Canon Pixma iP6600D
At a Glance
A 3.5-inch color LCD dominates the top of the $199 Canon Pixma iP6600D. The display--the largest we've seen on an inkjet printer--flips upward, making it easy to preview images and navigate the menus, including options for touching up photos. A door on the front of the printer conceals two media card slots that are capable of reading the most common card formats (Compact Flash, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Microdrive, MultiMedia Card, SD Card, and SmartMedia). But you'll need an optional adapter to use other formats (Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro Duo, miniSD Card and xD-Picture Card). Transferring images from media cards to your PC is relatively fast, thanks to the USB 2.0 connection between the printer and your PC. A direct-print port lets you print straight from a PictBridge-compatible digital camera via a USB cable. Unlike competing models from Epson and HP, though, the iP6600D can't print images from USB flash drives plugged into its direct-print port. However, it does have a built-in IrDA interface that lets you print from camera phones and PDAs with infrared transmitters, and an optional Bluetooth adapter is available for $80.
The iP6600D can hold sheets of different sizes, and a lot of them. A drawer in the base of the printer takes up to 150 sheets of letter-size paper, sticking out of the front to do so. When holding 4-by-6-inch or 5-by-7-inch paper, the drawer remains flush with the front panel. The upright sheet feeder at the back of the printer can hold an additional 150 sheets, and accommodates up to legal-size paper. The iP6600D comes with a built-in duplexer for making double-sided prints, and before printing on the second side it waits a few seconds so the ink on the first side can dry.
Each of the printer's six ink cartridges has a red LED that flashes slowly when the ink is running low, and then more quickly as the cartridge nears empty. This handy feature makes it obvious which cartridge needs to be changed.
On photo paper, the iP6600D made very high quality prints. Photos looked bold, with plenty of contrast and fine detail, although skin tones looked more bronze than we would have liked. Grayscale images looked very attractive overall, though they had a slight magenta cast and highlights lacked some detail. Unlike the Canon Pixma iP5200R that we also tested this month, the iP6600D has no pigment black ink. Consequently, text prints from the iP5200R looked better. The iP6600D printed some larger characters with small flecks of white paper showing through, and some blotting into the paper made edges look fuzzy. The iP6600D printed distinct lines at small sizes in our line art print, though horizontal ripples in vertical lines and a gritty texture on horizontal lines marred the print somewhat. Color graphics printed on plain paper lacked detail in dark areas, and skin tones appeared unnatural; facial details looked sharp, however.
Only a few months ago we would have been extolling the iP6600D's print speeds, but the iP6600D seems a little poky compared to a few other new models. The iP6600D printed text at 3.2 pages per minute, and graphics at 1.5 ppm; its sibling, the Canon iP5200R, printed text at a ripping 8.7 ppm and graphics at 2.9 ppm. The iP6600D took 45 seconds to print a 5-by-7-inch photo, but the HP Photosmart 8250 printed the same photo in just 29 seconds.
The iP6600D is particularly well suited for printing photos directly from a digital camera or media card, and two paper trays and a duplexer add to its versatility.