Canon i455 Desktop Photo Printer
At a Glance
Though "Photo Printer" is part of its name, we consider the Canon i455 a general-purpose inkjet printer. For one thing, it uses only four inks, instead of the six or seven that most photo printers employ. For another, it does a fine job with text and plain-paper graphics, as well as with photos. In PC World's tests, the i455 printed top-quality glossies in both gray-scale and color. Gray-scale photos had good detail and smooth shading, and the superbly detailed color photos had natural-looking textures and colors. The printer costs a mere $80.
The i455 printed text at 5.3 pages per minute, exceeding the 4.9 ppm average of recently tested inkjets, and it impressed us with its crisp letterforms, though they looked a little light. Unlike most inkjets, the i455 prints very narrow parallel lines distinctly, without blending them into a big blob. Color and gray-scale photos looked great on both glossy paper and higher-quality inkjet paper. Canon's driver lets you print watermarks or use an existing image file as a light background, and it can convert photos into duotones.
In page yield tests, ink costs for the i455 were slightly below average: 3.9 cents per black page (compared with the average of 4.3 cents per page), and 11.2 cents per page for color and black (compared with the average of 11.4 cents per page).
On the downside, the i455 has no slots for media cards and no LCD for selecting the images you want to print. But it does have a port for uploading and printing images from a PictBridge-enabled camera, which you connect via a standard USB cable.
Canon made the i455 tall rather than deep, so it conserves desktop real estate. Its paper trays are unusually sturdy and you can fold them shut when they're empty. The documentation is uniformly good: A well-designed installation guide makes it easy to set up and install the printer. The clearly written printed manual covers the basics of using the printer and conveniently includes a table of contents for the much more detailed manual that comes on the installation CD.
For very good all-purpose printing plus great photo output, the i455 is a bargain--as long as you don't need media-card slots.