Low-priced printers are nothing new – even if the Canon Pixma iP2600's £35 price tag is pretty special.
But in previous years, printer manufacturers had the uncanny knack of indicating exactly who was scrimping on the pennies while choosing their new pride and joy. For while the middle and high-end inkjets were adorned with beautiful curves and smart livery, the low-end models tended to look, well, rather less expensive. But the egalitarians at Canon have clearly decided that this won't do, and the stunningly cheap Canon Pixma iP2600 has a glorious exterior. The Canon Pixma iP2600 will be available in the UK from mid-March 2008.
And the Canon Pixma iP2600 is practical too. Perhaps the output tray isn't the most substantial we've seen, but it worked effectively during our tests, and we didn't experience one problem with jammed paper.
Of course, there are a few omissions. You won't get any memory card slots, for instance, and neither do you get PictBridge. But otherwise, there's very little you have to do without when opting for the Canon Pixma iP2600.
Manufacturers quoted print speeds on inkjets are rarely to be taken seriously, and the Canon Pixma iP2600's figures are particularly laughable – for 22 pages per minute (ppm) and 17ppm on black and colour respectively, read 8ppm and 3.2ppm. Nonetheless, the speed isn't at all bad given the price, and the output in the Canon Pixma iP2600's draft modes is actually quite pleasing to the eye – and dark enough to be useful.
Image quality is surprisingly good too. The middle mode for the text gave relatively dark characters at a rate of 6.5ppm. Not all of the letters were particularly well defined (not even in the highest quality mode), but for everyday printing, the Canon Pixma iP2600 is certainly good enough.
Graphics are also pleasing. The Canon Pixma iP2600's colours were perhaps a little light, even after opting for the most intense palette available, but the results were generally very attractive. Here you should expect a rate of 1.4ppm for decent results.
Running costs are perhaps an issue – as you might expect from the price – but we didn't find the Canon to be any more expensive to run than the typical inkjets and multifunction printers available for less than £45.
For only marginally more you can get a very decent multifunction printer that offers slightly better performance and adds scanning and copying features to the mix. However, that price is really rather stunning. Given the obvious limitations set by its price, the Canon Pixma iP2600 is an excellent effort from Canon.