User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Pros:compact, speedy, high quality printing
Cons:be prepared to spend more if you want to make the most of this printer
The Bottom Line: In a perfect world, the Canon Pixma iP100 would be our all-in-one wireless printing solution. Welcome to the real world, though, with all its harsh add-on costs.
If it's true that good things come in small packages, then the Canon Pixma iP100 mobile printer has a leg up on every other printer on the market right from the start. At only seven inches deep, thirteen inches wide, and two-and-a-half inches tall, the iP100 doesn't even take up as much room as a full ream of paper, but it prints every bit as well, if not better, than the boxier, bulkier desktop printers I've had over the last several years.
Recommend this product?
A printer will live or die based primarily on the quality of what it's able to print out and the speed at which it's able to do so. And in that regard, the Canon Pixma iP100 is as capable as we could hope for. Black and white text pages print out in a matter of four or five seconds each, while documents with images or color text take just a few seconds more. Even full page size, full color photographs typically print out in a little over a half a minute. Printout quality leaves nothing to be desired - text is always sharp and clear with no streaking or smudging, and photographs capture the fine details of the original without any noticeable artifacts (save for those that may be a part of the original file you're printing from) and without the colors bleeding at all. It may not be the absolute pinnacle of quality that someone making a big corporate presentation in front of the board of directors would sweat over, but it's more than enough for any situation a step or two down.
Of course, there are plenty of printers out there that equal the Canon Pixma iP100 in terms of image quality, and more than a few of them can beat it in terms of its printing speed (which is, admittedly, more than adequate). Nothing can beat it when it comes to the matter of portability, though. And it offers portability in more than one sense.
The most obvious way that that Canon Pixma iP100 offers portability is its small stature and its light weight (under five pounds, including the AC power adapter). People who use a laptop for even a portion of their daily use will find it easy to carry the iP100 along with them wherever they go. Visiting a client at home? Going to a business meeting at a different building? Working out of a variety of offices at different points during the day? Carrying your own printer with you can be a lot easier than having to cross your fingers and hope that your host has a printer available for you to use (not to mention that bringing your own printer with you cures any potential headaches that come from having to ensure that you've got all the right printer drivers installed for any unfamiliar printers you may encounter).
The Canon Pixma iP100 is even small enough and light enough to toss into a suitcase to take along with your laptop when you on vacation. There's no need to rely on the archaic lobby computers that most hotels offer to guests who need to print out maps to surrounding attractions or tickets for anything you've bought online.
The whole "portability" aspect of the Canon Pixma iP100 doesn't fully shine, though, until we look at some of the extra accessories that Canon offers. One such accessory is an optional lithium-ion battery attachment capable of powering the printer for several hundred pages worth of printing. Another is the optional Bluetooth adapter that makes it easy to print from any Bluetooth enabled desktop or laptop without the need to clutter the desk with yet another USB cable.
It's that latter attachment that's made the Canon Pixma iP100 such a valuable tool for me. I work as a teacher, and the school has all the classrooms set up with desktop computers that are networked to a number of different printers placed around the building. I have my own laptop which I bring in to school every day, too, and I frequently find that I need to print out files that I've created on that laptop. The district's network security policies are tight enough that I can't simply connect my laptop to the network that runs throughout the school. Back before I got this printer, if I wanted to print out any of those laptop files at school, I'd have to load them onto a flash drive, open them up on the school's desktop computer, and then print them out. Not exactly the most convenient option when I often have a number of things to print out spread throughout the day. Now that I have a Bluetooth enabled printer sitting on the desk in my classroom, though, I can come into school, open up my laptop, and start printing without even having to attach any cables. It's convenient bliss.
I could make some rather picky complaints about this printer. There's no physical tray to hold the paper after it's printed, so you'll need to place the printer strategically to ensure that your printouts don't simply fall onto the floor. It only uses two ink cartridges - one for black and one for colors - rather than splitting the color ink into a variety of different tanks as most modern photo printers do, so if one color runs out, you're forced to replace the entire cartridge and waste however much of the other colors are left.
Those picky complaints don't bother much. What make the Canon Pixma iP100 only a good printer instead of a great printer is that the Bluetooth connectivity and the rechargeable battery don't come standard with the printer. You have to spend extra (and not just a little extra) to get them. The Canon Pixma iP100 is already on the pricier side of the desktop printer market. If those add-ons weren't available at all, I'd say that this printer isn't worth it, but having to pay almost an extra hundred and fifty dollars to cut both the power cable and the UBS cable feels a bit harsh.
If you're an electronics gadget junkie like I am, though, you'll pay that premium. The ability to print wirelessly even when I'm away from my home network is nothing short of amazing.
Amount Paid (US$): 199
Operating System: Macintosh