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)|
The Canon also performed surprisingly well in our quality tests. It printed text onto 20-pound generic office paper with dense, well-saturated ink. The characters formed precise, crisp edges with no visible blurriness and minimal misshapes in 8x loupe magnification. The color graphics test came out solid and evenly distributed, but there were certain portions of our graphics document that came out with a slightly neutral color, specifically in areas with gradual color gradients. We repeated our tests in three iterations, and these imperfections were consistent but will likely be unnoticeable unless you have a sharp eye for print quality. In all cases, the photos produced vivid colors and text that popped from the page. Most importantly, we found these results to be accurate over the cartridges' entire life cycle.
We were also impressed with the 4x6 photos we printed on Canon's semigloss paper. They're definitely far from perfect, but the colors were balanced evenly and our subjects' faces appeared to contain an even amount of cyan and magenta, a task that's difficult for most lower-end photo printers to achieve. The solid printing performance and relatively quick output speeds make this printer an affordable choice for printing text, light graphics documents, and digital pictures.
Service and support
Canon ensures support for the iP2600 for a limited 90 days after the purchase date, a meager amount compared with Epson's guaranteed one-year warranty. However, if you do encounter an issue that can't be solved over the phone, you'll still be protected by Canon's "InstaExchange" service: a new printer will be sent out with instructions inside on how to use the RMA number to send your defective unit back to Canon. The highlight of this service is that your new printer will be shipped out the same day, as long as you call in before 3 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.