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We often expect a lower print speed and output quality with a portable printer, but both hold up well against desktop printers in our tests. Our five page text document printed in 45 seconds, giving a text speed of 6.67ppm, and the text and graphics test took 1 minute 25 seconds, or 3.53ppm. While neither of these times is close to Canon's specifications - 15.6ppm and 11.2ppm, respectively - they're not at all bad for a portable machine.
This PIXMA reproduced our 15 x 10cm photo print in 1:38, which again isn't bad when you consider that one of its dedicated SELPHY photo printers recently took 1:16. Prints took exactly the same time when sent from a PictBridge camera, making this a versatile little printer.
Print quality from the single, pigmented-ink cartridge is very clean, almost laser quality, and with only the slightest hint of jagged edges. This would make the printer very suitable for producing quotes or other immediate documentation on the move. Colour graphics are also particularly good for a portable printer. Though perhaps not the brightest of colours, they have good solid tones and excellent registration of black text over colour.
Our photographic test piece came out very well, with plenty of shadow detail and sharp foregrounds, in all the right hues. Colour variations are smooth and there are no obvious dither patterns. Colours are bright, without looking unnatural, and overall photo prints from this portable printer are well up to the standard of its desktop companions.
By now, you're probably wondering where the catch is; it's in the costs. As well as paying up to £200 for the printer and its battery, you also pay a premium for the two ink cartridges. We couldn't find the black cartridge for much less than £12 and the colour one for much under £16. Given that their page yields are around the 200 page mark, this gives page costs of 7.08p for black and 13.48p for colour.
Neither of these page costs is good, with a typical desktop PIXMA, the iP2600, costing 3.02p for black and 8.57p colour, between half and two thirds of the costs from this portable printer.
Despite its high running costs, and to some extent the high purchase price if you include the lithium ion battery, this is an excellent portable printer. To those that need to print away from the mains, perhaps in a car or even on-site, in the middle of a field, the Canon PIXMA iP100 produces prints close to the quality of its desktop siblings, at very respectable speeds and with a minimum of fuss. It can even be hitched up as a Bluetooth printer with an optional USB adapter.
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