With a recommended retail price of just AU$89, it's easy to toss aside this unit as an el cheapo ink box that's sure to churn out low-quality prints with speeds as slow as molasses. But if you're the type who glares at specifications, you'll be quick to spot a few interesting tidbits. This sub-$100 printer has plenty under its sleeves, producing outputs much better than we anticipated.
First off, Canon's powerful marketing machine will attempt to thrust down your throats a new four-letter term, FINE. This is short for the company's proprietary full-photolithography inkjet nozzle engineering technology. What this mouthful of jargon basically means is that the Japanese vendor has been able to bestow this inkjet with more nozzles than most of its competitors. Still, from the information we've received, the PixMa iP1000 contains 1,088 nozzles, a far cry from the maximum 6,144 nozzles found on Canon's 8-ink beast.
Strangely, the new printhead technology comes with increased ink droplet volumes. While the older but popular i470D sported 2-picoliter droplet sizes, the newfangled iP1000 features a volume of 5 picoliters.
With regard to design, the PixMa 1000 does not have the radical makeover that the rest of the soon-to-be-released PixMa range have. Instead, this budget inkjet comes in the all-too-familiar boxy XNU chassis. This time, though, it's clad in darker black-and-gray hues -- at least it won't get so dirty quickly. Also, to fit the sub-$100 price bracket, the iP1000 doesn't sport the Advanced Media Handling (AMH) abilities of the more expensive PIXMA inkjets (duplexing, CD/DVD media printing, etc).
Like the rest of its better endowed cousins, this PIXMA is similarly easy to install and configure. However, you do get the budget variant of Canon's setup process -- there's no automatic printhead alignment even though the unit reminds you to do it.
The software suite consists of six applications totalling 240MB. This took approximately 6 minutes to install on our HP Pavillion t488d test system. For the more advanced users, there's a customisable configuration and the device's driver takes up 50MB alone.
When you power on the unit, prep your ears for a rather rackety start-up process. There aren't any dampeners to soften the noise generated by the nozzle-clearing exercise or the motors driving the printhead. The chintzy plastic construction doesn't help minimize vibrations, either. Fortunately, the iP1000's performance is as vocal as its motor's boisterous nature. This budget unit completed our 10-page draft test in less than 2 minutes. Even under normal quality settings, the timings did not change much. For photos, the canon pixma 1000 inherits the XNU i255's inability to output borderless A4 pictures. That said, high-quality A4 prints took about 4 minutes and smaller borderless 6 x 4 inch photos needed just under 2 minutes.
With regard to quality, this PIXMA produces pretty impressive prints -- considering the price. However, when compared with the better inkjets, the iP1000's photos exhibit dithering and a slight yellow cast. In addition, because of Canon's decision not to include an output tray, the photos show a noticeable band near the rear of the print.
When you consider the starting price, you'll find it difficult to kvetch about the iP1000's features and performance. For those looking for a decent printer without wanting to feel the pinch on their pockets, the C43UX should be very appealing. However, should you require borderless A4 photos, be prepared to pay more.
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