The Pixma iP2600 is Canon's inkjet photo printer for users on a budget. Replacing the as its entry-level, straightforward printer with limited features, it's available online for as little as £30.
As expected in a baseline product, the iP2600 lacks a PictBridge port and a memory card slot, but makes up for it with a sleek design, competitive print speeds and bold, crisp prints. The photos themselves are also incredibly easy to crop, repair and alter using the included Easy-PhotoPrint EX software bundle. Overall, you'll find that this is a cost-effective printer for text documents and amateur-level photo printing.
It's obvious that Canon worked hard on the design of the iP2600. The sleek exterior is 442 by 142 by 254mm and has a glossy black, slightly mirrored finish that looks sleek on your desk -- that is, until the dust literally settles. The shiny body retains fingerprints, much like the display on the .
Smudges aside, the iP2600 doesn't take up much desk space, and it blended in smartly with the rest of our dark peripherals. The output and paper trays both fold into the unit when not in use, creating a tight box that could easily be mistaken for a stereo boom box.
The output tray folds down from the face of the printer with a slightly flimsy rectangular arm that extends to corral loose paper. The arm doesn't have a cap at the end, which was counterproductive, and a few of our test sheets flew off the tray as a result. Annoying, but certainly not a deal-breaker.
The control panel is very minimalist, with only power and paper feed buttons on top of the printer. The power button also doubles as an alarm lamp that flashes orange when an error occurs. The power cord and the USB port are on the back.
Potential buyers should be aware that you'll need a USB cord to connect the printer to a computer, but as is frustratingly common with printers, it's not included in the box. Appropriate for this price, there are no provisions for external bridge connectivity, so consumers looking to eliminate the middleman and plug a digital camera, a USB key, or a memory card directly into the iP2600 should look to a comparable, more fully featured (albeit higher priced) set such as the or the .
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 at 6.03 ppm and the at 6.85 ppm. The three printers are all within the same general price range, so the slight deficit is expected and acceptable compared with other budget inkjet printers.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
The Canon also performed surprisingly well in our quality tests. It printed text on to 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 colour graphics test came out solid and evenly distributed, but there were certain portions of our graphics document that came out with a slightly neutral colour, specifically in areas with gradual colour 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 colours 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 100x150mm photos we printed on Canon's semigloss paper. They're definitely far from perfect, but the colours 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.
Edited by Rich Brown
Additional editing by Nick Hide