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It’s unusual for a top-of-the-range printer to cost under £75, but Canon’s PIXMA iP4600 is definitely a high-end inkjet and it’s available at this price. If you know the company’s well-regarded all-in-one range, you can think of this machine as an all-in-one without the scanner. Most of the other functions you’d expect in a Canon all-in-one are here.
As with most Canon inkjets, the case is almost entirely finished in high-gloss piano black, which looks good until the minute you get fingerprints on it. It’s smaller than some earlier Canon printers, but this means the paper cassette, which fits under the printer, sticks out the front. Although it’s obscured by the output tray when you have the front cover down, it looks less sleek when the printer’s closed. There’s a second paper source, a rear tray brought into play when you fold up the top cover.
There are just two control buttons, for power and paper feed/resume, built into the curved right edge of the front panel and a single USB socket at the rear. A PictBridge socket, for direct camera connection, sits below the controls. An internal hinged cover folds down to become the guide for the CD/DVD carrier, which enables you to print directly on printable discs.
Lift the top cover and you can install the permanent print heads and the five ink cartridges. Canon provides two blacks, one pigmented for strong, black text and one dye-based, to be compatible with the other colours. As you clip each cartridge in place, a red led indicates it’s properly located; it also flashes when ink is getting low.
There appears to be some disagreement between Canon’s manual writers and their software people. While there are slips added to the manual advising you to load the rear tray only with photo paper and the cassette with plain A4 sheets, the installation routine for print-head alignment insists you load plain paper into the rear tray. We also saw error messages asking for paper in the rear tray, when we’d set ‘cassette’ as the paper source in the driver.
The safest advice is to run plain paper from either source, but to only run photo blanks from the tray, in case of paper jams. In Canon’s specs, the cassette is only rated up to 105gsm, while the tray can take up to 300gsm.