The Pixma iP2600 is Canon's inkjet photo printer for users on a budget. The retail price is $49.99, replacing the Pixma iP1800 as its entry-level, straightforward printer with limited features. As expected in a baseline product, the iP2600 lacks a PictBridge port and a memory card slot but makes up for it with a sleek design, competitive print speeds, and bold, crisp prints. The photos themselves are also incredibly easy to crop, repair, and alter using the included Easy-PhotoPrint EX software bundle. Overall, you'll find that this is a cost-effective printer for text documents and amateur-level photo printing.
It's obvious that Canon put a lot of work into the design of the iP2600. The sleek exterior is 5.6x17.4x10 inches and has a glossy black, slightly mirrored finish that looks sleek on your desk--that is, until the dust settles, literally. The shiny body retains fingerprints, a lot like the display on the iPhone. Smudges aside, the iP2600 doesn't take up a lot of desk space, and it blended in nicely with the rest of our dark peripherals. The output and paper trays both fold into the unit when not in use, creating a tight box that could easily be mistaken for a stereo boom box. The output tray folds down from the face of the printer with a slightly flimsy rectangular arm that extends to corral loose paper. The arm doesn't have a cap at the end, which was counterproductive, and a few of our test sheets flew off the tray as a result. Annoying, but certainly not a deal-breaker.
The control panel is very minimalist, with only power and paper feed buttons on top of the printer. The power button also doubles as an alarm lamp that flashes orange when an error occurs. The power cord and the USB port are on the back. Potential buyers should be aware that you'll need a USB cord to connect the printer to a computer, but as is frustratingly common with printers, it's not included in the box. Appropriate for this price, there are no provisions for external bridge connectivity, so consumers looking to eliminate the middleman and plug a digital camera, a USB key, or a memory card directly into the IP2600 should look to a comparable, more fully featured (albeit higher priced) set like the HP Deskjet D4260 or the Epson Stylus Photo R260.
The Canon Pixma iP2600 performed admirably in our speed tests. The Pixma churned out 5.68 pages per minute (ppm) of black-and-white text, falling just short of the HP Deskjet 4260 ($75) at 6.03 ppm and the Lexmark Z845 ($50) at 6.85 ppm. The three printers are all within the same general sub-$100 price range, so the slight deficit is expected and acceptable compared with other budget inkjet printers.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|PPM (photo)||PPM (text)|