Canon claims speeds of 11.3ppm and 8.3ppm for black and colour ISO prints, respectively. Under test, our five-page black text print took 37s, a speed of 8.1ppm, which increased to 9.3ppm for the 20-page document. The difference between the two is largely down to the fidgeting around the printer does before starting to print. It does quite a bit of this, which is excluded from the ISO tests, and it's worse when printing black text and colour graphics.
The best time we saw on our five-page text and colour test was 3.2ppm, but the longest print run in this test included a full 40s of ‘housekeeping’, before printing started. The printer doesn't always take this long, but it's irritating when it does and you need print in a hurry.
Printing A3 doesn't double the time taken and our five-page A3 document completed in 2:37, or 1.9ppm. Switching to photo paper, a 15 x 10cm print took just 52s, which is impressively quick since, as always, we print in best quality mode. An A3 print took 2:33, which is also fast – the printer appears to have been optimised for fast photo printing.
We are always impressed with Canon's print quality and this machine produces fairly clean black text, though with a hint of shadow to left or right of some characters. Draft mode text is light but still well-formed and very much what it says, ideally suited for internal documents where final print quality isn't essential.
Colour print is clean and areas of colour show no signs of banding and little in the way of dither patterns. Photos come through with natural colours and good levels of detail in both light and dark areas of images.
There is only one set of ink cartridges compatible with this machine and, even at Internet prices, they don't come out that cheap, giving a cost per A4 page of 3.7p for black and 8.9p for colour. While the colour cost is reasonable for this class of machine, the black print cost is high, though of the same order as other Canon inkjets.
If you need larger print on a regular basis, but have limited resources, Canon's PIXMA iX6550 is a good choice. It's print quality is up with other Canon inkjets and while its feature set is basic, it prints reasonably quickly, particularly when producing photos, and is as at home printing smaller paper sizes as when you take it up to A3 .