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Canon PIXMA iP4850 - Performance and Verdict

By Simon Williams


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Review Price £67.27

Canon makes more realistic claims than most for the speed of its printers and expects this machine to reach 11ppm for ISO black pages and 9.3ppm for ISO colour ones. Our five-page, black text document produced a speed of 7.32ppm, which only increased to 8.1ppm for the longer, 20-page test. A fast, draft mode print tipped in at 8.3ppm, not that far off the claimed speed.

Colour prints were also reasonable, with a five-page document giving 5.9ppm. Although they fall a little short of the claimed figures, they're reasonable speeds from a comparatively low-cost printer.

Where the machine drops back is in duplex print, which is a standard feature. All inkjets have problems with drying times when printing on both sides of the paper, but Canon has one of the longest pauses between sides of any make we test. Here, it took 6mins 56secs to print the 20-page document as a 10-page duplex one, a speed of just 2.9 sides per minute.

A 15 x 10cm photo printed from a PC completed in a good 46s at best quality, though from a PictBridge camera, in normal mode, to took a less-impressive 57s.

Print quality from Canon printers is usually impressive, but here black text is a little more fuzzy than usual, showing some flow of ink along the grains of the paper. Colours are better defined and black text over coloured backgrounds is sharp and well registered. Solid colour fills are smooth with no signs of banding or dither patterns.

Photo prints are also well defined, with smooth gradations in skies, but darker areas are over dark and some detail is lost. Colours are natural, but there’s plenty of vibrancy, too, when needed.

The five print cartridges only come in one capacity, which makes page cost calculations simple, but gives no discount to people who are prepared to invest in higher capacity consumables. Using the best prices, we could find gives ISO page costs of 3.1p for black and 8.3p for colour. These are both better than average when compared with the printer's main rivals.


If you don't need the extra functions of an all-in-one printer, or want to spend money on print quality rather than print features, Canon's PIXMA iP4580 is a good, workaday machine that produces excellent prints, quickly and at reasonable cost. There's nothing much that's new about the printer, but the mix was already pretty good.

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January 30, 2011, 2:20 pm

Still have an old Canon ip4300, it works very well so is there any point in buying this in that its significantly better?

Canon cartridges are way too expensive though. Also the startup time from cold to printing a document is an eternity, how does this printer do on that front?


January 30, 2011, 3:03 pm

What exactly is the difference between this and previous models?

I love Canon printers and now own several. However, Canon has a nasty habit of releasing newer models for the sake of it. This just leads to confusion and several models of ink cartridges - pushing up costs.

Come on Canon - you make great printers, but go easy on the model cycle - it can't be very good for your 'Green Credentials' for developing so may models.

Martin Daler

January 31, 2011, 12:39 am

@Prem. I think the only difference is that this is a new model, period. It really is no different from my 5+ year old IP5200R. But, being new, it gets reviewed on TR, it gets reviewed in the magazines, and that is where people looking to buy a new printer look. Who buys a 5+ year old model - we drive this insanity.


January 31, 2011, 5:54 am

It seems like the reverse is true at the top end of the Canon range, with the wide format units. The difference between the x300 series now and the W6400/6200 of five years ago is amazing, and there has been 3 model releases in that time, the x000 series in 06, then the x100 series in 07 and the x300 series in 2010. The print quality has improved massively, with twice the number of inks and all the old bugbears of inkjet printing pretty much banished. The printers are laden with ever more features too. The same applies to HP and Epson as well.

The consumer inkjets of today are pretty much identical to the ones 5 years ago, the only real addition has been wifi - It's only when it packs in that anyone replaces them. The churn in models is needed so it makes your printer look out of date in the hope you'll buy another.

Martin Daler

February 1, 2011, 12:31 am

@Mattj, you'd be right about the new models only adding wifi over the 5 year old models, except that my 5+ yr old IP5200R has....wifi :) And ethernet, duplex, CD printing, twin paper trays, plus a strange water-drop style logo over a front USB port - no idea what that is! I really truly don't see anything new in the new models.

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