The five-page colour text and graphics document took 1 minute 10 seconds, or 4.29ppm, against Canon's figure of 12ppm, which isn't quite as good as the straight text print. Worse, though, is the result of printing a 20-side duplex document. The iP4500, like its stable-mate, the PIXMA MP610, took over eight minutes. When it's printing, the speed is much the same as for single-sided print, but the printer waits, presumably for the first side to dry, before printing the second side of each sheet. The slow print speed takes away some of the paper-saving attraction of printing duplex.
A high-quality photo print took 49 seconds, which is a good time, though still over twice what Canon quotes for a 15 x 10cm borderless print.
The minimum drop size on the PIXMA iP4500 is an industry-leading 1pl, which theoretically should give a very high level of detail, particularly in photos. In practice, photo prints are well detailed, with sharp, bright images showing intricacies in bright light and areas of shadow. Smoothly changing skies are well reproduced, with much less dithering than from some of the machine's main rivals.
Graphics print is also high-quality, though text printed over colour on plain paper runs noticeably. This isn't true of the pigmented black ink used for straight black text, which is clean and clear at all normal font sizes.
Canon quotes ISO page yield figures and from our tests, its figures are conservative, so we're happy to use Canon's numbers in calculating running costs. We also found original Canon cartridges at well below normal prices on Amazon. There's no indication that this is a limited time offer, so we've used them to produce figures of 1.84p for black pages and 3.87p for colour ones. These are very low for an inkjet printer, but would also reduce the running costs of any other Canon machine using the same ink cartridge set.
Anybody considering this single function printer would need to compare it with machines such as Epson's Stylus Photo R360, which comes in at the same price. The iP4500 is faster, more versatile and produces cleaner text, and photos which are just as good as the Epson's.
The Canon may duplex print as fast as a snail pulling a hearse, but it least it can duplex, a rare commodity in a sub-£100 printer. Its dual paper trays mean you can keep the printer closed and still print from the cassette, flipping the top up only when you need to print photos. This is neat and reduces dust getting into the mechanism.
Overall, the iP4500 is an excellent printer for the money and should be well up your shortlist of budget ink-jets.