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The Canon Pixma iP6310D is a single-function photo printer that lives at the low end of Canon's photo-centric printer line. The $100 printer boasts a couple of photo-centric features, such as media card slots and a PictBridge port for PC-free printing. Its print speeds are uneven, but its overall print quality is pleasing, especially for the price. If you can afford an extra $30, spring for Canon's MP460--you'll get not only more features, such as scanning and copying, but also faster print speeds and better quality all around.
The Pixma iP6310D's black-and-gray body is compact and lightweight. It measures 17.3 inches wide, 10.3 inches deep, and 6.8 inches tall, and it weighs a mere 7.5 pounds. A flap on the rear edge of the printer folds back to serve as the paper-input tray. The output tray slides out of the front bottom edge, and an extension flap lengthens it even further. Above the output tray is a small lever that adjusts the distance between the print media and the printhead; keep it to the left for most media types, including plain and photo paper. A small flap on the printer opens to reveal two media card slots that accept most media card types (some will require an adapter). Also mounted on the front of the printer is a USB PictBridge port that allows you to print from PictBridge-enabled digital still and video cameras. Alternatively, you can plug in a Bluetooth adapter (sold separately) to print wirelessly from Bluetooth cameras or phones.
The printer is a breeze to set up: simply insert the included CD to install the drivers and the software. When prompted, connect the printer and turn it on. The iP6310D supports both Windows and Mac operating systems via USB connection. Mounted on the top of the printer is a small panel of buttons and a two-line monochromatic LCD. Unfortunately, the display isn't backlit, which could eventually prove problematic in low-light conditions. Aside from the standard print, stop/reset, and power buttons are menu and menu navigation buttons. There are two special-task buttons, as well: the save button, labeled with a folder icon, automatically saves the contents of an inserted media card to your PC, and the other button launches Canon's Easy-PhotoPrint software, which walks you through the steps to print photos from a memory card. The configuration button lets you change print settings and perform routine maintenance on the printer. The menu button provides options only for tasks relating to the memory cards. By using the left/right toggle button and the OK and back buttons, you can navigate the menu, which includes options such as print a photo index, print all photos, specify a range of photos (by number or date), or make sticker prints.
The Pixma iP6310D uses a two-tank, six-ink system. One is a regular color tank while the other is a photo color tank. Both tanks cost $25 to replace, though the regular color ink also comes in a high-capacity tank that costs $35. Canon estimates that a black-and-white document costs about 9 cents per page, while a color page costs about 8 cents. The black printing cost is a bit higher than some of Canon's other printers in this price range, but it's likely due to the fact that this printer lacks a black-only ink. Still, these costs are well within range (are are often cheaper) than the competition.
In terms of print speed, the Pixma iP6310D gave an uneven performance. It was slow at text prints, clocking only 1.44 pages per minute. On the other hand, its 4x6-photo print speed was about average for a printer in this price range: 0.4 pages per minute. By comparison, HP's Photosmart 8250 printed text at 5.34ppm and 8x10 photos at 1.12ppm.