Canon Pixma iP1500 review: Canon Pixma iP1500

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The Good Cheap; decent; fast text printing.

The Bad Disappointing graphics and photo print quality; no paper-output tray; no direct print capability.

The Bottom Line Whatever savings you get with this printer will be no comfort when you check out its output. Canon's step-up model, the Pixma iP2000, produces better goods and is a far better deal.

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6.1 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6
  • Support 7

Canon Pixma iP1500

It's always a treat to see a whole line of printers at once. It's kind of like meeting a family of siblings in which each plays a distinct role. Sadly, Canon's Pixma iP1500 holds the dubious honor of being both the cheapest and the worst in the Pixma printer lineup. With its lackluster photo and graphics printing and no paper-output tray, it's the lost child in an otherwise decent, hardworking family.

The iP1500 has the same basic rectangular box shape as the Canon Pixma iP2000, but it's slightly smaller and lacks some of the bells and whistles of its more expensive counterpart. There's a paper-input tray at the top of the printer but no output tray or guide whatsoever. Anything you print will either fall out directly onto your desk or, if you perch the printer on a shelf, the floor. The iP1500 has a USB port but, like most printers, does not come with cables.

Canon markets the iP1500 as an all-purpose printer, so as you might suspect, its photo printing is decidedly unimpressive. Our test photo, which is designed to stress a printer's photo capabilities, came out extremely dithered. Fine details, such as the illustration on a postage stamp, weren't discernible to the naked eye, and skin tones needed serious smoothing. Because of all the visible dots, prints looked blurry. Graphics were even worse, with lots of banding and, not surprisingly, more dithering. The iP1500 is not as skilled at handling gradients as its siblings (which aren't all that great themselves), its color matching is off, and its photos lack contrast. Text looks much better, especially to the naked eye, but seen through a loupe, it appears oversaturated and feathery. Fortunately, this printer is relatively fast, printing text at an average speed of 6.05 pages per minute and photos at a moderate 3.05 minutes per page.

Like the iP2000, the iP1500 doesn't have an ink-level sensor. Instead, you reset a counter each time you replace an ink cartridge, and it estimates when you will run out of ink. The iP1500 also has a two-cartridge configuration. One cartridge holds black ink; the other holds cyan, magenta, and yellow ink (instead of having separate tanks for each color). This setup tends to waste ink and plastic. It also costs you more in the long run. Per-page costs run 13 cents for a standard (20 percent coverage) letter-size page and approximately 45 cents for an 8x10 photo. The iP1500 comes with the same software and drivers as the other Pixma printers. For a more comprehensive discussion of these features, check out our review of the line's flagship model, the Canon Pixma iP4000.

This printer comes with an industry-standard one-year warranty. Toll-free tech support is available from Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to midnight and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. You can find free, well-written tutorials, FAQs, and downloadable manuals online. Canon provides e-mail support, but in response to a few general questions, we got only somewhat helpful automated responses. The Q&A troubleshooter helped a lot to isolate our problem, though Canon could stand to round out the multiple-choice options. Overall, Canon's support site is useful and easy to navigate.

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