Canon Pixma iP3300 review

£39
Price when reviewed

After putting the Canon Pixma iP3300 through its paces, we were astonished to discover it costs less than £40. To say it’s in a different league to its sub-£50 rivals is putting it mildly: this printer can deliver a good-quality 6 x 4in print in just 1min 12secs, nearly half the time of the next quickest budget model and significantly faster than other manufacturers’ top-end printers.

It’s a similar story for A4 prints too, taking 2mins 33secs, and the quality is better than you’d imagine. Our garden photo showed a high level of detail in dark background hedges, putting the iP3300 up there with the best in the group, and only our skin tone test disappointed, being too soft and warm compared to the original.

Plus, with just four inks to replace -only three of which are actually used for photo printing – the cost per 6 x 4in photo is a reasonable 35p. We found the magenta and yellow inks needed replacing after around 180 prints, while the cyan lasted for a further hundred, but they’re reasonably priced.

The pigment-based black was still full after nearly 300 photos, and when we switched to document printing it really showed its strength. Normal mono text produced by the iP3300 was excellent, right up there with the iP5300 and the HP D5160. Edges were sharp, and characters were bold and clearly legible, while switching to draft mode merely thinned characters slightly and introduced minor spidering. All of these options are easily selectable as the driver software is well designed and very simple to use.

The downside to all this is that the Canon is the second slowest printer of all when printing documents, spitting out pages at just 7.4ppm in draft mode and 2.9ppm for normal mode. Colour printing is a little better – it got through the five-page ISO document in 1min 42secs – but the iP3300 is definitely best viewed as a photo printer first and a document printer second.

It also fared badly compared to the HPs in our fade-resistance tests, so if you plan to hang prints in the glare of the sun you may want to consider looking elsewhere. But for prints that will be stored in an album this won’t matter one jot, and if you don’t mind a printer devoid of advanced bells and whistles the Canon Pixma iP3300 will make you and your wallet very happy indeed.

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