Canon Pixma iP2000
Although priced much less than $100, the Canon Pixma iP2000 is one step up from being cheap. The iP2000 offers some top-shelf features, such as direct printing capabilities, dual input trays, impressive graphics print quality, and a little extra speed. Even though it has its weak points, this Pixma is a great budget buy.
As you might expect, the lower-end Canon Pixma iP2000 is slightly more compact and stripped down than the two higher-end printers in this line, theand . But Canon retained their double input trays--there's one at the top of the printer and a shelf with a plastic cover on the bottom. Combined, they make multitasking easier since you don't have to swap out paper when you switch between text and photo printing. As with its big brothers, the iP2000 has a single button for toggling between the two trays. You can also print directly from any Canon or PictBridge-compatible camera.
As does its cheaper sibling, the, the iP2000 uses two ink cartridges--one for black ink and one for cyan, magenta, and yellow--instead of separate tanks for each color. This is a common feature in sub-$100 inkjets, but it's wasteful as you have to discard the whole color cartridge when one color runs out, and it tends to make your savings on the purchase price seem like less of a bargain over time. Per-page costs costs run 13 cents for a standard (20 percent coverage) letter-size page and approximately 45 cents for an 8x10 photo. If you can afford to lay out the cash upfront, we recommend paying a little extra for a multicartridge model. You'll be much happier in the long run paying $12 for a cyan cartridge than paying $18.50 for a three-color version. On the plus side, the iP2000 is surprisingly fast for such an inexpensive printer. In our tests, it averaged 6.6 pages per minute for text and 2.8 minutes per page for 8x10 photos. Many budget models take twice as long to do the same job.
Even though it runs on just two cartridges, the iP2000 produced graphics documents that came out far better than what we saw from the step-up model in this line, the four-cartridge. The printer renders smooth gradients in monochrome and color--even under the close scrutiny of a loupe. Our test photos showed the right amount of contrast and a good level of detail, and the color matching is pretty solid. However, text output is not quite as impressive. We saw for a fair number of feathery edges, but it's probably not enough to put off the average consumer. Photo output isn't terrible considering the price of this printer, though close inspection reveals dithering that's visible to the naked eye.
The included software and drivers are the same for the entire Pixma line of printers. Check out thefor a more comprehensive discussion of what's in the box. The only difference between the iP2000 and its big brother is that the iP2000 has no ink-level sensors built into the printheads (a production cost-saving omission), so you have to set an ink-level counter in the software when you install a new cartridge. The software then estimates when you've run out of ink.
The Canon Pixma iP2000 comes with an industry-standard one-year warranty. Toll-free tech support is available from 8 a.m. to midnight ET on Monday through Friday and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Also, you can find free, well-written tutorials, FAQs, and downloadable manuals online. There's also e-mail support, but in response to a few general questions we sent, we got semihelpful automated responses. The Q&A troubleshooter helped a lot to isolate our problem, even though Canon could stand to round out the multiple choice options. Overall, Canon's support site is easy to navigate and useful.