Canon i80 Color Bubble Jet Printer
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.