The Canon Pixma iP2702 is a colour inkjet printer at a rock-bottom price of just £36.

Few areas of IT offer such a diverse range of models as the inkjet printer market. At the top end the meatiest page churners cost hundreds of pounds, and go head-to-head with heavyweight lasers.

And at the other end of the scale you have, well, this price-crunching model from Canon. The Canon Pixma iP2702 is yours for just £36 – hunt around and you might even get one for around £30. So is there such a thing as too cheap? Well, that depends exactly how you intend to use the Canon Pixma iP2702.

Initial impressions are positive. At first glance the Canon Pixma iP2702 shows few signs of its lowly upbringing, and its smart black casing is elegantly curved. There aren’t many buttons to play around with, although that lack of potential clutter does help enhance the Canon Pixma iP2702’s looks.

However, there is an obvious gap in the front of the Canon Pixma iP2702. And that brings us to one of the Canon Pixma iP2702’s flaws – there isn’t an output tray. Not only does this make the Canon Pixma iP2702 look unfinished (as though you’ve forgotten to attach a vital part) but, more significantly, it’s a nuisance practically.

You’ll either need something to catch the sheets in, or else you’ll want to leave plenty of space on the desk in front of the Canon Pixma iP2702. Neither of these solutions are particularly desirable, and it seems a shame Canon couldn’t have just added a couple of extra pounds to the price and supplied a proper output tray.

Otherwise, the Canon Pixma iP2702 is a simple but undemanding USB printer. Given the price you won’t be surprised to find a dearth of special features – so no memory-card slot, LCD panel or wireless networking here. And the Canon Pixma iP2702 offers just printing – no scanning or copying facilities.

However, the software bundle (which includes Easy-PhotoPrint EX) is decent, and the Canon Pixma iP2702 works well. The page feed mechanism seems robust and reliable, and you wouldn’t necessarily expect that given the rock-bottom price tag.

It’s not a quiet printer though, and the loud clonk that accompanies a new sheet of paper being fed into the printer could prove very disconcerting for those sensitive about noise levels.

The Canon Pixma iP2702’s quoted figures may sound rather low – and it’s certainly true that this is no speed demon – but part of the ‘problem’ stems from Canon’s use of the demanding ESAT tests while calculating pages per minute.

In reality, the Canon Pixma iP2702 actually exceeded the quoted speeds while printing mono text – 8.2ppm rather than 7ppm. This may seem to put it a long way behind the 13.6ppm of the £50 Epson Stylus SX415, but even in the fastest mode the Canon Pixma iP2702’s text is dark and reasonably clear – the Epson’s, in contrast, is unacceptably faint.

In some respects, the Canon Pixma iP2702’s fastest text mode is actually the best for quality. The text is thicker and darker in the standard and high quality modes, but this seems to exaggerate the slightly fuzzy definition of the lettering.

The output looks good when held at arm’s length however, and the speed of 6ppm in standard mode (1.9ppm in highest quality) is actually pretty good – the Epson can only put out decent text at a speed of 4.1ppm. Provided you’re not producing documents requiring close analysis, this actually works quite well as a text printer. 

Colour prints are fairly attractive, although the output is a little too faint. The fastest mode produces very palatable pics at a speed of 3.9ppm. The only real drawback in this mode is that the images look slightly foggy.

The standard mode sees speed almost halve - to 2ppm – and isn’t quite as packed with colour as we’d like. And the 0.7ppm highest quality mode isn’t significantly better. Photo paper images are pleasing though, and this printer will be adequate for running off camera snaps. The running costs (which, with high-capacity cartridges, work out at 3.7p for mono and 4.9p for colour) aren’t low, but they remain competitive with the Epson Stylus SX415. ?

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Canon Pixma iP2702: Specs

  • Colour inkjet printer
  • 4800 x 1200 resolution
  • quoted print speed B=7ppm C=4.8ppm
  • actual print speed B=8.2ppm C=3.9ppm
  • USB 2.0
  • cartridge costs B=£15 C=£17
  • print life (pages) B=401 C=349
  • 445 x 250 x 130mm
  • 3.4kg
  • Colour inkjet printer
  • 4800 x 1200 resolution
  • quoted print speed B=7ppm C=4.8ppm
  • actual print speed B=8.2ppm C=3.9ppm
  • USB 2.0
  • cartridge costs B=£15 C=£17
  • print life (pages) B=401 C=349
  • 445 x 250 x 130mm
  • 3.4kg

OUR VERDICT

The Canon Pixma iP2702 produces performance that’s unexceptional but quite satisfactory given the price. Should you be looking for an ultra-cheap (almost disposable) printer, we think you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. Unfortunately, the lack of an output tray and the occasionally excessive noise levels are significant flaws that may spoil an otherwise perfectly acceptable low-budget choice.

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