It’s a tough world for inkjet printers at the moment. There are so many multi-function devices that do everything – printing, faxing, scanning, fobbing off the in-laws – that single-function printers are a dying breed. Even Canon has some multifunction machines (that now work on Macs at last), that are squeezing out its own printers. But Canon’s
latest Pixma range offers simple, inexpensive photo printing. We took a look at the £69 Pixma iP2000.
This is the cheaper end of the range, so it’s relatively low on frills. The case is black and grey, and seems pretty sturdy. Often at this end of the price bracket, printers look cheap and flimsy. There are two paper trays – one at the bottom and one on the top. This means you can have photo-paper in one and plain in the other, which is a great convenience. I don’t understand why more printers don’t have the paper stored under the printer. I find that paper stored at the back can get dusty if you don’t use it often.
It’s a good thing that there are two paper trays, as there’s no paper-sensing technology – so the printer can’t tell if you’re printing on glossy of plain paper unless you tell it.
While this is a four-colour, two-cartridge system, the print quality is pretty good. Usually the difference between photo printers and everyday models is the number of inks used. Photo printers usually have six or more colours, but Canon claims that photo-lab quality is possible with the iP2000. While I agree that the print quality is lab-quality, I would say that many of the best colour inkjets are surpassing this. Our photographic tests showed slight banding and a very fine grain visible on the prints, though you may need to grab a magnifying glass to see it. There are printers capable of better photo quality, but this one is definitely good enough, and possibly as good as you can get at this price.
Printing business graphics, newsletters and plain text showed the iP2000 to be very capable and pretty quick. There’s no fast text or rough setting, but I managed to print ten text pages in 90 seconds from my slow computer. This is reasonable, though inkjet manufacturers generally claim faster times. Actually, the speed of the printer is so dependent on the computer it’s printing from that there’s no reliable way to give a print speed. This means that quoted figures from all manufacturers are best-case scenarios, most likely using turbo-charged computers.
If you already have a scanner, or don’t think you would ever need that function, a single-function printer might be the way to go. While the iP2000 is short on frills, it’s capable and looks to be a good workhorse. If printing photographs is something you are likely to be doing a lot of, I would consider something a little further up the range. But if you just want to print everyday stuff with occasional photos, this is a good option.