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Most of Canon's PIXMA inkjet printers are desktop machines where, within reason, size and weight aren't problems. There's one area of the market, though, where both these considerations are important and that's portable print. If the printer needs to be light and compact, but still offer good quality output in a reasonable time, constraints on its design are much tighter. The PIXMA iP100 is just such a portable printer and can be used with an optional lithium ion battery, well away from the mains.
This printer is about the size of one and a half Xboxes laid on their sides and is all decked out in silver, apart from black cheeks at either end and a black bar across its top, bearing the Canon logo. Lift the top cover and the front cover, which is held to it by a magnetic clasp, automatically drops down. The top half of the cover extends to provide a reasonable support for A4 paper, which feeds through from the back and out onto the desk in front of the machine.
Physical controls and indicators are simple, with a power button and inset power LED and a feed button with inset paper jam indicator. On the left-hand cheek is a socket for the external power supply and on the right are sockets for USB and for a PictBridge camera.
There's an infrared receiver here, too, so you could beam data across from an infrared-equipped laptop. If you've gone for the version of the printer with the optional lithium battery - £50 extra - it clips on at the back and is fastened by two screws.
Once the top cover has been lifted to form the paper input tray, the top surface of the printer is again a cover and this can be lifted to reveal twin, low-profile cartridges. One of these contains pigmented black ink, while the other holds not just cyan, magenta and yellow dye-based inks, but also a photo black to improve dark shades in photo prints. The cartridges clip easily into place in the printer's head carrier.
Software supplied with the PIXMA iP100 is Canon's usual mix of simple, task-based programs, such as Easy-PhotoPrint and Solution Menu.