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Canon Pixima IP4300
Easy to set up, good quality picture and text output .
Could have better written manual
Ease of use
Value For Money
Range of extra features / functionsExcellent
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Around the beginning of April, I switched on my old and trusted Epson 880 and went to print out a page, nothing happened. Nothing that is, except all the lights across the front of the machine flashing on and off. A quick reference to the handbook took me to the page that read, “If all lights are flashing, there is an internal fault. Please contact a qualified Epson engineer”. Well it was getting on for 10 years old and had served me well, so I decided it was time for a new printer.
I was fully intending to get another Epson, but the sales assistant in PC World advised me that a the Canon IP4300 was a far better buy, and would be far cheaper to run than any of the Epsons. After he showed me some of the photographic results, I was sold and I got to admit, I am very pleased with my purchase.
On getting the printer home, I found it extremely easy to install, I just plugged in the USB cable (not supplied) that was connected to my Epson, Windows XP came up with “New Hardware Detected” I put in the accompanying CD and loaded both the printer driver and some software called, “Easy Print Toolbox” that takes you through various printing tasks…
Print digital photos Print Photo or Text on a CDR. Create Your Own Album Easy webpage printing without having to worry about complicated settings.
In this program there is everything you want to know about the printing capabilities of this little printer.
Within 10 minutes all was up and running and I did my first print from a webpage that was text and graphics. I must admit, it printed very quickly and was of excellent quality with the colours matching that of the webpage perfectly. As it was printing a little box popped up on my screen showing me the ink levels of all five cartridges or ink tanks as they are more commonly known.
The Ink Tanks:
There are the usual yellow, blue and red but two black tanks. One of these is an extra large one holding 22ml of ink. This is because most print jobs are expected to be of black and white text. The other black cartridge and the colour one is of 13ml. I noticed in PC world that the large black cartridge was only a few pence more than the smaller ones for the Epson, so it looked like it was going to be cheaper in the long run anyway.
I have since checked out some prices on line...
From Inkmaster.co.uk Genuine Canon cartridges are £9.90 each for the 13ml ones and £10.90 for the large black 22ml one. On Internet-ink.co.uk you can get compatible cartridges (not Canon) for £22.99 for the complete set of five. I used to use compatible cartridges in my Epson and must admit that I could detect no difference to the originals. However, some users may disagree with me, so you would need to make up your own mind about that.
The paper is very easy to load and there are two places where it can be loaded. The first is in the conventional place where the paper slots into the back of the machine, and then there’s a slide-out compartment at the bottom of the front of the machine where you can load paper into a cartridge that has guides for difference paper sizes – the usual A4, A5 and custom for photo paper. I think the idea is that you can load photo paper in one place and plain in the other. There’s a switch on the front of the machine that selects where the machine will take its feed of paper from.
Also at the front of the machine above the paper catching tray, there is a draw to slot in, using a supplied cartridge, printable CDs or DVDs I have not tried printing with this as yet, but have loaded one into it and it is simplicity itself.
On the front of this printer is another USB slot and this is for something called Pict Bridge – that simply means you can connect a digital camera or camera phone etc. to it and print from it without your PC having to be turned on. This worked really well and is straightforward to operate.
The only complaint I would have with this printer is that the instruction manual, although quite thick, is limited in instructions as most of the instructions are included in the aforementioned Easy Print Toolbox. The thickness of the manual is due to the fact that it is written in several languages. However, having used printers before, I found everything really easy to operate with little referral to instructions.
Having used the Canon for about a month now, one thing I have noticed that did happen a lot with the Epson, is that if it not used for a few days, none of the ink tanks dry out and I have never needed to use the cleaning facility to get them primed again. This was a process that used to use a considerable amount of ink on my Epson, whether I was using genuine ink tank or compatible ones.
The Canon cost me a little over £70 in PC world, but if I hadn’t needed a printer in a hurry, I could have found one from around £60 or less on line. Amazon is currently selling this model for £63.27
Capabilities of this printer are…
Borderless photo printing up to 10X15cms. Up to 9600 X 2400 dpi print resolution Easy direct photo printing Single ink tanks where each colour can be changed separately as it runs low, therefore saving money Canon claims that its “Chromalife 100 system” produces photographs that will last up to 100 years. (I think that is if you use genuine Canon inks). Compatible with Windows or Mac operating system. (I am running Windows XP) USB2.0 high speed interface, but will be backwards compatible with USB1.0
In summary: I am extremely happy with this printer and I am quite pleased that I went for this and not another Epson.