Canon Pixma iX7000 review
An appealing low-cost alternative to an A3 colour laser printer for office use, but HP's Officejet 7000 is faster and better value.
Review Date: 18 Dec 2009
Price when reviewed: £296
Reviewed By: Ben Pitt
Last month we reviewed HP's Officejet 7000, an A3+ inkjet printer with print quality, performance and running costs to rival a laser printer.
A3 colour prints are useful in office environments, but while an A3 colour laser costs upwards of £1,000, the Officejet 7000 costs just £185. This month it's the turn of Canon's similarly named iX7000 to try the same trick.
We were a little concerned that the Officejet's plastic shell might not survive the rigours of a busy office, but Canon's iX7000 is far more substantial. Its paper handling is more versatile, too. The main cassette holds 250 sheets, and there's a 20-sheet rear input tray exclusively for photo paper plus a manual feed slot that accepts up to 10 pages.
The latter is useful for occasional A4 prints when the cassette is loaded with A3 paper. We experienced a couple of paper jams when using this input, though. Automatic duplex printing is supported, but it's slow at 1.8ppm for double-sided A4 text prints, and 1.3ppm for A3.
Single-sided A4 text appeared at 9.6ppm, matching the speed of the Officejet. However, A3 paper came out at just 3.3ppm, quite a bit short of the Officejet's 5.7ppm. The differences were even greater in draft mode, where the Canon managed only a small increase in speed but the HP sped up to 17.6ppm for A4.
The Pixma's performance sometimes took a nosedive, too, due to housekeeping routines that kicked in halfway through print jobs. A4 business graphics were marginally faster than the HP at 4.1ppm. Photo print speeds were respectable, with 4x6in borderless prints taking a little over a minute each and A3 photos around four-and-a-half minutes.
The iX7000 produced excellent text prints on plain paper at the standard quality setting. Text in draft mode looked a little thinner than from the HP, but that's partially a matter of taste. Business graphics on plain paper were up to scratch, too, but the HP took the lead for both colour accuracy and deep, solid black.
The iX7000 uses Canon's new Lucia pigment-based inks, rather than the dye-based colours used by most inkjets. The inks are designed for optimal sharpness and durability on plain paper, but the iX7000 can't compete with the best inkjets for photo print quality. Colours lacked vibrancy and ink droplets were visible in light grey areas of photos. The finish of photos was a little odd, too, with reflections taking on a bronze tint. However, they were better than the HP's photos, which suffered from washed-out shadows.
The iX7000 is more expensive than HP's Officejet 7000, but its three paper inputs, duplexing facility, superior build quality and better-looking photos ensure that it doesn't seem overpriced. Overall, the HP impressed us more with its lightning fast prints and low running costs, but if you need the extra features then this printer is the better choice.
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