Faster than even some low-end lasers, the Canon Pixma iP4500 inkjet printer generates great text and photos.

Canon's Pixma iP4500 inkjet printer rivals low-end colour laser printers in speed. It also leaves many higher-priced inkjet competitors in the dust.

The Canon Pixma iP4500 spit out text at an average rate of 11.7 pages per minute (ppm), and it printed complex graphics at speeds ranging from 2.8ppm to 3.7ppm. The text quality on plain paper was very nice - crisp, black, and just a little jagged in more-complicated fonts.

While a laser may print better text, it couldn't compete with the Canon Pixma iP4500's photos. Although colour graphics tend to be yellowish (on both plain and photo paper), only flesh tones suffer from the excess attention - everything else looked vivid and natural.

The ink mix benefits output quality. Dye-based cyan, magenta, yellow, and black offer a broad palette; a second, pigment-based black looks darker and lasts longer. Each ink's separate tank rests in a clearly visible slot above a permanent printhead.

As other Canon printers have had for a while, an LED on the cartridge lights red when it's properly inserted - an odd colour for affirmative feedback, but still informative.

The Canon Pixma iP4500's black, shiny box seems to burst into action at your command. Push a button, and doors and flaps open to reveal the typical top input and front output trays, plus a second input tray underneath the main body. The latter takes a few, basic media sizes (letter, A4, A5). When the lower input tray is in use, it extends a bit from the front of the printer. The Pixma iP4500 can print on both sides of the page automatically from either input tray - a nice feature at this price point. The scattered control buttons were my primary design complaint: All have icons instead of plain-English labels, so they're harder to identify.

The bundled software (loaded when you install the Pixma iP4500) includes Easy Photo-Print EX software for organising, editing, and printing photos, as well as Canon's My Printer application for adjusting settings and troubleshooting. A thorough onscreen manual explains both the printer and its software thoroughly. A Solutions Menu interface centralises access to all of these items.

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Canon Pixma iP4500: Specs

  • 150-sheet input tray(s)
  • Borderless A4, 6x4in, 7x5in, credit card sizes
  • 160x445x305mm
  • 6.9kg
  • USB 1.1/2.0, PictBridge
  • up to 9600 x 2400dpi (mono: 600x600)
  • quoted print speeds: up to 31ppm
  • includes Easy-PhotoPrint EX software
  • 150-sheet input tray(s)
  • Borderless A4, 6x4in, 7x5in, credit card sizes
  • 160x445x305mm
  • 6.9kg
  • USB 1.1/2.0, PictBridge
  • up to 9600 x 2400dpi (mono: 600x600)
  • quoted print speeds: up to 31ppm
  • includes Easy-PhotoPrint EX software

OUR VERDICT

The Canon Pixma iP4500 offers excellent speed, sharp print quality, and useful features for a good price. If your colour output tends more toward photos and graphics than charts and memos, it could be a good alternative to an entry-level colour laser.

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