The Pixma iP4000 is the flagship in Canon's new line of four-colour printers. What does that mean for you? Direct printing from a Canon or PictBridge-compatible digital camera, good print quality across the board, fast print speeds, and best of all, a low price.
Taking a page out of Epson's book, the Canon Pixma iP4000 eschews the bulging-belly design in favour of a rectangular bread-box look. Frankly, neither approach is terribly attractive or innovative, but in the iP4000's case, we appreciate that the top input guide and the front output tray fold into the body of the printer for a clean, uncluttered, 'at rest' look. One unusual feature in a low-cost inkjet is the 150-sheet paper drawer that slides in and out of the bottom of the printer -- generally found only on HP inkjets and higher-end laser printers.
We also like the way the power button is embedded in the right-hand corner of the printer; it doesn't do anything special, but it looks good. When you open the output tray, you'll see a button that lets you toggle between the top and bottom input trays. The change is indicated by LEDs much like those on a photocopier. There are also USB and parallel ports so you can connect the printer to your PC or Mac (no cables included) and a direct-print port for Canon cameras or any camera that supports the PictBridge direct-print standard.
The Canon Pixma iP4000 is a four-colour printer. This means that you get dye-based cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks plus a pigment-based black. You can replace cartridges individually, which saves money and reduces waste because you don't have to throw out the whole expensive colour set every time one hue runs out.
Canon includes a few photo-friendly applications on the installation CD. You can use PhotoRecord to make and personalise a photo album; Easy-PhotoPrint for tasks such as quick, borderless printing and red-eye correction; and Easy-WebPrint, which ensures that you can print an entire Web page without cutting off the edges.
Canon's drivers are extremely easy to use and offer enough advanced options to keep the family digital-photo geek busy. The drivers are organised into tabs. The Main tab lets you adjust print quality, paper type, and colours (including a manual option for regulating individual colour levels and intensity). It also features the Print Advisor button, which asks questions about your intended print job and adjusts driver settings accordingly. Other tabs include Page Setup for paper size, borderless printing, and manual duplexing (printing on both sides); Stamp/Background for adding stamps and watermarks; Effects, which lets you create simulated illustrations and vivid photos; and Profiles, which saves your personal print settings. There's also a Maintenance tab for cleaning, tweaking printhead alignment, and setting the quiet-print mode.