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Canon Pixma iP100 with Battery review

Verdict:

Review Date: 22 May 2008

Price when reviewed: £249

Buy it now for: £200
(see more store prices)

Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides

Our Rating 4 stars out of 5

User Rating 4 stars out of 5

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Canon's Pixma iP100 is a battery-powered portable photo printer that can also print on plain A4.

It has a high resolution of 9,600x2,400dpi and can take paper sizes from Credit Card to A4, with borderless printing on Credit Card, 6x4in, 7x5in and A4 paper.

The ink cartridges are tiny. One contains pigmented black ink for sharp document-printing on plain paper, and the other is filled with four dye-based inks, including black, to create photographic colours. A separate print head must be installed before you can insert the ink; it can be replaced if it becomes blocked.

You may think £250 borders on extortionate for a portable printer, but the quality of photos was outstanding. Our test images were beautifully detailed, with no soft edges or graininess. Bright colours were vivid and skin tones were lifelike. Low-contrast images, which are a challenge for most photo printers, looked particularly good. Photos weren't printed especially quickly, but nine minutes 50 seconds wasn't long to wait for six 6x4in pictures at this quality. A pair of 10x8in prints took just three minutes 49 seconds. Print speeds were no slower when we used battery power, and a fully charged battery should last for around 300 photos.

Unlike dedicated compact photo printers, the iP100 can print normal documents on plain paper. We expected this to be little more than an afterthought but, to our surprise, text quality was excellent. Standard A4 text documents printed at a fast 7.9ppm with clear, well-defined text. Draft prints were a little faster at 8.7ppm, with little drop in quality; text was only slightly paler than full-quality prints. The mixed colour document speed of 2.2ppm compares well with most full-sized inkjets.

You can connect the printer to your PC via a standard USB2 port, print directly from a digital camera that supports PictBridge or use an infrared connection to transfer images from a mobile phone. One surprise, given the price, is that the iP100 doesn't have built-in Bluetooth. Instead, you have to pay another £50 for Canon's BU-30 Bluetooth dongle.

At £249, the iP100 costs more than most single-function inkjet printers, but its portability and high resolution makes it worth the outlay if you're a keen photographer who wants to print top-quality digital photos on the spot.

However, if you only need to print 6x4in photos on the move, Epson's PictureMate 240 produces great-looking prints but costs under £70, with an optional battery pack available for around £33. The Pixma iP100 is the best portable printer we've ever seen, but its purchase price and running costs are too high for most pockets.

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