Canon's Pixima range of desktop printers has had a pretty good life from the perspective of sales. When it comes to performance, it hasn’t fared all that bad either. The latest form the company is from their iP2600 series - the iP2680 desktop inkjet printer.
On the plus side the iP2680 is quite light weight so it’s easy to move around although that shouldn’t really be necessary at all. While it may have the look of classy styling with its sleek black glossy finish, it’s also quite the finger print magnet. The front output tray is not something that can easily get in the way of work space and the extension can easily be swung inside to save on space again. The tray even comes with a sensor that will notify users that a print has been given and the tray is closed. It’s designed to be as compact as possible while retaining the design and form of a rather traditional desktop printer.
It has a very simplistic design, like most printers. There aren’t too many buttons or settings you need to worry about. It’s print and go. A small switch is located just inside the front panel (very easily accessible) to choose between regular paper or envelope. The USB port is conveniently located at the rear on one side. I really wish they’d provide longer USB cables. In case your CPU happens to be on the opposite side you’ll end up either having to move it or have the wire stretching across your table. This is perhaps the only faux pas in the otherwise sleek design.
On the whole it does have a certain appeal in terms of looks and comfortable design. I could, however, have done without the glossy finish, just plain matt-black would have been better in my opinion.
The iP2680 is equipped with Canon's FINE print head with 1,472 nozzles for high speed and quality print. The ChromaLife100 technology is also part of the printers make up. This technology helps produce fade resistant prints that should, according to the company last up to 100 years. I’m not sure how that’s calculated though.
Bundled with the iP2680 was Canon's Easy-Photo-Print EX software. It will allow you to edit your pictures (to a certain extent) to help enhance your prints. It’s a handy application to have, but of course no substitute to Photoshop or others like that. Nevertheless, the inclusion of the same is a bonus and the preloaded settings for creating calendars, albums etc. is always useful when you’re looking to create and personalize.
Performance and Price
There’s absolutely no fuss at all when it comes to set-up of course, but like I said, the bundled USB cable provided could definitely have been a little longer.
For your daily usage of simple black and white document prints, the iP2680 is a quite the performer. With our tests, the printer fared quite well. The Fonts were clear and visible. Even the more minute print sections looked pretty readable. There was, and this was only on close scrutiny, a small amount of spillage that was detected. This is quite natural for almost all printers and there are perhaps only a handful that would be good enough to get past this. However good the quality may be, I was not too happy with the 14-second-per-sheet time frame. Even on basic settings I did expect more. It took 5 minutes and 35 seconds to print the 20 sheets we use in our speed test. Needless to say it takes just too darn long. If you’re looking at a lot of printing in a short time, the iP2680 is not for you. The timing was quite consistent for each sheet. In fast mode, the later pages’ print time dropped a bit to 12.4 seconds. Not much of an improvement.
The time it took for the print command to actually activate a print in the printer was about 5.3 seconds most times. There’s also an unusually long gap in between each page that’s printing even while consecutively printing sheets.
Our Black and White photo test revealed that the black levels could have been better. Not that they were way below par or anything, it’s just that there was slight reddish tint to the print, although the detailing was really quite good even in the more delicate portions of the designs.
It averaged about 3 minutes and 30 seconds for a full A4 page color print on photo paper and 1 minute 10 seconds for the much smaller postcard sized prints. With our regular photo tests the reproductions looked quite good with a fair amount of detail and color retained. When reviewing the gradient test for color the colors really came out quite well on the whole. They seemed crisp and quite sharp.
The Bottom Line
The price tag on the iP2680 is Rs. 3, 695. (Color Cartridge costs Rs. 1100 and Black and white cartridge Rs. 800). While that does seem like a pretty good rate for a desk top inkjet printer, I have to say that the price doesn’t quite match the product. It does manage to deliver fairly well in terms of quality, no large issues here, speed is where it really loses its points. Considering some of the previous models I did expect a whole lot more in this case.
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