In many ways, Canon’s PIXMA iP4950 inkjet printer is just a makeover of the previous model, the PIXMA iP4850. The case is almost identical, with a textured slate trim around its top, rather than the silvered one of the earlier model. At the moment, Canon lists both printers on its site and this one has slightly higher specs, but over the medium term we expect to see this one replace the earlier model.
Still not quite forgetting the lacquer box design Canon first started some years ago, the PIXMA iP4950 has high-gloss black panels to most faces, which get covered in fingerprints and smudges after about 300ms of use.
When fully closed, the printer looks neat and unobtrusive, but this is slightly deceptive, as loading A4 paper in the front-mounting paper cassette makes it stick out by over 80mm. It's hidden by the fold down and pull-out output tray, which lies directly above it when printing and the fold-up and pull-out rear tray, normally used for photo paper, increases the footprint further. Still, it's very unusual to have twin paper sources on such an inexpensive printer.
Like its predecessor, this printer supports direct printing on CD and DVD discs and this is achieved by folding down an internal cover at the front of the machine and sliding in the supplied disc carrier.
The only controls are two buttons set into the curved right-hand edge of the machine, for power and paper feed and below these is a single PictBridge socket for connecting a camera. At the back is a USB socket, the only data connection, as this machine doesn't support wireless.
Lift the top cover and you have access to the five ink cartridges which fit into the permanent printhead. There are two blacks, one pigmented and the other dye-based, primarily for photo prints. Software is fairly straightforward, with a couple of utilities for printing webpages and stills from HD video, plus a well-featured driver. There's also Canon's nicely implemented CD LabelPrint app, very handy for labelling all kinds of disc.