First Look: Canon's Impressive Portable Printer
Canon's $250 Pixma iP90 portable photo printer offers good prints for mobile users. The 4-pound unit prints better and faster than its predecessor, the Canon i80, and even competes with full-size rivals.
The PC World Test Center clocked the iP90 printing text at 6.3 pages per minute--faster than many desktop inkjet printers and 10 percent quicker than the i80. Color graphics came at a relatively slow 1.4 ppm, but our test photo printed in a reasonable 2 minutes, 33 seconds, nearly a minute faster than the i80.
In our quality tests, the iP90 produced text documents full of finely formed characters. The print was dark and very readable, although on several occasions we noticed slightly misaligned characters. There was also a moderate amount of banding in our plain-paper line art and color graphics samples, but overall the clarity of the prints impressed us.
On photo paper, color and gray-scale images looked a little light; and compared with prints from full-size inkjets, the images lacked some contrast, which made them look slightly blurry. That said, the unit produced very crisp photos for a portable printer.
The iP90 comes equipped with a 7-ounce universal power adapter, but to get the most on your travels, you'll have to spring for the optional $100 battery and charging kit. A car power adapter costs $90.
The iP90 offers plenty of connectivity options but lacks the memory card slots found on some portable printers. In addition to a USB port, there's a built-in infrared port (useful with cell-phone cameras), a PictBridge port for compatible cameras, and an $80 Bluetooth option.
The iP90 represents a solid traveling companion for anyone who finds they often need to print on the go.
Canon Pixma iP90
A speedy portable printer, but beware the rising price when adding optional equipment.
Street price: $250
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