You wouldn't expect a printer costing £35 to be a sprinter, though Canon quotes speeds of 21ppm and 17ppm for black and colour print at maximum speed. However, it’s also honest enough to quote different speeds for standard print mode and these come out at 13ppm and 7.7ppm, respectively.
Our five-page black text print took 44 seconds to complete, which is equivalent to 6.8ppm, so only about half the quoted speed. Upping the print run to 20 pages, not very characteristic for a home printer but there for interest, took 2:48, giving a speed of 7.1ppm. This is slightly faster than before, but still not close to 13ppm.
Similarly, a five-page text and colour graphics print took exactly 2 minutes, so 2.5ppm, rather than the 7.7ppm quoted by Canon. This is not a fast printer, but it's not the slowest we've seen either. A 15 x 10cm photo print in best quality mode took 1:36, but this dropped to just 57 seconds when we printed in standard quality mode.
Comparing the two prints, there is a slight difference between standard and best quality mode, but unless you're examining the print very closely, we don't think the differences are worth the extra time and standard mode should be good enough for all but the most challenging application.
The good thing about inkjet printing is that the same technology is used in the cheapest and most expensive printers in a range. This is obviously true here, as the print quality is very good. The photo prints are clear and well detailed, with shadow content well resolved and colours looking consistent and natural.
Colour graphics on plain white paper are also clean and smooth, with overlaid black text well registered and very readable. Black text is sharp and clean, though you do have to be a little cautious with newly printed documents, as standard multipurpose paper sheets come out a little damp.
Cartridges for this machine are available in two capacities and, as usual, we used the higher capacity to produce the most economical figures. We calculate costs of 2.57p for ISO black pages and 5.43p for equivalent colour ones.
The black print cost is exactly the same as from the PIXMA iP4600, reviewed recently, and rather more than from machines like the HP OfficeJet Pro K5400n, but not too bad on an entry-level machine like this. The colour cost is around 0.7p lower than with the PIXMA iP4600 and is pretty good for this class of printer
The PIXMA iP1900 is very good value. For a printer costing less than a meal out for two, it produces very good quality prints in both black and colour and doesn't cost the earth to do it. While you might miss features like an output tray and being able to print on CDs and DVDs, as a basic personal ink-jet workhorse, you couldn't ask for much more.