Canon PIXMA iP2850 inkjet printer review

Canon PIXMA iP2850

Canon's PIXMA iP2850 is somewhat of a rarity in today's multifunction printer-obsessed market - a relatively compact single-function colour inkjet printer aimed at the home office worker or casual user who wants virtually no frills apart from basic printing. (See also: best inkjet printers of 2014.)

Not surprisingly the printer itself is also single hue - a sort of Apple white with occasional dashes of black lettering and icons. When you take it out the box, you almost wonder if it's a toy printer as it weighs a miniscule 2.3 kg; and all the plastic components feel decidedly flimsy. It certainly won't take up much desktop space, measuring just 426 x 235 x 134 mm.

Setup is simple - flip up the 60-sheet input tray that acts as part of the cover, pull down the panel that conceals the ink cartridge holders, push the two cartridges into place and connect to your Windows PC or Mac via a USB 2.0 connection round the back.

Use the supplied installation disk to load up the drivers and software, fill up with paper and you're ready to go.

Obviously the sub-£40 price tag will be one of the main attractions of the iP2850 but the first trade-off is the number of features you'll have to forego. There is no USB port for flash drives, no controls apart from the power button and no further connectivity options. Borderless printing is not available either and the maximum photo print size is 13 x 18 cm, which is what you can expect from much smaller compact printers.

Canon includes useful free software for Windows including My Image Garden which lets you create some stylish calendars as well as Easy-WebPrint EX which enables selective Web printing.

Canon PIXMA iP2850 review: Printer performance

The irony is that the quality of the photos produced is of a high standard, both in terms of detail and colour reproduction, although each 10 x 15 cm glossy print does take 40 seconds to create, and the image doesn't fully fill the paper.

The same is also true of black text documents, mixed text and graphics documents and even comic book pages - you won't achieve speeds of more than 7 ppm on A4 plain paper but thickness of lettering and lines is excellent and colour authenticity is impressive.

Unfortunately the iP2850 takes only one combined colour cartridge so will have to replaced if any one of the individual Cyan, Magenta or Yellow inks run out.

The standard colour cartridge allows up to 180 pages of A4 and costs 7.2p per page [£12.88 amazon.co.uk, 2014-07-06], while the standard black cartridge of the same volume is very pricey at 6.1p per page [£11.02 amazon.co.uk, 2014-07-06].

High yield versions are also available which increase colour usage to 300 pages and reduce costs to 5.3p per colour page [£16.02 amazon.co.uk, 2014-07-06], while black usage expands to 400 pages and halves rates to 3.6p per page [£14.78 amazon.co.uk, 2014-07-06]. See also: best budget printers of 2014.

Canon PIXMA iP2850

Canon PIXMA iP2850: Specs

  • Compact inkjet photo printer
  • 128 MB memory
  • 4800 x 600 dpi maximum resolution
  • 8 ppm specified speed
  • 60 sheets plain paper maximum input capacity
  • 10 sheets photo paper
  • USB 2.0
  • 426 x 235 x 134 mm
  • 2.3 kg
  • Compact inkjet photo printer
  • 128 MB memory
  • 4800 x 600 dpi maximum resolution
  • 8 ppm specified speed
  • 60 sheets plain paper maximum input capacity
  • 10 sheets photo paper
  • USB 2.0
  • 426 x 235 x 134 mm
  • 2.3 kg

OUR VERDICT

Canon's stripped-down basic inkjet printer produces high-quality print results and costs less than £40 but dearer ink costs, photo restrictions and very limited functions might prove a deterrent.