- Good performance with a variety of applications;
- good print quality;
- four separate ink cartridges.
- Manual rather than automatic duplex printing;
- no automatic paper recognition.
Although inkjet print speeds -- at least for draft mode text -- are now approaching 20 pages per minute (ppm), the technology doesn't generally deliver such performance in standard mode or with more complex documents. When faced with large blocks of colour, for example, inkjet speed drops significantly compared with a colour laser printer. However, Canon's new S750 inkjet makes a better job than most of delivering good performance and high print quality with a range of document types.
The S750 -- which claims print speeds ranging from 20ppm (mono text) to 2.5ppm (full-colour A4) -- is among the fastest inkjets we've tested. Print quality is impressive, benefiting from Canon's Advanced MicroFine Droplet Technology, which delivers a resolution of 2,400 by 1,200dpi and an ink droplet size of five picolitres.
A new colour technique called Advanced Precision Colour Distribution Technology (APCDT) ensures that the S750 prints solid-colour blocks quickly, without banding or bleeding of the ink. APCDT enables single-pass bi-directional printing by offsetting the black nozzles from the colour ones by one scan length, allowing drying time between black and colour ink application and reducing ink bleed; the colour nozzle array is also mirrored to give the same firing order on the outward and return passes of the print head, reducing banding. The paper feed has four built-in engines, and all the mechanical components are laid out for higher speed, according to Canon.
The brilliant quality of colour graphics and photographs on special media is most impressive, even if it doesn't quite match that of a photo printer on close inspection. Canon also guarantees light-fastness for up to 25 years on Canon photo paper -- so long as the output isn't exposed to the open air, high temperatures, high humidity or direct sunlight. Image quality on standard paper for text and graphics is also good, although photo printing on standard paper is not one of the S750's strengths, the printout looking washed-out and pale.
The S750 is capable of borderless printing -- an important feature for photo printing. However, this is only possible with Photo Paper Pro (A4 and 6in. by 4in.) and Glossy Photo Paper (A4).
The S750 offers a duplex function, and although the paper must be inserted manually according to instructions from the driver, which then co-ordinates the printing sequence. The optimal angle for inserting the paper requires some practice, and although the driver has information about paper types, the whole process is not as automated as in some Hewlett-Packard models.
The S750's separate ink cartridges are a distinct advantage. Each of the four colours -- cyan, magenta, yellow and black -- can be replaced separately as soon as they run out, and the driver keeps you up-to-date on the current level of the ink supply in each cartridge.
The printer has both USB and parallel ports. With an optional adapter, the S750 can also be networked. The included software runs under Windows 95 or later and MacOS 8.6 to OSX. The driver software incorporates the Canon's new 'Vivid Photo' technology for improving colour brilliance.
Anyone who can do without features such as Bluetooth, automatic duplex mode and automatic paper recognition will find the Canon S750 a fast and reliable printer with impressive print quality. The driver offers a lot of functionality, but could be user-friendlier in terms of paper selection.
The S750 is designed for home office user, and at £152.34 (ex. VAT) offers a very good blend of performance and print quality for the price. For an inkjet printer, the running costs are reasonable too, as the individual ink cartridges can be used completely with no waste. Mono text with five per cent coverage costs 3.4 pence per page, with four-colour output at five per cent costing 8.9p. If you use special paper the costs are between 11 and 46p per page, with a fully covered page on photo paper costing around 98p. These values may depend on the driver settings.