Canon Pixma iP5300 review
Rushing things doesn’t tend to produce the best results, but the Canon Pixma iP5300 is proof that this needn’t always be the case. All four of its test photos scored top marks for quality, yet, even at the highest settings, each 6 x 4in print was churned out in just 49 seconds – quicker than Canon’s own iP6700D and more than twice as fast as any other manufacturers’ A4 contenders.
Skin tones are natural and accurate, and we saw great detail in dark areas of our outdoor images. But even better is the flawlessly sharp nature of the Canon’s text printing thanks largely to the pigment-based black ink cartridge. This isn’t used for printing photos, as there’s a separate dye-based black too, providing the best of both worlds.
To add to the appeal, the cost per print is reasonable as well, if not quite as cheap as the best HPs. The photo black cartridge costs over £11 and there are three other colours to replace, but they last a decent number of 6 x 4in prints: yellow and magenta managed over 250, while cyan reached 334. Unfortunately, Canon’s measly 20-sheet paper packs spoil the economy a little, but the overall cost is still acceptable at 34p.
But the iP5300 isn’t just a great photo printer; it also has features unmatched by its rivals. Like the iP6700D, it comes with a built-in duplex unit for two-sided printing, and it also prints directly onto printable CDs and DVDs. It’s the only printer on test with infrared capability, and the bundled software and drivers are simple to use.
The main drawback is the absence of an LCD screen and media card readers, so you can’t print photos directly from a memory card. However, this is countered by a PictBridge port, which allows you to print from your camera. The only other gripe is that, at default settings, the dry time is set to Medium, which results in a pause halfway through every A4 sheet to let the previous one dry – a setting you may want to change when batch printing.
Despite these few weaknesses, there simply isn’t another printer in the group that can match the iP5300 for speed, quality and value, so we have no hesitation in recommending it as this month’s Labs Winner.