Canon's new Pixma printer uses cheaper bottled ink

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Canon's new Pixma printer uses cheaper bottled ink

Canon's latest small-office multifunction printer drops those expensive cartridges in favour of refillable tanks.

As we recently pointed out, printers that can be refilled with bottled ink are generally cheaper to run than those using replaceable cartridges. The flipside is that you need to print in sufficient volume to recoup the higher initial price of such models.

Canon has joined the bottled ink bandwagon with its new Pixma G3600 A4 multifunction (print/copy/scan) printer.

It uses the Pixma hybrid pigment/dye ink system for what the company says is darker and sharper black text combined with vibrant colours. The Pixma system is designed for printing photos - borderless if you wish - as well as ordinary documents.

Features of the G3600 include 4800x1200 dots per inch printing (nominally 5 pages per minute in colour), 600x1200dpi scanning (in approximately 19 seconds for A4 colour originals at 300dpi), and USB and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity. Ink levels are clearly and conveniently visible on the front of the printer.

Mobile devices are supported via Google Cloud Print (but not AirPrint) and by using Canon's iOS and Android apps. The G3600 also works with Dropbox, Facebook, Google Drive, Instagram and SlideShare.

The $499 G3600 is only available from Harvey Norman. Bottles of ink cost $29.99 for black (up to 6000 pages) and $24.99 for each of the three colours (up to 7000 pages).

This appears to be Canon's answer to the Epson WorkForce ET-4550. The Epson has lower ink costs, incorporates faxing, includes AirPrint support and an Ethernet interface, and has a two-year warranty. The Canon has a lower initial cost, includes photo printing and cloud functionality, comes with a 12-month warranty and arguably has a more attractive appearance if only because the ink tanks are an integrated part of the design rather than being added on to the side.

According to Canon, the G3600 has a duty cycle of “5 years or 15,000 pages”, which implies it’s designed for businesses that print no more than six reams of paper a year – or about 60 pages per week. That’s okay for businesses with relatively light printing needs, but based on this duty cycle, heavier users may find the printer needs replacing earlier than you might expect.

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