Canon Pixma iP4700 review

28 Aug 2009

A very minor upgrade, but it's still the best all-round home photo printer you can currently buy

Price when reviewed 
84
5

Canon's flagship standalone inkjet looks suitably glossy and current. It glimmers moodily under the lights, with its clean design and compact, foldaway dimensions. Its name, the iP4700, suggests progression from the previously A-Listed iP4600. Problem is, it's pretty much the same printer.

There are a few minor differences. The silver trim has now gone, so the body is all black, and the rear ports are recessed far enough so that it can comfortably be pushed flush against a wall. But the rest remains constant: rear and base paper trays for plain and photo paper types; an opening on the front for the supplied CD and DVD-printing tray; the PictBridge port at the foot of the right-hand side.

Canon's official specifications claim the print engine is slightly quicker, so we loaded the five familiar ink tanks and ran our tests. The times were almost identical to those of the iP4600. Not that this is a bad thing: a 6 x 4in photo at high quality arrived in just 47 seconds, rising to 1min 37secs for our full A4 photomontage. Documents were a little slower, with a rate of 8.8ppm in normal mono mode, and 4.6ppm in colour. That isn't quite up there with dearer office-focused inkjets, but it's nippy for a home model, and the integrated duplex unit will save on paper.

Quality was every bit as impressive as previously, with the pigmented black ink producing gloriously thick and bold text. That tank won't be touched when you print photos, and the remaining dye-based black and colours make for sharp, detailed images. Colours were vibrant but not overly saturated, and our monochrome photo was flawlessly neutral - a feat many home inkjets can't manage.

Since this is very much a consumer device you're limited to a single USB connection on the back, and the omission of media card slots is a little disappointing for Canon's top inkjet model. But there really isn't a great deal else to criticise.

At £73, it's barely any dearer than the iP4600 - which is the least we'd expect given their similarity - and it accepts the same five cartridges for between £4 and £8 each from Amazon.co.uk. That makes for a photo cost of around 11.4p before paper costs are added, and a document rate of 5.8p for a colour page of text and images. Not at all unreasonable.

It seems strange to be giving such high marks and an A-List spot to a printer we've freely acknowledged does almost nothing to improve on its predecessor, but since the iP4600 will soon be off the shelves, you'd be crazy not to switch your attentions to the iP4700. It may not innovate, but it's still the best home inkjet around.

Details

Price ex VAT £73
Price inc VAT £84
Performance 6
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5

Basic Specifications

Colour? yes
Resolution printer final 9600 x 2400dpi
Ink-drop size 1.0pl
Integrated TFT screen? no
Rated/quoted print speed 9PPM
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function yes

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page N/A
Cost per A4 colour page 5.8p
Inkjet technology Thermal
Ink type Dye-based black & colour, pigment-based black

Power and noise

Peak noise level 46.5dB(A)
Dimensions 431 x 296 x 153mm (WDH)
Peak power consumption 17W

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time 47s
A4 photo print time 1min 37s
Mono print speed (measured) 9ppm
Colour print speed 5ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? yes
Input tray capacity 300 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? no
Bluetooth connection? no
WiFi connection? no
PictBridge port? yes
Other connections None

Flash media

SD card reader no
Compact Flash reader no
Memory Stick reader no
xD-card reader no
USB flash drive support? yes

OS Support

Operating system Windows 7 supported? yes
Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Windows 2000 supported? yes
Operating system Windows 98SE supported? no
Other operating system support Mac OS X 10.3.9 and above
Software supplied Canon Easy-PhotoPrint EX, CD-LabelPrint