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Canon PIXMA iP1800 review

Verdict:

Review Date: 17 May 2007

Price when reviewed: inc VAT

Reviewed By: Simon Handby

Our Rating 4 stars out of 5

ExpertReviews Award

Canon's PIXMA iP1800 is one of the most affordable inkjet printers you can buy.

As you might expect, it's basic, but it gets all the essentials right. Although it's one of the cheapest models in the PIXMA range, it can print regular plain-paper jobs or borderless photos on up to A4 paper.

The iP1800 doesn't look like a budget printer. It's made from jet-black plastics with matt and gloss finishes, with just a PIXMA badge for detailing. Though at first it seems that Canon has concealed the output tray, unfortunately there isn't one and printed pages fall on to the desk.

Fitting the printer's two ink cartridges requires you to lift the lid, which feels a little flimsy. The print head transport automatically moves to a cut-out section giving you access to the cartridge holders, but it can be fiddly to clip ink into place. Canon's setup program prompts you to perform a print head alignment, which, as with Epson's DX7000F, is a manual process that involves printing only one page. There are a couple of basic photo-printing applications that could be useful, but installing them is optional.

It's also up to you whether you install Canon's PIXMA Extended Survey Program software, which we haven't seen in previous PIXMA software bundles. We have seen similar applets - designed to report back anonymous usage information - included with other manufacturers' printers, but they use system resources and some internet bandwidth. We're not convinced that they offer the consumer any real benefit.

Like other entry-level PIXMA printers, the iP1800 makes a wheezy noise when printing that sounds as though something in the head transport is scraping the paper. There's no smearing on the output, however, so it's just a minor irritation. At the Fast setting, text-only documents are ejected quickly enough that paper can slide across the desk and on to the floor, but the output remains surprisingly tidy on other, slower prints.

You might expect slow and basic printing from such a cheap inkjet, but the iP1800 is surprisingly competent. Text was solid at any quality setting, with even correspondence-quality text appearing at nearly 7ppm. Colours in graphics printed on plain paper were a little weak, looking slightly faded compared to output from the best inkjets. Freshly printed photos looked a little off-colour, but they improved once dry and, unusually for a budget printer, contained no obvious grain.

Spending £20 or so more on a printer will buy you more features and lower running costs, but if you want a decent printer for the smallest possible outlay, the PIXMA iP1800 is a good choice.

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