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A small windfall has enabled one of my 6 granddaughters to join the 21st century and get a computer but the funds wouldn’t run to a computer AND a printer, even a cheap one. Well they would have but it would have meant a 15” monitor instead of a 17” screen and no CD writer. So I decided that the way out of the dilemma was to giver her my Canon BJC 3000 and buy myself a new one.
Having had excellent service from the BJC 3000 for over 12 months I naturally leaned heavily in Canon’s direction primarily because Canon printers have separate ink tanks and after consulting all the usual sources I decided that the Canon S520 would be the machine for me. Unfortunately none were available locally and I wanted it today so that I could pass on my old printer. The salesman at PC World told me that the only difference between the Canon S520 and the S500 is the speed of printing and the price - £179.99 against £129.99. However I did find out that it was just a bit more than that. But it was no contest really as speed of printing isn’t high on my list of priorities in a printer. I’m happy to wait a few extra seconds for a page or two to print out especially as it saved me fifty quid.
The printer came securely packed in the usual Canon red box, with a manual and installation CD but no interface lead from printer to tower so it meant buying one at £12.99.
The printer footprint is only about 43 cms wide by 29 cms deep and stands some 18 cms tall, but it does require a larger space of 60 cms deep due to the paper feed and output trays. It has a mid grey plastic body that feels sturdy yet quite light (5kg) and the cover to gain access to the print heads and paper thickness lever is a nicely blended dark grey. This machine will take up to 100 A4 sheets of 80 g/m² paper (no less than 64 g/m²) in the paper feed tray and the paper thickness lever needs to be pushed to the left. Moving it to the right will allow the printer to use thicker paper up to 105 g/m², or if you like, something like photographic paper. For more precise details you need to access the S500 User Guide on the CD and it is well worth doing so.
The 24 page manual the size of an A5 booklet entitled S500 Quick Start Guide, is all a newcomer (or an old hand) to the printer world needs to set the machine in place, get it connected, install the four ink tanks and install the driver, with instructions for Windows and Mac users. The installation instructions are for Windows 98 but if you have ME it will sort things out for you with ease without you having to refer to the manual instructions. One word of warning, DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO TOUCH THE PRINT HEAD NOZZLES OR ELECTRICAL CONTACTS AND ALSO THE INK TANK INK PORT. The instructions are clear and precise but there are no printer statistics. I had to go to the canon web site at http://www.canon.com/ to get those although they are on the S500 User Guide on the CD. But the web site puts it much more eloquently and I read the following: “With the help of Canon’s high-speed head technology, bi-directional printing and an advanced sheet feeding mechanism, the new Bubble Jet S500 can reach class-leading print speeds of up to 12 ppm in mono and 8 ppm in colour, cutting through demanding workloads in no time at all.
The Bubble Jet S500 boasts a print resolution of 2400 x 1200 dpi, sophisticated High Colour inks and Canon’s unique Microfine Droplet Technology™ which allows micro-sized droplets of just 5 pl in size to be ejected continuously while printing. The result-outstanding photo quality printouts across all types of paper as standard, not just in selected high quality print modes.
Equipped with Canon’s Single Ink technology to cut down on waste, an advanced easy-to-use printer packed with features such as Photo Optimiser Pro and a networking option, the Bubble Jet S500 is the ideal printer for a hardworking and professional environment.”
A black ink tank (BCI-3eBK at £9.99 from PC World) is about twice as thick as the coloured ones and thus holds about twice as much ink; will print 695 pages of 1500 characters per page, normal text, at standard and plain paper mode or 1250 pages using the ISO JIS-SCID No. 5 pattern. A cyan ink tank (BCI-3eC at £8.99 from PC World) will print 460 pages using the above pattern. A magenta ink tank (BCI-3eM at £8.99 from PC World) will print 395 pages using the above pattern. A yellow ink tank (BCI-3eY at £8.99 from PC World) will print 300 pages using the above pattern.
These printer makers always state the best figures possible and in this case the reality is that in standard mode they claim that you get 10 ppm for mono and 3.8 ppm for colour. So I have just done my own test using the first page of this review. The A4 page has got one inch margins all round with 681 words that contain 2948 characters. It took 12 seconds to print at standard quality (5 ppm), 8 seconds in draft (7.5 ppm) and 60 seconds in high quality (1 ppm). In all honesty I couldn’t see any difference in the printed sheets. I’m not saying that the printer manufacturers lie, it’s just that they quote the best-case scenario as far as speed of printing is concerned. I would be very interested to view a page with ISO JIS-SCID No. 5 pattern on it.
The acoustic noise level is at 42db in the best quality mode. That means not so noisy.
Have just bought a S520 in the last three hours or so. Having trouble installing it hence the visit to Ciao for some tips! Hopefully I'll get there in the end, thanks, Julie
tange 14.02.2002 15:24
We have this printer and are pretty pleased with the qualtiy and speed. A good op...well written and informative.
jimbuck 14.02.2002 12:00
Call me an old cynic if you must but the way to make money is to produce a durable product at a cheap price that requires a consumable part at an expensive price with printers and cartridges as a classic example, especially those that do not use individual colour cartridges.