Pros autoduplexing is wonderful, quality and speed are respectable
Cons Microchip in ink cartridge will not allow refilling!!!
Summary I have only encountered recently the aspect of this printer which changed my opinion of it from a 9 (it's a really nice printer, overall) to a 4 or 5, mostly because it's an insulting defect.
Printing... works great.
My BEEF with the IP-4200:
1. The printer uses individual ink tanks.
2. Each tank has a visual prism for detecting low/no ink conditions.
3. Each ink tank now also has a microchip (think "killer chip" of an epson inkjet or lexmark laser cartridge) to record ink usage.
The physical refilling the cartridge isn't a problem(same as the BCI-3K series, and on the pixma 4000 series), but it will land you in the following scenario:
1. The microchip on the cartridge colludes with the computer (calculating how much ink you've used) and notices that you've printed a suspiciously high number of pages from the cartridge, and pops up a dialog with effectively two choices:
CHOICE THE FIRST: (Cannon's preferred choice): Admit that you've refilled your ink cartridge, remove it, and place a new cannon certified cannon manufactured ink cartridge in it. I achieved approximately 420 pages in a refilled "300-page" pigment black cartridge.
CHOICE THE SECOND: (The insulting option):
Conceed that you are refilling your ink tanks, with the following consequences:
1. The warrantee is voided, and this fact is written into the flash-rom of the printer, thus barring you from claiming service under warrantee period, even if the failure is unrelated.
2. The visual ink-monitoring system is DISABLED. Completely. Without a good reason, other than scaring you into buying cannon ink. (Or, rather, if you've chosen choice the second, being spitefully punitive you for doing so. Once the "I admit I refill my ink" choice has been selected, there is no way to return to the "good graces" of their warrantee.) In plain english, the consequences of a disabled visual ink monitoring system are that you will not receive warning when your ink runs low (even though the hardware is present to do so), and that your print heads and ink plumbing will dry up into a crusty sad little crisp, squeak their last little squeak, and die. Then you purchase a non-cannon printer. (May I reccomend the IP4000, or the IP5000, neither of which have the chipped ink bottles).
Voiding the warrantee, I can understand. Disabling the ink monitoring system is simply, spiteful BS from some heartless bottom-feeding bottom-liner.
To Canon, for making an affordable, dependable, high-quality duplexing printer: Kudos. You've done well.
To Canon, for their spiteful business plan:
A seven page fax, with the letter F on the first page.
My next printer will be something other than a Canon.
"Extraordinary"on by edweissman
Pros Print quality; graphics; color; duplexing; print speed
Cons Aside from size, none that I can think of
Summary The Canon iP4200 replaces both the ip3000 and iP4000 printers and is essentially an upgrade. The iP4200 uses Canon's new ContrastPlus inks (5 cartridges: 3 colors plus a a dye-based black for photography and a pigment based black for text) and continues the use of Canon's FINE printhead technology.
Text is extraodrinarily crisp, rivalling a laser printer. Graphics are sharp, with good color contrast. The few photos I've printed so far rival what I've seen from Snapfish, Ofoto. etc.
Setup with WinXP Pro was a breeze. Canon provides clear, step-by-step directions which worked first time out.
My computer, which is 3 years old, has only USB 1.1 ports. Although the installation directions warned that I might encounter problems during installation, it went smoothly (the printer will function best under USB 2.0).
All in all, for a price under $120 delivered, this printer is an extraordinary buy.Updated
I've recently had occasion to use the duplexing feature. Duplexing print is seamless; all you have to do is check off a box. The printer handles printing on both sides easily.
On the subject of photos, I'm still amazed at how well this 3 color (plus black) printer reproduces the color range. I will compare my photo prints to those of any of the commercial photo services, and having the ability to edit my shots, at home, is a major benefit.
This printer is an excellent bargain, especially at the price.
Pros Great Photo prints, quick, very quiet, a great price.
Cons None.....well... the paper feed guides are a bit flimsy.
Summary I took back an HP 8250 Photosmart, broken photo paper tray, and I was shown the Canon. I've been extremely happy with this printer. It prints better and faster than the HP printer. I love the dual paper trays. I can leave the bottom tray full of photo paper while I print out of the top one. Switching is a snap, just a touch of a button and your ready. The price for what it can do is amazing. I saved $50.00 buy switching printers and the Canon is better in every way.
Pros Good printer
Cons Extortionate ink pricing
Summary I loved this printer until one of the color inks ran empty. Then it refused to print until I replaced the low cartridge. It would not even print black text in grayscale, which does not use any the color cartridges.
So, out I went to buy a new cyan cartridge. It turns out that I had to buy a whole set of cartridges, at over $80. I couldn't buy just the one I needed. I had visions of myself spending $80 every time just one color emptied, as I collected a whole shelf full of colors I didn't need. I couldn't believe it, so checked other stores, and they were all the same. So, this extorniate piece of crap goes in the dumpster, and I will never, ever, buy a printer without checking on the ink situation. And I will never, ever buy another Canon printer because of this.
