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Canon i350 Color Bubble Jet Printer

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder I350 Color BubbleJet Printer (Canon-8549A001)

Canon i350 Color Bubble Jet Printer
Photograph: Rick Rizner

Canon's i350 costs only $60 and resembles a loaf of bread, but the little machine impressed us in most stages of PC World's testing. It printed solid, well-defined black text with only subtle hatching or barbs on diagonal lines. On plain paper, the i350 produced gray-scale photos with realistic textures and shading, though a slightly soft-focus look obscured detail somewhat. (Our prints on coated inkjet paper looked sharper.) On glossy photo paper, the i350 printed our test photos with sharp detail; colors looked natural though slightly washed out. We clocked the i350 printing text at 5.4 pages per minute, a fairly average speed among inkjets we've tested lately; on graphics, the rate fell to an unusually slow 0.7 ppm. One warning: When we handled plain-paper printouts, the inks tended to smear.

Working with the i350 was largely a positive experience. The unit comes with a detailed, carefully illustrated setup poster, and the driver installs itself: You simply connect a USB cable, insert the driver CD, and wait for a message inviting you to turn on the printer's power. The printer's single status light uses various flashes to indicate problems; you'll have to refer to the manual to figure out what it's trying to tell you, but Canon provides excellent documentation with the i350. The 60-page manual describes driver features and troubleshooting, and it reproduces the table of contents for the larger on-screen manual. If the i350 has an Achilles' heel, that must be its flimsy paper trays; be sure to fold them out of harm's way when they're empty. We didn't like how noisy the printer was while under steam, either.

The i350 uses the same driver that runs most Canon inkjets. This driver lets you adjust each ink density independently, create duotones, and place a watermark or external image file in the background. It also guides you through two-sided printing for making booklets. The driver interface sometimes requires more windows than ought to be necessary. The watermark feature, for example, has three tabs of its own, though it isn't difficult to figure out.

The i350 uses two ink cartridges. The black tank costs $7 and prints an estimated 300 pages of text, which works out to a modest 2.3 cents per page. Printing color, on the other hand, isn't particularly cheap. A three-color cartridge costs $18.50 and produces an estimated 170 pages of light graphics (not photos); so you'll use about 12.2 cents of ink (including the cost of black ink) per color page, versus our current average of 10 cents per page.

The i350 is for bargain hunters who won't compromise on print quality, but can live without fast print speeds and fancy features.

Dan Littman

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder I350 Color BubbleJet Printer (Canon-8549A001)

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