Canon Pixma iP2702
thermal inkjet, 7ppm print speed, USB, 130x445x250mm
Multi-function printers rule the roost when it comes to inkjet printing, but there's always room for a low-cost, no-frills, single-function printer. That's the niche Canon's Pixma iP2702 is looking to fill and, at just £31, it already meets the primary requirement.
The iP2702 looks strangely old-fashioned, but is by no means unattractive as far as printers go. There's no output tray, so pages are spat out on the table. This saves space and is actually an improvement on the flimsy trays found on many budget inkjets. There are remarkably few features – just a 100 sheet rear input tray and a USB port to connect it to your PC.
The iP2702 uses just two cartridges – one black and one tri-colour, with cyan, yellow and magenta inks; this is still fairly common in budget printers. The pigmented black ink is designed to print sharp black text and diagrams on standard paper but isn't suitable for photo printing. Dark areas of photos are printed with a composite black made by combining the three coloured inks. This means that dark tones are slightly less intense than those from printers with a dedicated photographic black cartridge, but this wasn't noticeable enough to seriously detract from our prints.
You have to replace colour cartridges of this sort as soon as one ink colour runs out and so they can be less economical than using a printer with single-colour cartridges. The printer comes with 220-page black and 244-page colour cartridges, but we recommend using high-yield versions once they run out. The 401 page black PG-512 cartridge costs around £13, while the 349-page colour CL-512 costs around £16. That'll give you a mixed-colour page cost of 7.7p and a mono page cost of 3.2p. That's a little high when compared to our favourite single-function inkjets, especially HP's Officejet 6000, which casts 4.5p per page.
Although the printer is cheap, quality is excellent. Both draft and standard quality text were clear, sharp and perfect – draft lettering is just a little thinner, but prints at 8ppm compared to 6.4ppm for normal text. Our illustrated colour business documents looked great, with solid, accurate colours in diagrams and evenly shaded graphs.
We were also very happy with the iP2702's photo quality; dark areas, white tones and flesh colours weren't quite as accurate as those from Canon's more expensive photo printers, but all our pictures looked good enough to frame. Each 6x4in photo took a little over a minute and a half to print and costs around 19p on Canon Photo Paper Plus II.
There's no point in spending £100 or more on a high-end MFP if you print rarely and never scan, which makes the Pixma iP2702 a perfect Budget Buy. However, if you plan to print a bit more regularly, we recommend buying HP'S single-function Officejet 6000 instead. It's twice the price, but much cheaper to run.