Canon Pixma iP3600 review

30 Jan 2009
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
52
inc VAT

Specifications

thermal inkjet, 26ppm print speed, USB, 153x431x296mm

Canon's Pixma iP3600 is part of the same range as the Pixma iP4600. It lacks some of the iP4600's more advanced features, including automatic duplex printing, but it still manages to impress.

The iP3600 comes with a separate print head, which means that if its nozzles become clogged, you can simply replace the head rather than throwing away the entire printer. While this is a four-colour printer, it actually takes five separate ink cartridges, including both dye- and pigment-based black ink. The translucent dye creates rich tones on photo paper, while the pigment-based ink is designed to sink into standard paper and dry quickly to create sharp text with no smudges. Like the more expensive iP4600, this printer has both a rear paper tray that can take standard and photographic paper and a front-loading cartridge. The latter holds up to 150 sheets of standard A4 and has a protective cover to keep dust out.

Installation went smoothly. The final stage is manual print head alignment, which involves selecting the most solid-looking printed rectangles on a test print and then entering the numbers printed next to them into an onscreen interface. There are three pages of this, which can be rather tedious, but it's worth doing properly as it improves print quality significantly.

All our prints looked excellent. Even draft text was clear and easy to read, while lettering at normal quality was as sharp as that produced by the Canon LBP5050 laser printer and slightly darker. Fonts as small at 5pt were legible, although slightly fuzzy, at normal quality. Colour document prints looked great, with accurate tones and shading in our graphs and business graphics.

We were also impressed by the iP3600's photo printing capabilities. Even though the printer uses only four inks, the colour and shading of our photo prints was comparable to those of many six-ink printers we've reviewed. Skin tones looked natural, dark colours and low-contrast areas were well-defined and bright colours looked vibrant and exciting. The clarity and detail of our photos was among the best we've seen from a budget inkjet, without any jagged dithering, graininess or fuzzy edges.

The mono print speeds are quick at 6.7ppm at standard quality. Draft-quality prints are good enough to use for even formal documents, and printed at 9.3ppm. Mixed-colour documents took longer to print at just 2.2ppm, but this compares well with most inkjets. Mixed-colour prints are cheap at 6p, although mono costs of 2.3p per page are a little high.

If you need an inkjet for home use, the iP3600 combines excellent print quality, low mixed colour costs and a low price. It's a great buy and, unless you really need a duplexer, is better value than the iP4600.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Maximum native print resolution 9,600x2,400dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A4 26ppm
Quoted speed, colour A4 17ppm

Tested Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0 6m 8s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.0 9m 40s

Print Quality

Number of ink colours 4
Number of ink cartridges 5
Maximum number of ink colours 4
Maximum number of cartridges 5
Quoted photo durability 30 years
Quoted photo durability source Canon

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfaces USB
Optional printer interfaces none
Size 153x431x296mm
Weight 5.4kg
Noise (in normal use) 41dB(A)
Power consumption standby 2W
Power consumption idle 2W
Power consumption active 18W

Paper Handling

Maximum paper size A4/legal
Maximum paper weight 300gsm
Standard paper inputs 2
Standard paper input capacity 300
Maximum paper inputs 2
Maximum paper input capacity 300
Duplex (code, cost if option) No

Photo Features

PictBridge support Yes
Direct (PC-less) printing Yes
Supported memory cards none
CD printing No

General

Printer technology thermal inkjet
Supported operating systems Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Vista-64, Mac OS X 10.3.9 - 10.5
Other inkjet features none
Other inkjet options none

Buying Information

Price £52
Consumable parts and prices pigment black PGI-520BK, £7.33, dye black CLI-521BK, £6.80, cyan CLI-521C, £6.72, mangenta CLI-521M, £6.59, yellow CLI-521Y, £6.72
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge 324 pages ISO/IEC 24711
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s) 535 cyan, 510 magenta, 530 yellow pages (ISO/IEC 24711)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s) 815 black, 241 cyan, 236 magenta, 220 yellow photos (ISO/IEC 24711)
Price per colour A4 page 3.7p
Price per mono A4 page 2.3p
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.kikatek.com
Details www.canon.co.uk

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0 6m 8s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.0 9m 40s