Pros Draft Speed, Photo Print Speed, Paper handling (Cartridge & Top Feeder), Drivers and Software, Easy Setup,
Cons Slow high quality print speed; Color accuracy
Summary I wanted to say perfect, however I refrained from using the perfect rating just because there is always room for improvement.
My frame of reference for this review is:
a) I'm a long time photo hobbyist with prior dark-room experience
b) My prior ink-jet printer was a high-end $400, purchased 10 years ago! (My value perspective is skewed by the amazing advancement in printer technology over the passed few years.)
c) I have an engineering background in an electronic related field
d) I've used this printer for about 1 week before writing this review.
e) I haven't had the opportunity to evaluate any other printer in this class.
f) I haven't spent any time tweaking photos in photoshop or using the printer utilities to optimize color rendition.
g) I have no financial interest of affiliation with Canon.
That being said, I was debating between buying a $500 high-end printer and a $100 budget model. I wanted to have a printer which could do both text and photo's. Staples had this printer on sale for $100, so before plunking down $500, I thought I would own a $100 model first and get an education on photo-printers. I've heard about the expense associated with the high-end models and some issues with reliabilty and decided to defer my high-end photo printer purchase.
It's absolutely amazing what this $100 printer can do. For comparison I've had the same digital image printed by this printer, Shutterfly, CVS, and a dye sublimation printer at a local photo specialty store. The quality of the prints (details and color rendition/precision) easily exceeds that of CVS, Shutterfly and Mystic (mail order, film based). The more expensive dye sublimation print was superior but not by much. The colors of the Canon print don't match the screen exactly, but I found this with all of the test prints from the above mentioned sources. If you have been happy with Internet, CVS or mail order photo services like Mystic, you will definitely be satisfied with the prints produced by this printer - Canon prints, in my opinion, are superior.
If you are a professional photographer or have a very very critical eye, you will find some fault with the pictures - but those types of people should not be buying $100 printers and expect art/professional-quality photo finishing.
Rest assured, the prints delivered from his Canon printer are very good! The laymen I've shown the prints to have been very impressed and very pleased with the quality. I will, however, be buying a dedicated high-end printer in a few years when I have more hobby time and the performance/reliabilty/cost improves.
For my other computer printing needs, this printer is excellent. Most of the time I print in draft mode for expediency and to keep the costs down. I don't typically keep draft documents for a long period of time. The draft mode text/graphic quality and performance is very good and certainly much better than my 10-year old HP ink-jet in draft. The high-quality text and graphics is excellent, albeit much slower relative to draft. (This is true for all printers.)
The software is very easy to install and use. The photo printing utility makes it very easy to select prints and crop to fit the paper format size.
The paper management mechanism is excellent. I keep plain paper in the cassette and use the top feeder for envelopes and prints. The printer can be configured to select the paper source automatically or manually.
It's too early to make an assesment on reliabilty, print quality consistency, or consumable costs (ink & paper). I'll update this review as I gain more experience.
In short, I highly recommend this printer. It's an outstanding value.Updated
It is a great printer for the price - or is it?
Great features but drinks ink like a fish. I complained to Canons customer service and they told me to expect around 80 4x6 prints per ink cartridge set. That amounts to about $1 per 4x6 picture including paper - compared to $0.28 for those stand-alone dye sublimation printers.
Printer has good features (I like the duplex printing capabilities & paper feeder options), modest print speeds, modest quality picture printing - certainly better than most one-hour photo shops and online services. HOWEVER - consider yourself warned - the low initial price of this printer is nothing compared to what you'll pay in ink! By the way, Canon technical support is great.Updated
I'm very dissappointed with the ink consumption of this printer. I spoke to a Canon representative (their technical support is excellent) and they told me a colleague of his was getting 80 4 x 6 prints when low ink warnings are given. This translates to about $1 per print including paper. Compare that to the $0.28 per print cost of the stand-alone dye sublimation photo-printers and commercial phot services. I've own this printer now for four months, I've printed around 30 4 x 6 prints and around 150 pages (single sided) of draft grey-scale text and my magenta low ink warning light is on, and the remaining ink wells are around 40%. Unfortunately printer ink costs are not covered well in the reviews I have read. Buyer beware!Updated
I've had this printer for 7 months - already on my second cartridge set. I'm a light duty user so I'm very dissapointed with ink usage. I'm switching auto-power off mode to always on to see if ink usage is better. (The 4200 cleans the heads everytime it powers up. This wastes a lot of ink.) It's pretty frustrating to see ink being consumed when you're hardly printing anything. At $50+ per cartridge set I'm seriously considering cutting my losses and decommisioning this printer! This will be the last Canon printer I'll buy. Lesson learned - don't post any inkjet review until you had sufficient time to evaluate life-cycle costs! (Corollary - look for reviews from users who have had a time to evaluate ink costs!) Do yourself a favor and don't buy this printer! Canon your greed is a big dissapointment - the Canon scanner and cameras I own are top notch, its a shame your printer division has taken this contemptable marketing strategy - low printer cost with outrageous consumable costs!