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I purchased this printer several months ago, and have been extremely pleased with its performance ever since. I looked at the various offerings from HP, Epson and Lexmark as well, and decided upon the Canon i850 as the perfect choice. I was looking for an all-round printer, that could cope with a small-business workload (I have plenty of college work to do, and my mum is an Avon Team Leader) without costing the earth in consumables. I also wanted to print photos, so printing quality was a serious consideration, and not just the cost to run the machine.
Overview ************** As far as all-rounders go, this printer is amazing. It is designed primarily as a medium-high volume/small business printer. I feel that, compared to its rivals from the Epson and HP camps, it is the best all-rounder by far. After much researching, I stumbled across an excellent printer round-up at www.tomshardware.com : http://www6.tomshardware.com/consumer/20021223/index.html As you will see, they calculated the printing costs per page for this printer and all its rivals, as well as comparing print quality and speed. The Canon i850 beats all its competitors from Epson and HP hands down.
Appearance **************** The footprint of this printer is about the same size as its rivals, and the styling is exemplary. With a sleek, silver-topped modern appearance - and yet this printer still manages to look sturdy and business like. This unit sports a minimalist look that is smart but not flashy, and would look attractive on any desk - be it at work or in the home. A door opens at the front to reveal the retractable paper tray for your printed items - this keeps the tray nicely hidden when the printer is not in use. The unit uses an external power supply, and connects via USB or parallel port connections. However, I recommend for ease-of-use and speed to use the USB connection wherever possible.
Speed and Noise ************************* The i850 sports an extremely high print speed (perhaps not the quoted 22ppm, but it is very fast) - and yet still manages to remain surprisingly quiet. Tomshareware.com found that the printer prints photos at double the speed of the Epson equivalent. In fact, the Canon i850 is faster at printing everything than its rivals. It is the only inkjet I have ever used that can even come close to laser speeds in the black and white printing department. The quality for text is readily acceptible in draft mode, and most inkjet users will be pleasantly surprised at the sheer speed here if they have to print out alot of copies quickly and cheaply! As far as audible noise goes when the printer is operational, I found this printer to be very quiet in comparison to my old HP Deskjet 693C, and a couple of Epson printers that I have used. It is perfectly possible to use this printer at night or in an office environment without causing 'noise pollution' :) I have used printers that produce inferior results in twice the time and still make much more noise! There is also a driver option to make the printer even quieter (if you are exceptionally fussy), although this decreases print speed slightly.
Quality ************* Canon make a fuss about a 'droplet size' of '2 picolitres (2pl)'. This basically means that the droplets of ink are exceptionally small - in fact half the size of most inkjet printers in this price range. This allows for excellent colour transition and razor-sharp detail across the board :) Print quality is outstanding. Given that there is no real quantative method for assesing print quality, and I cannot include scanned examples in this review, I would suggest you check out tomshardware.com - you will find quality comparisons with Epson and HP there. Text and business graphics are crisp with vivid colours and deep blacks. Photo output is equally impressive, with no banding, high definition and great colour reproduction. This printer offers excellent quality all-round, on all different kinds of media. I have printed photos in both black and white and colour, business graphics, and text - on plain paper, matt/gloss photo paper, and T-shirt transfers - and I have never had a single problem with the quality of the printed output that this little unit gives.
Driver ************* The Canon driver is excellent, offering the usual plethora of modes for different qualities and paper etc. Not only do you have the option for borderless printing, but there are several enhancement options too. 'Image Optimiser' improves low-resolution images, like adding the Bilinear Filtering and Anti-Aliasing found in games (smooths out blocky images and jagged lines). 'Photo Optimiser' and adjusts the brightness/contrast of your photos, and 'Vivid Photo' enhances colors, to give outstanding lush greens in foliage for instance. In addition, the Canon printing engine is fast and efficient, meaning that there is no unneccesary twiddling of thumbs between when you click 'print' and when the printer kicks in. The USB interface is used to good effect here, and I have never had a single problem with communication between my PC and this printer. I cannot vouch for the Parallel connection though, as I do not use it. I would advice anyone to connect their printer via USB if possible, as this provides the easiest connectivity and best speeds.
Cost ******* The most important factor for me (with high printing volumes of work and photos etc) was the cost of consumables. This is where the i850 leaps ahead of the competition. Canon use four seperate ink cartridges for the different colours and black. This means that, say if the red ran out, you only have to replace that cartridge - whereas in the competition you would have to replace the whole colour cartridge which is much more expensive. The printer itself has since been surpassed by newer models, but it is still a great unit and can no doubt be found at a great price online. I have seen it at about £110 new on ebay! Many people these days are tempted to pick up a cheap printer from Lexmark/HP/Epson, or even Canon themselves - but you will most definitely get 'shafted' when it comes to the cost of consumables. These units literally burn ink, and a full set of replacement cartridges can often cost as much as you paid for the printer itself. I recommend, however, investing a little more in a Canon printer such as this. You will be left with a printer that performs infinitely better in both quality and speed, looks the part, and pays for itself within a year or so when it comes to consumables.
Conclusion *************** Overall this printer is very fast, with great print quality in all applications and is very economical to run. Excellent drivers give a wealth of options for seasoned users but remain simple and intuitive to use for all. The only potential downside is that Canon's inks are sensitive to light and gases in the air. This means that they can fade fairly quickly if exposed - so any hung photos should be behind glass, in which case they are guaranteed for 25 years :) Other than that, there is absolutely nothing that I have found to discourage buying this printer, or one of its newer siblings in the Canon range.
ADDITIONAL INFO: This is the official info from the Canon UK site... http://www.canon.co.uk/For_Home/Product_Finder/Pr inters/Bubble_Jet/i850/
Up to 4800 x1200 dpi resolution, advanced MicroFine Droplet Technology™ Canon Micro-Nozzles and 2pl droplets give professional photo quality Business performance – up to 22ppm mono & 14ppm colour Canon Single Ink technology.
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Keep meaning to get round to buying a printer, Julia
Deru 02.02.2004 01:45
I'm actually looking for a printer that has separate colour inks. I was looking round at some Epsons since they have this feature, and ink level indicators. Hate my current HP one.
Dave_UK 05.12.2003 16:52
There is no need to try and be smart - I am fully aware how to write, and I did use paragraphs. However, for some unknown reason, the comment appeared as one big block when I sent it.
If you insist on posting a comment in future, please make it something contructive.