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Product Tour Summary

*Simple design
*No memory card or front USB ports
*No paper output tray

Front

ARTISAN-50-front.jpg

Side

ARTISAN-50-sides.jpg

Back

ARTISAN-50-back.jpg

Ink Cartridges

The iP2702 uses two ink cartridges: one for black and another that contains the cyan, yellow and magenta inks. This means that you can't swap out individual colors, so if one color runs out, you have to replace all three at once. The replacement standard pigment black ink cartridges (model PG-210) cost about $14.50, while the standard color cartridge (model CL-211) costs about $18. Canon claims a print yield of around 220 pages for the black ink and 244 page for the color cartridge. Higher capacity versions of these cartridges are also available: the PG-210XL has a quoted page yield of 401 page, with the CL-211XL managing 349. These XL cartridges cost about $5 more than the standard ones, so they represent good value for money.

** In the Box **

As well as the printer itself, you get: 

  • 1 PG-210 pigment ink cartridge
  • 1 CL-211 color ink cartridge
  • Power cable
  • Sample pack of 5 sheets of 4 by 6 Photo Paper Plus Glossy II
  • Installation CD and instruction manual

Not included is a USB cable or any plain paper; you'll have to supply your own.

Setup & Software Summary
  • Setup & installation is simple and straightforward
  • Includes a basic user guide

**Setup & Manuals ***(7.5) *

We found that the iP2702 was a pretty simple printer to set up, taking less than 15 minutes to go from cracking the box open to the first print. The process is clearly described in the Getting Started guide, the only printed documentation that comes with the printer. There is a more extensive manual on the included CD-ROM, but this is such as simple printer that we did not need to refer to this much.

**Drivers **

The printer driver supplies a basic, but adequate selection of option screens for setting the features of this printer. The screens below are from the Mac drivers, but the Windows versions are broadly similar.

Overall, the drivers are very simple and straightforward to use, but provide the ability to do some tweaking for advanced users.

**Software **

As well as the drivers, the software CD that comes with the printer includes two programs: Easy-PhotoPrint EX and Easy-PhotoPrint Pro. The EX program is a basic image editor and organizer that can create different print layouts, such as album pages and calendars to print multiple images at once. The Pro version has a similar set of functions, but works as a plug-in that runs within image editing programs such as Photoshop Elements.

Print Speed Summary
  • Printing both photos and documents in the highest quality modes is slow
  • Faster draft modes are available for both, though

**Photo Print Speed **

Printing at the highest quality setting onto Canon's own Photo Pro II paper, we found that a letter-sized photo print took an average of 3 minutes and 15 seconds to print, and a 4 by 6 took just a touch over a minute. That is a little on the slow side, but we typically find that cheap printers perform slower than their larger and more expensive cousins. It is also worth noting that this printer is somewhat faster than the similarly priced Epson Artisan 50 as well, which took an additional 2 minutes to produce a letter sized print and an additional 30 seconds to print a 4 by 6. For more on how we test print speeds, see this page.

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**Document Print Speed **

Printing in its best quality print mode, the iP7202 was a rather slow printer: printing onto plain paper at the highest quality,  it managed just under 1 page a minute. We don't expect printers like this to be speed machines, but this is really slow. Fortunately, you can speed it up if you don't mind compromising on quality: in the fast mode, it cranked out a more acceptable 5.2 pages a minute, and the quality of the documents was still pretty good, with only very minor banding showing in areas of solid color.

Print Initialization

We found that the iP2702 was a rather slow printer to start up, often taking 5 to 10 seconds to get started on a print. It also paused a lot during a longer print run, often stopping for about 5 to 10 seconds in mid-page, seeming to pause for thought or to collects its energy for the next burst of printing.

Color Performance Summary
  • Very good color accuracy when profiled
  • Bundled profiles produce slightly inaccurate color

**Color Accuracy **

A good printer produces colors that are true to the original image. whether it is a family snapshot or a piece of fine art. A bad one takes the colors from a photo and reproduces them inaccurately. In our tests on color accuracy, the iP2702 did a decent, but unspectacular job: most of the colors in our tests were close to the originals, but there were color shifts all around, particularly with cyans, blues and some skin tones.

We test this by printing a color chart containing 24 colors using the default color profile, then measure the colors using a high-end photospectrometer. We then create a custom profile for the printer using the same device, and try printing on both the manufacturer's high end paper and on Ilford Galerie glossy paper.  For more details on how our color accuracy tests are done, see here.

The chart below shows the results: the number in each of the color patches is the CIDE 2000 color difference. The bigger this number, the larger the difference between the original and the printed color is to the eye.

iP2702-CA.jpg

NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above may not match the results used for evaluating color accuracy. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the exact printed colors.

