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A wise person once said, “You get what you pay for,” and in the case of Canon’s budget-friendly Pixma iP2702, truer words were never spoken. If you’re looking for an affordable way to print day-to-day snapshots, the $50 iP2702 might be just the ticket--provided that your expectations are in keeping with the limitations of a low-cost, single-function printer.
The printer is lightweight (bordering on flimsy), features a sleek, streamlined façade, and promises a resolution of up to 4800x1200 for color and 600x600 for black-only prints. And while its footprint is bulkier than we would expect for a single-function device, simplicity is the hallmark of the iP2702--it has only two buttons: On/Off and Paper Control, both with LED indicators. The top-mounted paper feed handles sheets up to 8.5x11 inches, but the printer lacks niceties like a card reader or an output tray, so you need to position it where your prints will have room to land safely.
A printer on the cheap--but only if you're not too picky.
The iP2702 utilizes only two ink cartridges, one black and the other containing cyan, magenta, and yellow inks. If you run out of one color first, you’ll have to toss the entire cartridge--a lamentably eco-unfriendly option. Intriguingly, Canon claims that printing with its ChromaLife100+ ink and paper system will produce output that lasts up to 300 years…but we’ll have to get back to you on that.
As far as what’s in the box, the iP2702 comes bundled with a few handy utilities, including EasyPhoto-Print EX for quick photo prints and Easy-WebPrint, which helps print web pages--although the idea of printing the web seems a bit antiquated. Also included are apps for making calendars, photo albums, and fixing common photo problems (we had fun smoothing out wrinkles and obliterating red eye). While Canon doesn’t include a USB cable, the printer does come bundled with black ink, color ink, and a few sheets of 4x6 photo paper to get you started.
After that, you can buy ink and paper bundled together for as much as the printer itself, $49.99, or you can purchase à la carte. Small black-ink cartridges are $16, while color cartridges will run you $21. The pack can lay down approximately 83 4x6 prints per cartridge, which means that prints will cost about 29 cents each (including glossy photo paper). And because Canon bills this printer as an alternative to taking a trip to your local photo lab, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that this is over twice as much as one of the more ubiquitous over-the-counter labs charges--something to consider in the price-vs.-convenience debate.
The printer spits out full-color, borderless 4x6 pics in the promised 55 seconds. Unfortunately, image quality is where the printer really shows its true colors. We printed color and black-and-white shots from iPhoto, Photoshop, and the included EasyPhoto-Print software, and found that in all cases, color images were a little flat and washed out, and black-and-white photos lacked depth and contrast--and skewed a little red. The prints from iPhoto were slightly more saturated overall, but neither could hold a candle to the prints made on a $500 Canon Pixma Pro9000, which is where you can really see the difference in quality. Having said that, the Pro9000 costs 10 times as much, so it should kick some iP2702 tail.
This $50 printer is one of the least expensive we’ve seen, and for anyone who just wants to be able to print snapshots at home, it works fine. Others, however, will need to lower their expectations nearly as low as the price.
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.4.11 or later; USB cable
Very inexpensive. Black text documents look great. Easy to use.
Photo prints lack depth. Colors are a bit washed out. No output tray. Single-cartridge color ink.