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Although all-in-one printers now substantially outsell single-function machines, there are several reasons why you might not want to go the multi-function route. Single function printers, like Canon’s PIXMA iP4700 reviewed here, are smaller than equivalent all-in-ones and quite a bit cheaper to buy, too. It could even be that you already have a scanner, so wouldn’t need to buy a printing device with one built in.
The PIXMA iP4700 is a tad smaller than the MP and MX range of Canon all-in-ones, but still couldn't be described as small. With its high-gloss black top, side and front panels, it's quick to take fingerprints, but is still smart for all that.
It has several of the design elements of its all-in-one siblings, including the twin paper trays. A flap at the back of the top cover folds up and extends to become a 150-sheet rear paper tray and there's a 150-sheet cassette, which slides in under the machine, too, though it still extends from the front of the machine. Canon recommends you load photo paper into the rear tray and plain paper into the cassette, but the rear tray will take either.
The front panel of the machine folds down and extends to become the output tray and there's an internal fold-down cover that opens to reveal a slot for inserting the CD/DVD carrier, as the machine can print directly on suitably coated discs.
Controls and indicators are minimal, with a power button and light set into the heavily curved right-hand front corner. There's a feed button and indicator directly below this, but that's it for physical controls. There are no memory card slots, which is a shame on a machine that is good for photos, but there is a PictBridge socket. At the back is a single USB socket, the only computer data connection on the PIXMA iP4700.
Canon provides its standard suite of support applications, including a Web print facility that automatically adjusts the width of web pages, so they fit on the paper. Drivers for Windows and OS X are provided, but there's no mention of Linux compatibility.
The printer uses Canon's well tried five-ink print system, with two blacks including a pigmented ink for better text print on plain paper. They all clip into a semi-permanent print head and the machine performs automatic head alignment on request.