Canon’s flagship A4 photo printer is an excellent value all-rounder
Very good print quality; fast; automatic duplexing; CD/DVD printing
No LCD, memory card slots or Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
Those looking to produce beautiful photos – as well as boring text documents – need to look no further than the Canon’s curvaceous PIXMA iP4600. Usurping the iP4500, the range-topping A4 inkjet printer produces fantastic, long-lasting prints quickly and easy. It’s also exceptional value (Best Current Price: £72.45). Thanks to an enhanced ChromaLife100+ enabled ink set, the iP4600’s system expands colour reproduction, especially in red areas, and produces a more neutral black to improve contrasts.
Additional benefits include simple-to-use Easy-PhotoPrint EX software, individual ink tanks (black, photo black, cyan, magenta and yellow; each costing £8), and speedy print speeds. The PIXMA iP4600 will, for instance, produce a 4×6-inch borderless photo in approximately 45 seconds, which is well above par. Regular A4 pages with text & graphics churn out at a rate of around 5ppm in normal mode.
Easy, efficient and economical are the guiding principles behind Canon’s latest photo printer. For instance, the Canon-developed software that comes with both the PIXMA iP4600 and iP3600 models gives you the tools to make a good photo even better. The Auto Photo Fix, which is incorporated into the Easy-PhotoPrint EX software, helps to reduce the steps necessary to print a high quality photo by detecting the type of photo being printed – portrait or scenery – and when activated will help correct red eye, enhance facial tones, optimise brightness and contrast and improve colour saturation to provide better looking photo output without manual photo editing.
The shiny, black PIXMA iP4600 boasts some of Canon’s most impressive printing technology. The Canon FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) printhead technology delivers a maximum colour resolution of 9600x2400dpi for its highest quality photo prints. High print speeds and high quality are achieved by using the FINE printhead technology to deliver consistent droplets, as small as one picolitre, accurately onto the paper. Also impressive is storage life for the Canon PIXMA iP4600’s prints: 300 years in an album, or 30 years under glass.
For parents and students printing text, print speeds of up to 26 pages per minute (ppm) for black, and up to 21ppm for colour, are sure to get the job done quickly. The printer features two paper trays that can hold a total of 300 pages and a built-in automatic duplexer for printing double-sided documents without having to manually turn the paper. The front paper catcher is the usual design, with a secondary arm that folds out for A4 documents. Sadly there is no LCD screen, memory card readers, or wireless printing; just power and paper feed buttons on the right-hand front.
The pigment black ink delivers crisp, sharp text. Managing your data storage is easy as you can personalise your DVDs and CDs for business, friends and family. Using the supplied CD-LabelPrint software you simply print direct onto the surface of the printable DVD or CD by adding your own text and images. There is no need for your PC to be involved in your print process, either. With PictBridge technology you have a quick and convenient way to print images from compatible digital cameras, camcorders or mobile phones.
When it came to the crunch – image quality – the PIXMA iP4600 didn’t disappoint. In our tests black text from the pigment-based tank was rich and crisp with little blurring, and almost as good as a laser printer. You obviously lose a little density and control with draft-quality text, but it remains perfectly legible and helps to save money. Colour documents were equally sharp and there was no bleeding at all. Photos were just as impressive for the price and you could easily use the PIXMA iP4600 as a dedicated photo printer. Ignore the unusual fact that Canon’s flagship A4 photo printer is available for under £100 – if you’re looking for a versatile all-rounder, the PIXMA iP4600 is as good as any. All you need to decide is whether you need a built-in scanner.