Despite being $50 more than the next most expensive printer on the chart, this top-of-the-line personal ink jet makes its Top 10 debut this month thanks to fine output and top-notch documentation.
As Canon's high-end personal printer, the BJC-7000 comes with some extra features its siblings, the BJC-250 and BJC-4300, don't. It's capable of a higher maximum resolution (1200 by 600 dpi). It also includes a case for the resting ink cartridge, which attaches handily to the back of the printer. Besides having preconfigured settings for photos, graphics, and transparencies like the other Canon printers', the BJC-7000's driver gives users control over cyan, magenta, yellow, and black settings, plus brightness and intensity. We liked the flexibility but found the labyrinthine interface--full of tabs, buttons, and more tabs--confusing.
An intriguing difference is the 7000's black-cartridge design. Intended to produce coated-paper results on plain paper, the cartridge has an extra tank full of a clear sealant that preps the paper before the ink sprays. This potential selling point --most ink jets do poorly on plain paper--is not quite successful. The BJC-7000's black text on plain paper looks better than most ink jets', but color and gray scales show little improvement over normal ink jets'--they're still a bit faded and blurry. On coated ink jet paper, however, the BJC-7000 renders flesh tones, earth tones, and other difficult colors with subtlety. It even does okay with narrow lines, while other printers improve little on ink jet paper.
The BJC-7000 includes the same nice CD-ROM bundle as other Canons. Its manual offers strong troubleshooting. But changing ink cartridges can be tricky, and the unit is loud, even when idle. Also, its output tray is a floppy plastic plate that needs to rest on a desk.
Street Price: $449
Print Quality: Good color, text, and gray scale; adequate line art
Ease of Use: Very good Tested
Print Speed: 2.3 ppm text, 0.3 ppm graphics