Like the popular i70 and i80 models before it, the Canon Pixma iP90 is a sleek, lightweight, go-anywhere portable inkjet printer that creates full-size documents and colour graphics, as well as 100x150mm (4x6-inch) colour photographs. Thanks to built-in PictBridge and infrared (IrDA) ports, you can print directly from your digital camera, handheld or mobile phone without a computer.
You can also add Bluetooth functionality, a battery or a power adaptor for your car. Even one add-on however, brings the cost of the iP90 up considerably -- if you're on a budget you'd be better off with the mobile HP DeskJet 450wbt, which already has Bluetooth capability. But if you're looking for a speedy printer that can work in cars, hotels and airports, the Canon iP90 beats the HP 450wbt on speed, plus it offers a PictBridge port so you can print a snapshot straight from a digital camera.
The Canon Pixma iP90, like its predecessors, looks like a laptop cut longitudinally in half. Made of eye-catching, aluminium-coloured plastic, the iP90 weighs a mere 1.8Kg and measures just 310 by 52 by 174mm -- comfortable for a roomy laptop bag or a jumbo handbag.
Turned off, the iP90 snaps shut into a tight, seamless capsule. When open, the front cover becomes an input tray for plain paper or glossy photo media, from legal to credit card size. You can fill the paper tray with either 30 plain pages, five envelopes or ten sheets of 100x150mm (4x6-inch) photo paper. If you're printing 203x254mm (8x10-inch) glossy photos, you'll have to feed them into the machine one at a time. Save your magnum opus for the office laser and make sure to leave empty space in front of the iP90 when it's in use, because it provides an outgoing slot, but there's no tray to hold a stack of pages.
The iP90 has a simple, semicircular control panel with buttons for power and to resume printing, plus an LED that glows green and flashes in green and orange to communicate everything from normal printing to a major meltdown. The USB 2.0 and power ports are conveniently located on the left side near the back of the printer, while the infrared (IrDA) and PictBridge ports line the machine's right edge.
We like the Canon Pixma iP90's small size, especially the way it folds up neatly for travelling. The PictBridge and the relatively unusual built-in infrared (IrDA) ports are handy for those who travel super-light and want to print from compatible handhelds, mobile phones and cameras. If you want more hardware features for your iP90, you'll have to buy them yourself as add-ons or look for another printer.
The Canon Pixma iP90 introduces two features: Save Black Ink, which is similar to the Draft mode on other printers in that it reduces that colour's use by the printer; and Use Composite, which you can find in the drivers' Maintenance section under Ink Usage Control. Use Composite instructs the printer to fashion black out of colour ink when the former runs dry.