Canon i9900


Superior-quality prints and blazing-fast speed? You’ve got to be kidding!

If you print a lot of images with your ink jet printer, you know every phase of the process by heart. There’s the ker-chunk of loading, the whir, whir, whir of printing, and finally, after an eternity, the ker-plunk sound of the print ejection. Ahh, welcome to the age of digital photography… and slow, slow printing.

Fortunately, Canon’s i9900 doesn’t subscribe to the religion of slow-pokiness. Essentially a revamp of the i9100, Canon’s new bundle of joy is super fast and offers even better print quality than its predecessor.

In addition to a new case that can be closed to keep out dust and debris, the i9900 sports several new and long overdue interfaces. While the parallel port remains absent, Canon has added high-speed USB 2.0 and FireWire A ports to the mix, along with USB 1.1 (why there’s a separate USB 1.1 port we don’t know). The printer’s instructions seem to indicate that the FireWire only works on a Macintosh, but we had no problems using it to print to the i9900 on our PC. The USB 1.1 port on the front lets you print directly from a digital camera that supports the PictBridge format—unfortunately, that’s the only thing the port can be used for.

Internally, Canon has augmented the six-color range of the i9100 printer with the addition of red and green ink tanks. Besides giving photographs more vibrant reds and greens, the new colors also greatly improve black and white output. Finally, Canon spec’d the printer with double the resolution (4800x2400), a smaller ink droplet (2 picoliters), and an astonishing 6,144 nozzles.

Canon says prints from the i9900 will last for many decades, but that still doesn’t match the longevity of Epson’s 2200, which is rated for 75 years thanks to its pigment inks (Canon uses a dye ink). But while the Epson’s longer-lasting prints are nice, we really appreciate the i9900’s speed. The relatively large number of nozzles allows it to crank out a 13x19 borderless print in less than three minutes versus the 20 minutes or more it takes other brands. --Gordon Mah Ung

+Tri-X: Improved green output and incredible speed.

-T-Max: Front USB port should allow devices other than digicams.

Month Reviewed: July 2004
Verdict: 9

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