capsule review

Canon i80 Color Bubble Jet Printer

At a Glance
  • Canon i80 Bubble Jet Printer

Canon i80 Color Bubble Jet Printer
Photograph: Rick Rizner

Canon's diminutive i80 is the smallest mobile printer PC World has seen in quite a while, and the least expensive--until you add a rechargeable battery or Bluetooth adapter. We got a kick out of using the i80 and marveled at its compact design: The upper half of the shell flips open to become a 30-sheet paper tray. The configuration we tested weighed 4 pounds, plus 10 ounces for the AC adapter. Its dimensions--2 inches thick and about 12 inches wide by 7 inches deep--make it easy to tote.

To take full advantage of the i80's mobility, you'll have to buy the $100 battery and charging kit. This assembly snaps onto the back of the printer, adding a little girth and 1.5 more pounds. Another charging option is a cradle--a desktop base that the printer fits into with the battery attached. Together with the portable kit, the cradle costs $140. People who spend a lot of time in their automobiles might want to spring for a car charger ($90 extra). When fully charged, the battery should last for 450 pages, according to Canon. An optional Bluetooth card, which tucks under the output slot, costs $80.

The i80's ink costs are higher than those of most desktop models: In lab testing conducted for PC World by the Rochester Institute of Technology, a page of black ink costs 5.3 cents, and a page of color plus black costs 13.4 cents. (Costs per page from HP's portable DeskJet 450wbt were similar: 5.1 cents for black and 13.6 cents for color plus black.) The i80's cartridges are small to match the printer (though they come two to a pack). The black cartridge lasted for 113 pages, and the color cartridge for 136.

Despite its small size, the i80 printed text at a creditable 5.7 pages per minute, (better than the 4.9 ppm average of recently tested all-purpose inkjets). Its text looked strongly black, though we noticed a bit of splatter at large type sizes. On plain paper the i80 printed color graphics at a below-average 1 ppm, but it was more impressive when printing glossy photos: It took about 3.5 minutes to print PC World's test photo, whereas recently tested general-purpose inkjets averaged almost 4 minutes. The i80's photo quality was only slightly below that of dedicated photo printers; color photos had a slightly reddish cast but accurate texture and good detail.

The i80 makes a good traveling companion, but we think Canon should have included the battery in the package.

Dan Littman

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • Canon i80 Bubble Jet Printer

Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.