As far as the quality of the prints goes, we have few complaints. Black text output is good and dense but with very little spatter, just a little around some bold text. Colour graphics are also well reproduced, though there is some stippling and some very fine micro-banding. Neither of these artefacts should present a problem in normal use, though. There is also some slight bleed of text over coloured backgrounds.
Finally, photographic output is very good for a machine at this price point. Colour gradations are smooth and natural-looking. Colours of trees in the foreground and the rock face behind both look realistic and there's plenty of detail in areas of shadow, which are often blacked-out in less well-adjusted machines.
The printer takes two integral head and ink cartridges, one black and the other three-colour. They're available in two capacities, with the lower capacity versions supplied with the printer. Working with the high-capacity cartridges, we managed 238, five per cent cover black pages and 269, 15 per colour pages. This gives costs of 7.08p per black page and 37.1p per colour page.
The black page cost is high, close to the highest we've seen and although the colour page cost is far from unprecedented, it's still at the high end of the range. There's always a balance to hit between the initial purchase price of a machine and its ongoing running costs and in this case the running costs are in the heavy pan.
As always, running costs depend very much on the prices you can find for cartridges and, if printing photos, the price of suitable photo paper. As you can see from our recent survey of third-party inks and papers, the choice of paper appears much less critical to overall print quality than the ink and you may be able to reduce your photo print costs dramatically by looking at third-party papers, like those from Ilford or Kodak, while still using manufacturers inks.
There's very little to complain about in the PIXMA iP2500. It's a good, simple inkjet printer, which is easy to maintain, simple to use and well supported in software. Print quality is more than adequate for home use on both plain and photo papers, though print times are nothing spectacular. It's quite pricey to run, particularly if you're printing a lot of black text pages, but that's the price you pay for a low purchase price.