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Canon Pixma iP2850 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £36
inc VAT

This single-function inkjet is a decent buy if you don’t need the features of an MFP

All-in-one printers are perennially popular when it comes to home printing, but some users still want and need single-function printers. As they have fewer components, single function printers cost less and take up less room.

Canon Pixma iP2850

At less than £40, you’d certainly be hard pressed to find an MFP that beats the price of the single-function Canon Pixma iP2850. It’s a small, white, slightly flimsy printer that looks a little old-fashioned but occupies gratifyingly little desk space with its trays folded up. There’s no lip on the output tray, but we were pleased to find that printed pages didn’t drop off the end or slip out of order.

We’re used to budget printers being less capable than their more expensive counterparts, but the iP2850 is missing several features that we take for granted from inkjets. The most notable of these is its lack of borderless photo printing at any size. Admittedly, we wouldn’t recommend this printer’s dual-cartridge, four-colour ink system for photos at the best of times, but it would have been nice to have the option. It’s also worth noting that the printer’s photo paper support only includes 6x4in papers; you can’t select photo paper as an option if you’ve also opted for an A4 paper size.

The iP2850 has a pigment-based black ink cartridge and a tri-colour cartridge for dye-based inks. Tri-colour cartridges often appear in cheaper printers and MFPs, but note that if any you’ll have to replace the whole cartridge if one colour runs out. XL cartridges are available, which should give you 400 black and 300 colour pages. We’ve calculated our average mixed-colour page print cost of 11.6p and steep mono cost of 3.7p based on the XL cartridges.

Canon Pixma iP2850

Although combined-colour cartridge systems are often regarded as lower quality than their individual ink counterparts, we were pleased with the printer’s clean, professional looking monochrome text and colour document prints. We had to stare very closely at our standard quality monochrome text print to see any flaws in its lettering at all, while a draft quality text print had thinner lettering but only slight jagged edges that were visible on looped letters. Draft mode saves ink, but doesn’t actually print any faster. Our standard quality text print was actually a couple of seconds faster, producing a print speed of 7.1ppm versus a draft speed of 7ppm. Our colour prints of heavily illustrated articles, charts and web pages look great, with sharp lines, smooth shading and accurate colour. Small 8pt serif and sans serif fonts were also clearly legible.

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Basic Specifications

Maximum native print resolution4,800x600dpi

Quoted Speeds

Quoted speed, mono A48ppm
Quoted speed, colour A44ppm

Tested Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0N/A
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.012m 34s

Print Quality

Number of ink colours4
Number of ink cartridges2
Maximum number of ink colours4
Maximum number of cartridges2
Quoted photo durability50 years
Quoted photo durability sourceCanon

Physical and Environmental

Standard printer interfacesUSB
Optional printer interfacesnone

Paper Handling

Maximum paper sizeup to A4
Maximum paper weight275gsm
Standard paper inputs1
Standard paper input capacity60
Maximum paper inputs1
Maximum paper input capacity60
Duplex (code, cost if option)No

Photo Features

PictBridge supportNo
Direct (PC-less) printingNo
Supported memory cardsnone
CD printingNo


Printer technologythermal inkjet
Supported operating systemsWindows XP/Vista/7/8, Mac OS X 10.6.8+
Other inkjet featuresnone
Other inkjet optionsnone

Buying Information

Consumable parts and prices£20
Quoted life of supplied black cartridge180 pages (ISO/IEC 24711)
Quoted life of supplied colour cartridge(s)180 pages (ISO/IEC 24711)
Quoted life of supplied photo cartridge(s)N/A
Price per colour A4 page7.9p
Price per mono A4 page3.7p
Warrantyone year RTB

Tested Print Speeds

Time for two 10x8in photos 1.0N/A
Time for six 6x4in photos 1.012m 34s