Canon Pixma iP5000 review: Canon Pixma iP5000

The Page Setup tab sets orientation, duplexing, and number of copies. It also allocates a margin for stapling along any edge. The Stamp/Background tab lets you mark each page with a notice, such as draft, or overprint a page with a background image or a watermark. Other tabs add color toning such as sepia or pink hues to pages, boost saturation of greens and blues to accentuate the foliage and the sky without affecting skin tones, and apply Canon's Image Optimizer settings to reduce artifacts in low-resolution images. Although noise reduction is better done in a digital camera or an image editor, Canon offers that feature, too, as a quick fix. Any of these settings can be saved as a profile for reuse.

The Maintenance tab has the customary nozzle-cleaning and printhead alignment functions, along with a useful bottom-plate-cleaning step that uses a piece of letter-size paper that's been folded and straightened out to wipe the printer clean prior to two-sided printing.

The Canon Pixma iP5000 printed CNET Labs' 10-page plain-paper text-speed test quickly, averaging 7.1 pages per minute (ppm). It performed a little bit quicker than its slightly less expensive sibling, the iP4000, which scored 6.7ppm on the same test. The iP5000 printed the Labs' 8x10 color test photo on Canon's Photo Pro paper in 1.9 minutes--a good, fast time but a mite slower than the iP4000's 1.8 minutes on the same test. This is likely a consequence of the smaller droplets, which we imagine require a slower movement of the printhead to achieve the correct placement and density.

CNET Labs inkjet printer perfomance (pages per minute)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Photo speed  
Text speed  
Canon Pixma iP5000
Canon Pixma iP4000
HP DeskJet 6840
Print quality

The gamut produced by the Pixma iP5000's four-color ink set can't match those of real photo printers. However, its minuscule droplets produced excellent text--some of the best we've seen--and allowed the printer to render photos with far more detail and accuracy in the midtones than comparable four-color models do. Skin tones looked very good, color gradients showed no color banding, and small text--Roman down to 2 points and italic down to 2.5 points--was surprisingly well formed. We saw a full range of colors with good saturation, particularly in images that had been color-boosted in Photoshop.

Canon's support for the Pixma line includes a one-year limited warranty and a broad range of telephone and online support options. A toll-free live technical-support line is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. There's also a toll-free TDD line for the hearing-impaired and a separate number to locate authorized service centers for carry-in repairs.

We found that Canon's Web site had everything we needed, including downloadable drivers and manuals, a comprehensive set of FAQs that answered most questions, and an interactive step-by-step troubleshooting wizard. If all else fails and you don't want to wait in a telephone queue, Canon offers an e-mail address for sending questions to live tech-support representatives.

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