So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Canon PIXMA iP4850 inkjet photo printer
This Canon PIXMA inkjet printer can produce great photos
- Low initial price for good quality A4 and 6x4in photo prints, automatic A4 plain paper duplexing
- Ongoing ink costs can be high if printing photos in High quality, no card slots for direct printing
If you've got a digital camera and would like to make some 6x4in or A4 photo prints at home, the Canon PIXMA iP4850 is attractively priced. Costing only $159, it's able to produce good quality colour printouts and reasonable greyscale prints. It's not especially fast and it uses a lot of ink to print photos using the highest quality setting, but its low initial cost makes it a good value proposition.
Price$ 159.00 (AUD)
Canon's PIXMA iP4850 is a mid-range inkjet document and photo printer. The PIXMA iP4850 has the same basic printing specifications as the Canon PIXMA MG5250 multifunction, but drops scanning and copying as well as the inbuilt colour screen to keep costs down. It's a lot cheaper, too; at $159 it's Canon's cheapest printer with a 1-picolitre print head, which offers good detail for both colour and greyscale prints.
Canon PIXMA iP4850: Design, connectivity and set up
The Canon PIXMA iP4850 doesn't have a flatbed scanner for scanning or copying documents, it doesn't have an LCD colour screen and it doesn't have any memory card slots for direct printing. We're only particularly concerned about the last omission — with the PIXMA iP4850 positioned as a photo printer, it would have been a useful inclusion. The PIXMA iP4850 is PictBridge-compatible though, so you can connect your camera directly and print that way (although you'll need to have the cable handy, and knowledge of your camera's printing interface).
Paper handling for the Canon PIXMA iP4850 is provided by a 150-sheet rear tray and 150-sheet cassette. When plain paper is loaded through the rear tray, the PIXMA iP4850 can automatically print on both sides — useful if you're trying to cut down on paper costs. You can simultaneously load around 20 sheets of photo paper (A4 or 6x4in). The PIXMA iP4850 defaults to plain paper in the cassette and photo paper in the tray, but you can change this within the maintenance settings of the printer software. Setting up the Canon PIXMA iP4850 and its software is a simple task that only takes around 10 minutes. The printer has two USB ports; the rear connector allows a PC to be connected while the front handles PictBridge.
Canon PIXMA iP4850: Printing quality and ink costs
The Canon PIXMA iP4850 is a competent document and photo printer. In Standard quality mode both monochrome and colour A4 documents have fine detail with no visible oversaturation or excessive ink. We found Standard quality to be more than detailed enough for everyday document prints — if you want the absolute best, High quality mode does make colour areas a little more vibrant. Automatic duplexing works well and is easy to set up and use.
Individual cyan, magenta, yellow and photo black cartridges makes the Canon PIXMA iP4850 an excellent option photo printing option if you aren't willing to shell out for a pigment-based printer like the Canon PIXMA Pro 9500 Mark II. The PIXMA iP4850 is able to produce very fine image detail in its well-saturated photo prints, with very few visible flaws. We did notice a small amount of detail loss in yellow areas of prints. Greyscale prints are also well handled, with only a small amount of graininess visible on gradients and good detail in darker areas.
The ongoing running costs of the PIXMA iP4850 are reasonable going on Canon's quoted print figures. However, take into account the number of photos you intend to print, as these figures represent the rated page yields in terms of colour and monochrome text documents — photo printing consumes significantly more ink, so you'll need to replace cartridges sooner. A full set of inks will set you back $119.75 at Canon's recommended retail price, although we found them cheaper from online stores. The Canon PIXMA iP4850 has a combined ongoing running cost of 4.98 cents per A4 colour page, while black documents are cheap at 0.7c per A4 sheet.
Canon Australia's environmental policy
Canon places a heavy emphasis on environmental responsibility, with a dedicated section of its Web site educating consumers about PIXMA printers' green credentials.
The Canon PIXMA iP4850 produces detailed documents and photos, and running costs are bearable if you're not exclusively printing high quality photos.
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