The first impression you get when you take the iP1200 out of the box, its “Damn, that thing's clunky!” Honestly, I was pretty disappointed with the unimaginative design and colors Canon had used on its starter-level printer. But once the tests started, you couldn't care less if the thing looked like a mule's behind, because the performance of the printer kills the rest of the competition.
The PIXMA iP1200 is the current base model in Canon's extensive line of printers. At a price point of Rs 2,750 it's an absolutely no-risk printer you can afford to buy and simply dispose if anything starts to go wrong. The cartridge prices are a bit steep (Rs. 1,000 for black and Rs. 1,200 for color), but with its excellent print capacity you won't be complaining.
In our tests, the printer chugged out 220 pages before the ink started showing signs of deterioration. That is not only around 80 pages better than it's closest competitor (HP 3940), but also better than printers that cost twice as much. And that's not all. Even at maximum quality, the iP1200 was more than twice as fast as the HP 3940, with the average full color page at highest quality settings, printing in only four and a half minutes.
So it's fast and it's economical, but is it any good? Well, it's kind of a mixed bag here. Our color gradient test showed us that the prints were quite accurate on the colors, and showed minimal banding at the complex color blends. But the black levels turned out looking a bit reddish. The problem was nowhere as bad as the Epson CX3700, but the trained eye would be able to spot this anomaly.
The detail levels captured in the photo tests were pretty good. Definitely not the type that you would expect from such a low-end printer. Even in the font tests the size 2 fonts were easily readable by the naked eye. Looking up close (with a magnifying glass) the bigger fonts showed a slight amount of ink spilling. But that would not be visible unless you hold the paper really close and look for it. This did not exist in the results from the HP 3940, which also performed better when handling complex geometric details in our vector tests.
The bottom line is that the Canon PIXMA iP1200 is an excellent starter-level printer for all household needs. The negatives we mentioned will not be cause for concern if you are a casual user, and the positive points definitely outweigh them. With a price point of Rs 2750, you seriously have nothing to lose.
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