Canon Pixma iP1700
At a Glance
Clad in two shades of dull gray plastic, the Pixma iP1700 is a surprisingly capable low-cost photo printer with a minimalist design. The top and front panels flip open to create an input area or to provide access to the black and tricolor ink cartridges, but only the documentation shows you how to perform these operations--the hardware gives you no obvious visual cues. The printer's control panel consists of a few buttons and lights, labeled with puzzling icons. There's no output tray.
The HTML-based documentation supplied a thorough explanation of the control panel. But when I checked the printed Quick Start Guide, I found a disturbing error: Its explanation of the Resume/Cancel button depicts a finger pressing the Power button instead. Imagine following that instruction in the middle of a job. In other respects the printed and HTML documentation is good.
Canon piles on the useful bundled software. Easy-PhotoPrint and PhotoRecord let you edit, organize, and print digital photos. Easy-WebPrint helps you format and print Web content so that it doesn't run off the page.
In our tests, the Pixma iP1700 held its own. It printed our ten-page text file at 8.6 pages per minute--slower than the like-priced Lexmark Z845, but faster than many more-expensive models. High-resolution glossy photos printed at a snappy 1.3 ppm.
Print quality was adequate. Text samples looked black and smooth despite feathery edges to some letters. Most color images looked natural, though some suffered from limited contrast and banding, even when printed on glossy photo paper.
It would be easy to sneer at a $50 (as of January 6, 2007) printer, but not Canon's Pixma iP1700. For the money, you get good overall speed and output, along with some reasonable compromises.