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Canon Pixma iP2702 Reviews

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Manufacturers tend to label low-end home inkjet printers such as Canon Pixma iP2702 Photo Printer ($49.99 direct) as photo printers, and these tend to print decent to very good photos (by consumer standards, at least), often to the neglect of text quality. In our testing, the iP2702 stood that model on its head. Its photos were rather disappointing, and it did surprisingly well in printing text. A bit different with my last reviews about Canon Pixma.

The iP2702 is a handsome yet Spartan device. Matte-black with rounded corners, it is compact: 5.2 by 17.6 by 9.8 inches (HWD), weighing 12.1 pounds. Its interface is minimalist: just two buttons—one the on-off switch, the other labeled with a sheet of paper plus a puzzling icon; the on-screen user manual reveals it to be a resume/cancel button. There's no LCD or viewscreen of any sort. The exposed, top-feeding paper tray can fit up to 100 sheets. It lacks an auto-duplexer or any optional paper-handling features.

Specifications
Printer Category
Ink Jet
Type
Printer Only
Color or Monochrome
1-pass color
Ink Jet Type
Photo All-Purpose
Connection Type
USB
Maximum Standard Paper Size
Legal
Direct Printing from Cameras
No
Duplexing
No
Setup was as simple as the iP2702's appearance would imply: plug it in, install the two cartridges, load the software on your computer, connect a USB cable (its only connectivity option), and follow the on-screen instructions. I tested the iP2702 on a PC running Windows Vista. According to Canon, it ships with drivers for Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP/2000, and Mac OS X v.10.4.11 to 10.6.x.

Performance
At $50, the iP2702 is the lowest-priced printer we've reviewed in several years. Our nearest-priced currently available comparison systems cost twice as much (the Canon Pixma iP4820 Photo Printer, $99.99 direct, 4 stars) or more (the Editors' Choice HP Officejet 6000 Wireless Printer, $119.99 direct, 4 stars).

The iP2702 printed out our business applications suite in 19 minutes 18 seconds (using QualityLogic's hardware and software for timing), while the iP4820 completed it in 11:17 and the Officejet 6000 in 11:34. It took the iP2702 an average of 1 minute 34 seconds to print out a 4-by-6 photo and 3:31 to output an 8-by-10. The iP4820 averaged 55 seconds per 4-by-6 and 1:44 for an 8-by-10, while the HP took 1:05 and 2:28, respectively. So though the iP2702 is slower than either of these more expensive machines, the speed difference is a bit more pronounced in printing from Office-type programs than in outputting photos.

Quality
The iP2702's surprise came in our quality testing, where it produced good-quality text but not-so-good photos. Its graphics output was on a par with the majority of inkjets we've tested.

Text quality was quite good, particularly for an inkjet. The majority of our test fonts were easily readable at 6 points, with two easily readable at 4 points and one at 5. Only one particularly difficult font required type larger than 8 points to be easily readable (it passed the threshold at 12 points, better than most printers we've tested it on). All except that one font were both easily readable and well formed in as little as 8 points, and one was well formed at 5 points. The characters were quite dark and fairly crisp for an inkjet, though under magnification they showed a slight spatter of ink that at times filled in spaces between or within characters in small fonts. The text is usable for schoolwork and any business purpose short of those requiring the highest-quality text.

The iP2702 showed graphics quality typical of inkjets. The two problems worth mention were a tendency for very thin lines to break (an issue that few printers are totally immune to), and dithering, an obvious dot pattern that showed on one set of images.

Photos were at the low end of the quality we see from inkjets—below drugstore quality, but suitable for printing out snapshots for a bulletin board or a refrigerator, or printing out Web pages. Several photos had notably muted colors. Some images showed posterization—poor transitions within color gradients. A monochrome image showed poor contrast, as well as a faint band of discoloration.

The Canon Pixma iP2702 Photo Printer could fit well into a budget-conscious household that prints its share of text but with undemanding photo needs, or as a student's printer in the close quarters of a dorm. Canon may call it a photo printer, but we think of it as a text printer in disguise—provided you don't need to print in a hurry.

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