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Canon Pixma iP4850 review

Kat Orphanides
28 Sep 2010
Canon Pixma iP4850
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
75
inc VAT

Speed improvements and a few extra features supplement the performance of Canon's ever-reliable single-function photo and document printer.

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Specifications

thermal inkjet, 11ppm print speed, USB, PicBridge USB, 153x431z297mm

Canon's Pixma range of single- and multi-function inkjets frequently dominates our Editor's Choice lists thanks to a well-balanced combination of speed and quality. The iP4850 provides few surprises; like the iP4700 that it replaces, this single-function printer has a great range of features that make it a capable printer of photos, plain paper documents and more. These include an automatic duplexer for two-sided printing, a CD printing tray, two paper trays for a total capacity of up to 300 sheets and a Pictbridge USB port for printing directly from a digital camera.

The iP4850 takes five different ink cartridges, which have been specially developed for the new range of Pixma printers. The print head is a separate unit that can be replaced if necessary. The inks include a pigment black, used only for plain paper printing; a dye-based black, used only for photo printing, and the usual dye-based cyan, magenta and yellow inks, which are used for both photos and plain paper documents.

All the ink cartridges are currently priced at a little under £12 online, but these are pre-release prices. This means that the print costs of 6.9p per colour pages and 3.5p per mono page (producing a mixed-colour page cost of 10.4p) should fall in the near future. We hope this will be the case, as pigmented black pages currently cost more than we'd expect. A 6x4in photo will cost around 52p on Canon Photo Paper Pro II and 32p on Canon Photo Paper Plus.

Canon Pixma iP4850

The most obvious improvement Canon has made over previous Pixma models is in terms of print speeds, with a draft speed of 13.8ppm and a mono text sped of 9.7ppm. Full-quality 6x4in photos take just under a minute to print. A 10-sided draft colour duplex print took just under four minutes. The speed improvements to draft printing seem to have resulted in a slight drop in quality; mono text looks a little grey and slightly jagged, but there are no problems with its legibility. Draft colour, however, looks very washed out and small fonts are jagged and speckled.

Full quality and photo printing don't suffer, though. The pigmented black ink produces dark, solid-looking lettering, while our illustrated business documents were richly coloured. Photos are also vividly coloured, with precise blacks and whites; default settings provide slight oversaturation, but the effect is both pleasing and easy to change if you don't like it. Our only complaint was with some visible dithering on areas of subtle shading.

The final upgrade to this new printer comes in the form of extra features. These include ink cartridge chips that reward you with access to the professional templates and images on Canon's Creative Park Premium service every time you buy an original Canon ink cartridge. Another heavily promoted feature is the ability to print stills from HD video captured by a Canon EOS or PowerShot camera. However, this currently only applies to HD video produced by these two ranges of Canon stills cameras and not third-party video or even Canon's HD camcorders.

Whether or not you should buy the iP4850 is largely dependent on whether its ink prices go down upon release. If they do, then this will be a worthy successor to the Pixma range. If not, you may be better off buying last year's Pixma iP4700, which uses the previous version of the ink system, so costs less to run – it's a bit slower though. If print costs fall, we'll upgrade the iP4850's rating at a later date.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
Maximum native print resolution9,600x2,400dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A411ppm
Quoted speed, colour A49ppm

Tested Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.03m 17s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.05m 36s

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges5
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges5
Quoted photo durability30 years
Quoted photo durability sourceCanon

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB, PicBridge USB
Optional printer interfacesnone
Size153x431z297mm
Weight5.6kg
Noise (in normal use)46.5dB(A)

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeA4
Maximum paper weight300gsm
Standard paper inputs2
Standard paper input capacity300
Maximum paper inputs2
Maximum paper input capacity300
Duplex (code, cost if option)Yes

Photo Features

PictBridge supportYes
Borderless printingup to A4
Direct (PC-less) printingYes
Supported memory cardsnone
CD printingYes

General

Printer technologythermal inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista 32-bit/Vista 64-bit/7 32-bit/7 64-bit, Mac OS X 10.4.11 - 10.6
Other inkjet featuresnone
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Price£75
Consumable parts and prices£11.81
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge341
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)520 cyan, 500 magenta, 515 yellow
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)660 black, 207 cyan, 204 magenta, 202 yellow
Price per colour A4 page6.9p
Price per mono A4 page3.5p
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
Detailswww.canon.co.uk

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.03m 17s
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.05m 36s