Canon Pixma iP4950 review

25 Aug 2011

Unbeatable photo quality and good speed, although it’s barely changed from last year

Price when reviewed 
79
Buy it now for 
5

For a range that’s been on the PC Pro A-List for as long as Canon’s top-end Pixma inkjets, making significant annual improvements becomes more difficult. Last year’s iP4850 was more of a refinement than a full update, and so it is with the new iP4950 too: if you’re expecting a whole new print engine, you’re going to be disappointed.

The iP4950 keeps the glossy black finish of its predecessor, merely replacing the smooth silver trim around the lid with a textured grey. The same power and cancel buttons sit on the front edge, with a PictBridge port beneath them and a sole USB connection at the rear, and there are 150-sheet paper trays in the base and at the rear. It prints two-sided automatically and has an adaptor tray for printing directly onto optical discs.

Canon Pixma iP4950

It keeps the same five inks that Canon has long used for the high-end Pixmas. So you get both pigmented and dye-based blacks to cater for text and photo output, along with individual colours, and if you buy official chipped inks you’ll get access to the Creative Park Premium area of Canon’s website, which hosts plenty of artistic resources and media, such as images of famous prints.

The five inks seem to vary in price from month to month, with much depending on how cheaply you can buy a set. Right now several retailers are selling them, via Amazon, for around £9 a tank, which works out at 3p per mono page, 8.4p for a colour document and 15.6p for a 6 x 4in photo. There are plenty of cheaper options out there, but you’re paying for the iP4950’s print engine, and it’s still among the best there is.

Canon has tweaked it almost imperceptibly; so our test prints rolled out at 6.2ppm in colour and 11.1ppm in mono, up from the iP4850’s 6.1ppm and 10.5ppm. In draft mode, which is more than adequate for internal documents, we achieved 13ppm. A time of 46 seconds for a top-quality 6 x 4in photo is excellent, although an A4 print was oddly eight seconds slower than before, at 1min 46secs. Still, print quality is exactly as we’ve come to expect, with solid, black text, vibrant charts and graphics, and wonderfully sharp, detailed and punchy photos.

So once again, without really improving, the iP4950 takes over as our favourite dedicated photo inkjet, but there’s nothing at all here that warrants an upgrade from last year’s model (which you may still find online for less). And if you won’t make regular use of your photo paper, there are plenty of more economical document printers out there.

The iP4950 will be available from September 20th.

Details

Price ex VAT £66
Price inc VAT £79
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
Maximum paper size A4
Duplex function yes

Running costs

Cost per A4 mono page 3.0p
Cost per A4 colour page 8.4p
Inkjet technology Thermal
Ink type Dye-based black & colour, pigment-based black

Power and noise

Dimensions 431 x 297 x 153mm (WDH)

Performance tests

6x4in photo print time 46s
A4 photo print time 1min 46s
Mono print speed (measured) 11.1ppm
Colour print speed 6.2ppm

Media Handling

Borderless printing? yes
CD/DVD printing? yes
Input tray capacity 150 sheets

Connectivity

USB connection? yes
Ethernet connection? no
Bluetooth connection? no
PictBridge port? yes

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

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£385