The first set of the color patches are the original colors in our test file. The second two sets of patches are the measured colors from printing with the iP2702 with the default printer profile that Canon supplies. The third is from a custom profile created with our Eye One printer calibration system. The third set of patches are from a print done on Ilford Galerie glossy photo paper with another custom profile.

We got the smallest color error with the Canon paper and our custom profile (which you can download here). This profile dealt with some of the bigger color errors (such as the default profiles problems with blues), and boosted the performance from merely average to pretty decent.

Color Gamut

The color gamut is the range of colors that the printer can output. The wider this gamut, the better the job the printer can do of displaying the myriad colors that are captured in photos. We found that the iP2702 could manage just over 47 per cent of the Adobe RGB color gamut, which is a decent range for a cheap printer. We don't find that many printers manage more than this, but some higher end ones do manage to go slightly wider. For more details on how we measure color gamut, see here.

Detail Performance Summary
  • Produces, solid, deep blacks
  • Details are well rendered, but some prints are rather too heavy on the black

Depth of Blacks

In this test, we measure the density of the blacks in prints that the printer produces. The denser the black, the more impact the prints will have because they will have a wider contrast range between blacks and whites. We measured the maximum density of the images at 1.88, which is an acceptable depth, but it isn't going to blow your socks off. For more details on how we test the depth of blacks in prints, see here.

Detail

We found that the iP2702 did a decent job of rendering the details in our test print, but the level of detail was not as good as more expensive printers. Our test images include color gradients, illustrations photos and other difficult to reproduce examples. You can see scans of several of our test images below, starting with 4 color gradients that show any issues the printer has in rendering shades of colors. All of the prints shown below were produced at the highest quality setting.

The color gradients look okay, but there are a couple of issues that are worth noting. Some of the colors (the Cyan in particular) have a certain amount of banding in then: look about two thirds of the way up and there is a slight darker band, which is caused by the printer using the other color inks to darken the color. This might show up on some photos as false color contours on subtle color changes such as clouds or blue skies.

iP2702-SS.jpg

The examples above show that this printer did a decent job here: the fine details of our test image are well reproduced. However, they are also a little grainy; the dot structure of the print is more visible than many other printers, and the printer seems to be doing little to smooth the image out.

Inks & Media Summary
  • Uses 2 ink cartridges that cost $38 to replace
  • Higher capacity cartridges are available that cost about $54 for the set
  • Can print on paper up to letter size

Ink/Toner

The iP2702 uses 2 ink cartridges: black and a color cartridge that contains the cyan, yellow and magenta inks. This means that if one of the colors runs out, you have to discard the entire cartridge even if the others are still going. Although having just two cartridges does make it simpler, it also makes it more expensive to run.

Canon claims a print yield of around 220 pages for the black ink and 244 page for the color cartridge. Higher capacity versions of these cartridges are also available: the PG-210XL has a quoted page yield of 401 page, with the CL-211XL managing 349.  We found that these seem like decent estimates ; in our testing process (which involves printing out over a hundred pages of various sizes, types and print qualities), we only used one set of standard cartridges. A set of these standard cartridges will cost you about $37.50 ($14.50 for the PG-210 black, and $18 for the CL-211 color). Canon also offers higher capacity versions of these cartridges: the PG-210XL black ($31) and the CL-211 XL color ($23).

Ink/Toner Management

The iP2702 does a decent job of keeping you posted on how much ink there is left in the driver; the included utility program shows the estimated level in all of the tanks. It also didn't seem to be overly pessimistic in its estimates; we only got low ink warnings when the ink cartridge was almost completely empty.

If one of the cartridges runs out, you can set the printer to use the other on a temporary basis in the Ink Settings section of the utility program. Obviously, this won't produce very good results (prints will either have weak blacks or be black and white, depending on which cartridge it uses), but it is better than not being able to print at all.

Media

The iP2702 can handle paper up to a maximum size of letter sized paper: it cannot handle anything larger. It can handle envelopes and thick glossy photo paper, but not thick card or any media that doesn't like being bent slightly. To print to this sort of media, you will need a larger printer like the Canon Pro 9000 that has a flat paper path. There is also no option to print onto inkjet DVDs, a feature that is present on the only slightly more expensive Artisan 50.

**Paper Storage **

There is only one location for paper to be fed into the printer: the paper tray on the back of the printer. This tray can hold about 100 sheets of plain paper, or 20 sheets of glossy photo paper. The paper in this tray is exposed, so if you don't use the printer for long intervals, you might want to store the paper elsewhere to prevent dust and fading. With no paper in it, the paper tray can fold over to cover the top of the printer, keeping dust out.

