight from your mobile or tablet device using the Canon PRINT App. Simply connect to Facebook™ or Instagram™ to print and memorialize your favorite social media snapshots.

Wireless Connectivity

From the Canon website - Want to connect your phone and printer with a simple click of a button? Download the Canon PRINT App and press the printer's Wireless Connect button to instantly set up wireless printing. Once complete, print or scan from your favorite devices by connecting to AirPrint®, Mopria® Print Service, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi® and Google Cloud Print.

Hands-Free Printing

From the Canon website - Print hands-free using the PIXMA TS9521C and your Amazon Alexa™ device. Simply use the phrase "Alexa, ask Canon Printer to" — along with a word prompt — to ask Alexa to print coloring pages, check ink levels, review notifications and more.

Performance with Different Paper Types

Red River Paper's product line includes over 30 papers that can work with the Canon TS9521C.

Photobase Glossy, Satin, Luster, Metallic

Typical of five color inkjet printers, the TS9521C performs best with RC photo papers. These are the glossy, satin, luster, and metallic products that look and feel like a photo lab print. Papers like 68lb.UltraPro Gloss, 68lb. UltraPro Satin, and the stunning Polar Gloss Metallic 255 are sure to please when paired with this printer.

Matte Papers

Matte papers are typically smooth and have no reflection. They are popular for art, graphic design, and often for scrapbook projects. The finish is ideal when you want avoid glare and preserve details. All of our matte papers, from 26lb. ColorJet to 88lb. Polar Matte, performed well.

Digital Scrapbook Papers

The TS9521C is ideal for digital and hybrid scrapbookers. With 12x12 borderless, paper patterns templates, easy mobile printing, and scanning, it has every feature needed for crafty projects. The printer is well suited to work with all of Red River Paper's 12x12 digital scrapbook paper.

Greeting Card Stock

We printed dozens of cards on our TS9521C. We used every size including the 7x10 for borderless tests. Papers from 60lb. Pecos River Gloss to unique the 60lb. Paper Canvas fed consistently and looked great. We can't stress enough how fun it is to print borderless note cards!

Conclusions

Canon continues to produce small format photo printers that are affordable and reliable. The TS9521C is a great platform for home printers, crafters, greeting card enthusiasts, and artists just getting their start in printing. 

Positives

  • Photo quality from the TS9521C is excellent and is essentially continuous tone. Dots become visible only on magnified inspection of a print.
  • Color gamut is good for a five color printer.
  • Print speeds make it a great choice for greeting card and higher volume print jobs.
  • Robust paper handling from the rear paper tray.
  • Compatible with a wide variety of inkjet paper.
  • Better fade resistance from ChromaLife 100+ inks. 

At Last a Borderless Inkjet Greeting Card Printer! 

The TS9521C is now one of our top picks for greeting card printing. Like most Canon printers, the TS will feed card stock consistently through the top paper tray. Combine that with quick printing, print quality, and robust build and you have a professional quality desktop card printing system. 

Issues

The lack of Canon built drivers for OSX puts Apple users at a disadvantage. We're not sure what drove the decision to use AirPrint, though we suspect the push toward printing from mobile applications has a lot to do with it. A quick "print and go" setup is perhaps popular with a market Canon is pursuing. You can learn all about the AirPrint situation here.

Finally, if the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint software had proper templates for greeting cards, it would be a stunning success. Lack of a basic "photo on the front, text on the back" template is disappointing and we think easily corrected.

FAQ

Is it hard to print borderless?

No. As long as the image you are printing is the size of the paper and you choose the borderless option, it will print without borders.

How do I set up and print greeting cards?

We recommend select programs for card setup based on creative control and support options. Red River Paper offers free setup help and templates for the best programs on our website.

Can I use scrapbook papers bought from a scrapbook retailer or website?

Yes but...pre-printed or blank scrapbook paper is not coated for photo quality printing. They will work for text and light graphics but photos and artwork will look washed out.

Can I use the artistic papers I find at an art supply store and get excellent quality?

No. These papers are not coated for inkjet use. As such, inks will soak into the paper resulting in weak colors and unsharp lines. They technically work in your printer, but do not expect photo quality results.

Are all papers that say "Inkjet Paper" coated for photo and art quality reproduction?

No! There are dozens of brands that are labeled "inkjet compatible" that are not coated or have a very low quality coating applied. If you want the best results, look for the words "photo paper", which should indicate high quality coating and base stock.

Have Questions? Want to Know More?

Please Contact us via the support center with your questions about the TS9521C, or anything inkjet related. We're happy to share our knowledge from 50+ combined years in inkjet printing with you!