Being at both Port Everglades and Port of Miami a goodly portion of the past year, Lars decided it was time to go ahead and buy a printer to leave in the container so he’d have it while in Florida. He has to print various build plans and parts orders for the cruise ship gangways he is in charge of in the US. He did not want to spend an arm and a leg for something that just needed to print easy basic kinda thangs. He finally settled on the Canon PIXMA iP1600 Ink Jet Printer for a sweet Forty-nine bucks.
Now, this PIXMA is not a top-end printer, obviously. It is a cheap, affordable entry-level printer for folks who just have very low expectations. It does not do the dishes for you. I was used to having a very nice laser printer, so this was a step down for me. Still…
Size-wise, the PIXMA doesn’t take up a lot of space on these smallish hotel room desks at 9.8 by 17.1 by 6.5 inches. It’s a bit larger than I would personally like under these circumstances, but for a student it is about right. The cute little printers cost considerably more, so it was a compromise for us.
Luckily, we already had a USB cable, so we did not have to purchase one. One does not come in the box with the printer.
Installation is via a disc, which is included. Handy, that. It’s pretty idiot-proof. Pop it in, click, click. Done. You only need a rudimentary knowledge of computers to get it up and running. The fact that you have found this review pulls you to the head of the class in that respect.
There is no tray to catch your paper, so you have to position the unit in such a way to keep the project from falling on the floor. There is a problem with the paper feed too. Every so often we have to hit the little button to reboot it to get it to grab the paper. It also occasionally will grab more than one sheet. Irritating, that. But, again, for $49…
Oddly enough, text is not the best of this printer’s capabilities. It is good enough, but you will get better results if you use 12pt fonts. Printing a page of text is fairly fast at about 3 seconds each (19 ppm.)
As far as graphics go though, the Canon PIXMA is at about the same level as other printers in the under-$100 price range. In other words, it is fine for school projects and such, but don’t rest your million dollah presentation on it. These take almost 4 seconds each, or about 16 ppm.
Where this Canon shines is with color photo prints. I found that particularly amusing. Lars is a camera freak and is constantly taking pictures of everything. I swear if I see 50 more gangway photos I’ll scream… he also likes to print these out. Pictures of various alligator farms and monkeys at Monkey Jungle (yeah, we’re tourist trap junkies) have turned out astonishingly well. Black & whites do not fair so well, though, with banding, dithering, posterization and what have you occurring an unacceptable amount of the time. I have no idea why this would happen only with the B&Ws, but there it is. A 4×6 picture takes just over a minute to print at photo-quality.
The biggest problem with this cheap printer is that the ink cartridges cost $44.98 for the pair to replace. I can buy a whole nother printer for that price! I guess this tells us where Canon makes the real money, eh? At least black is in a separate cartridge from the colors though. After about a month of moderate use, we had to replace both.
Speaking of ink, this one is no better than any other ink jet printer. They want you to believe it is smudge proof, but all that really means is that it really doesn’t want to smudge, but it does smudge just the same. This sucks when you are handing out business cards. Pop for the 30 bucks to have those done at a real printer.
So. The Canon PIXMA is a bit noisy (though not overly so), and has a few drawbacks, but what the hell do ya want for under 50 bucks? I’ll go with 3 average stars overall and tell you that if you just want a basic printer for little cash out-lay, go ahead and grab one of these.