One thing to note here is the absence of a paper output tray: when the paper exits the printer, it falls right onto the desk or table that the printer is sitting on.

On-printer Controls

There are just two buttons on the top of this printer: a power button and a resume/cancel button which can be used to stop or start printing. Both buttons also have small LED lights that show the status; a green one for power and an orange one for the resume/cancel button that flashes on in the event of an error.

On-Printer Display

There is no screen or other display on the printer itself; the only feedback you get is a blinking light on the resume/cancel when the printer has encountered an error.

On-Printer Menus

Because there is no display on the printer itself, there are also no menus or other options on the printer itself.

Media Slots

There are no media slots or USB ports, so there is no way to copy or print photos directly from a memory card or a digital camera straight to the printer; you will have to work with a computer. This also means that there is no way to connect this printer to a camera that supports the PictBridge standard; it will only work with a computer.

Wireless & Network

No support for wireless or network connections are supported on this printer, and there is no option to add direct network or wireless support. You can, however, share the printer over a network using a computer, but this will need to be turned on to share the printer. This might rule it out if you are looking for a printer that several computers can share. Also missing is a PictBridge USB port; this printer cannot work directly with a digital camera.

Epson Artisan 50 Comparison Summary
  • The Canon is cheaper
  • Both printers have mostly similar performance
  • The Epson can print to DVDs
  • The Epson has an output tray, while the Canon does not

Performance

Of these two printers, the Canon is slightly faster at printing out photos. However, we found that the Epson had slightly better image quality: images looked more detailed and had a slightly deeper blacks. But in most cases, there wasn't' that much to choose between the two printers.

Inks & Media

Both printers can handle paper up to letter size, but neither can handle anything larger. The Epson can also handle DVDs through the special DVD printing tray, which is much easier to use than the stick-on labels that you have to use with the Canon. 

In Use

Both printers are best described as bare-bones; they can handle basic printing tasks, but are not particularly fast or flexible. However, both printers are pretty easy to use and will serve the needs of many users

HP D7560 Comparison Summary
  • The Canon is the cheaper printer
  • The HP includes a touch screen and media card slots
  • The HP can handle slightly bigger paper and DVDs**Performance**

The Canon printer was the better performer of the two, with better color accuracy and a wider color gamut. However, the HP was no without its charms; we found it had deeper blacks and produced finer detail than the Canon.

Inks & Media

The D7560 is slightly more flexible than the Canon, as it can handle bigger paper (up to 8.5 by 14 inches, while the Canon can handle up to letter size) and can print direct to DVDs.

In Use

The HP is the more flexible printer, as it includes media card slots, touch screen and front USB port that allows it to be used as a standalone printer. The Canon can only be used with a computer: there is no way to use it as a standalone device or directly with a camera.

Epson R1900 Comparison Summary
  • The Epson R1900 produces better quality prints
  • The Epson R19000 can print to a wider range of paper sizes and types
  • The iP2702 is much, much cheaper

Performance

The Epson R1900 is the superior performer in terms of print quality: it has better color accuracy, deeper blacks and better detail. But the iP2702 isn't' that far behind; the color accuracy and black level are within spitting distance of the more expensive printer. The R1900 excels in the level of detail, though; while prints from the iP2702 look grainy, the R1900 prints look very smooth and detailed.

Inks & Media

The R1900 is a media maven: it can handle prints up to 13 by 19 inches (or 13 by 44 inches for banner prints using either the single sheet feeder or the included roll feeder) and has a straight paper path that allows it to print onto thick paper or card. By comparison, the iP2702 can only manage prints at up to letter size, and can't cope with thick paper or print to DVDs.

In Use

Both printers rely on the computer to do much of the grunt work; they are  designed to work with computers, not as stand alone devices And this process is mostly easy on both printers: the drivers and included software are simple to use and configure, although they do require some knowledge of how printers work to get the best results.

The iP2702 is a cheap printer: it costs just $49, which isn't much more than the cost of the two ink cartridges it uses. But that doesn't make it a bad printer, and we found that it produced good performance overall. And you can't really argue with the price.

Performance:

This printer had good color performance, producing accurate colors, especially after calibration. The detail of the prints it produced were somewhat lacking, though; edges and fine details were somewhat lost in the grain of the black ink.

Inks & Media:

The iP2702 uses 2 ink cartridges, which contain black and color inks. This means that you have to replace all three colors at once, even if you have only run out of one color. It can handle prints on glossy photo paper up to letter size, but can't handle thick card or inkjet compilable DVDs, which some only slightly more expensive printers can handle.

Meet the tester

Richard Baguley

Richard Baguley

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Richard Baguley is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

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