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Canon Pixma iP4950 review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 25 Aug 2011

Reviewed By: David Bayon

Price when reviewed: £66 (£79 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £365
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

Author: David Bayon

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User comments

Magenta cast

Will Canon have fixed the magenta cast issue of the ip4850 (which I bought last year on PC Pro's advice)? Does anyone know of a fix when printing grey scale photos?

By gjmiles1 on 1 Sep 2011

Magenta cast

Will Canon have fixed the magenta cast issue of the ip4850 (which I bought last year on PC Pro's advice)? Does anyone know of a fix when printing grey scale photos?

By gjmiles1 on 1 Sep 2011

As reliable as the IP4600?

The print quality sounds great, but should I risk this IP4950 to replace the former best buy Canon IP4600 that has died in a noisy way after less than 21 months of light usage (mine lasted longer than my father-in-law's IP4600 died after 18-months with the same symptoms)
I shall not risk it - the internal mechanisms cannot have changed much in 2 years.
Just dusting off my ancient HP 1220C - that still works perfectly...

By stoneybroke1 on 31 Dec 2011

Tiny Ink Cartridges

In my opinion, the reviewer should have heavily criticised this printer's tiny ink cartridges. I was thinking about upgrading my ageing canon IP5300 (a former A-list printer), but have since realised that the cartridge size has shrunk from 13ml to 9ml, and to top it off they are more expensive! Canon should not have been rewarded with another A-list award when they are using such underhand money making techniques.

By Squit on 20 Jun 2012

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