Canon Pixma iP4600 review

£75
Price when reviewed

The old Pixma iP4500 has been our A List inkjet of choice for more than a year now, but Canon hasn’t just bumped out a minor upgrade. The iP4600, in fact, blends the best bits from both its predecessor and the budget iP2600, while adding improved performance as well.

The boxy design of the iP4500 has been discarded in favour of the curves of the iP2600, albeit on a slightly larger scale. The rear flap opens out to hold 150 sheets, while there’s also a cassette in the base with the same capacity again. The front paper catcher is the usual design, with a secondary arm that folds out for A4 documents. You won’t find any luxuries like LCD displays here, just power and paper feed buttons on the right-hand front.

The iP4600 retains the same five-ink engine from its predecessor, albeit with slightly different part numbers for the cartridges. So you get the gloriously thick black text from the pigment-based tank without sacrificing the shadows and detail from your dye-based photos. Our test text document was crisp and exhibited no spidering, while draft-quality text – although thinner and more frayed – remained perfectly legible.

Colour documents were equally sharp, with just a slightly orangey red to keep the iP4600 from top marks. Solid areas of colour showed no unevenness, and boundaries between dark and light tones exhibited no bleeding at all. Photos were just as impressive for the price. While not quite up to the standard of the Canon MP610 all-in-one, our test images showed plenty of detail, good colour blending and accurate tones.

And they come out at quite a rate, too. A 6 x 4in print took just 46 seconds, a two-second improvement over the iP4500. Our A4 photomontage finished in a minute and 33 seconds, seven seconds quicker than its predecessor. Text showed no similar boost, coming at an identical 10ppm in standard mode, but colour documents came out at 4.4ppm, up from the iP4500’s 3.9ppm.

So the printer itself is marginally quicker than the iP4500, but the flipside is that the price has risen a little, too. At £65 it’s still a very affordable printer, though, and when you add in fact that the colour ink tanks are currently less than £8 each, it becomes a cheap printer to run, too – albeit a little dearer than its predecessor. The presence of an integrated, automatic duplexer and a CD/DVD printing tray is merely the cherry on top of the best affordable home inkjet we’ve seen.

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 9600 x 2400dpi
Ink-drop size 1.0pl
Integrated TFT screen? no
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function yes

Power and noise

Dimensions 431 x 296 x 153mm (WDH)

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time 46s
A4 photo print time 1min 33s
Mono print speed (measured) 10ppm
Colour print speed 4ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? yes
Input tray capacity 150 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? no
Bluetooth connection? no
WiFi connection? no
PictBridge port? yes

Flash media

SD card reader no
Compact Flash reader no
Memory Stick reader no
xD-card reader no

OS Support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported? yes

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