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I bought my Canon IP3600 a few months ago on eBay, not to be used for standard printing but for edible ink printed images. It came in a kit with inks, printer head and paper. I paid £84 for it, which for a printer is quite a lot I think but as an investment for my business, it was reasonable.
It was quite straight forward setting the printer up although I had to set up the printer head too which I haven't had to do before and that was a bit fiddly, be careful when unpacking everything or you might lose the little silicone discs needed like I nearly did!
Once the printer was set up, I tried it out using wafer paper that came with it, it's quite slow to get going, takes maybe 2-3 minutes before it actually starts to print but then it's okay. The quality is very good to say it's not printed on standard paper but edible paper, images are quite clear. It's better to print on edible icing sheets as opposed to wafer paper; you will get a much clearer image.
You can feed the paper from either the bottom tray or from the back. I find it prints better from the back; it seems to stay inline better. You have to set this up in printer properties when you are going to print something, it tends to reset to printing from the bottom tray.
You can change the settings to print high quality, standard or draft. For images, I always choose high quality. This printer is also capable of printing photographs but I haven't tried it so can't comment on how good it is.
It doesn't have wireless capabilities.
The edible ink that comes with the printer is very good and lasts a very long time. I have printed over 2000 cupcake toppers plus several large images and I have only had to top up the cartridges twice.
I would definitely recommend this as an edible ink printer.
The Canon ip3600 is my first printer and by and large I'm very pleased with it. It is a budget option without the bells and whistles that more expensive models have - eg. wireless connectivity or a screen - and without additional functions like scanning or photocopying. However it is good at churning out colour and B&W sheets for most at-home users.
This printer was cheap when I got it 2 years ago and must be even less expensive now. Some printers still use single or dual cartridge systems, where if one colour runs out, more than one needs replacing. This Canon printer uses an individual cartridge for each colour it uses - I don't quite understand why there are two blacks but there we go - so there is little waste of money or ink. Additionally, the ink is fairly regularly on special offers at WHSmith and other retailers, such as BOGOF.
This being a simple, wire-connected, mains-operated printer with an on button and a reset button and little else, it is very easy to operate and to replace the paper. So it is suitable for all users really. When not in use the paper output tray folds up and away and helps it look more at home.
The quality of the printed paper is remarkably good for the price - images are clear and full of colour, especially when photo paper is used. This I suppose is to be expected from Canon over other brands, but is impressive nonetheless at the price. Having said that, online services like photobox are so cheap and easy that my Canon is very rarely used for good-looking photos.
Like many printers, this Canon likes to claim that its cartridges are running out of ink well, well before it is actually true. When printing off lecture notes last year in B&W, it claimed it was running low on black ink. I ignored it and it was fine for so long I've lost count - either it was 230 more sheets of paper or 230 more lecture slides at 6pp (so 40 pages), and I do strongly think it was the former.... the point is that it is well worth ignoring its warnings about running out of ink, until it does actually start to fade.
The Canon can also be frustratingly slow to get going after you turn it on - it's not a joyful printer for printing off the odd page or two when you're half out of the front door. Another frustration is that I can find it hard to replace the cartridges as the unit doesn't seem to readily present itself within easy reach. The chances are I'm being a man and a berk and just not doing something right, so maybe its just me.
When I bought the printer, I chose it because it was so cheap and I didn't need or want a scanner or copier. Looking back, if I had the money to afford a higher-end product I would have chosen a model that included these functions. Although used rarely, these are useful functions that I often wish I had available under my desk.
Overall, this is a perfectly good entry-level printer from a reliable and quality brand, but has few bells & whistles that need consideration if you're thinking about purchasing the Canon iP3600 - otherwise you may just kick yourself a few months down the line.
Now to pay a visit to the Canon IP3600. This is a 'no-frills' budget printer, having no wireless, scanner or copier functions. Originally, RRP was £80 but can now be picked up for as little as £60. Very much an entry level printer, but with the added benefit of being economical through its use of 5 ink tanks like the more expensive ranges.
In the Box:
With the printer you receive the usual AC power lead, instruction manual, registration documents, 5 original Canon inks, software CD for installation and a small Canon glossy photo paper sample pack.
This particular model also came with the print head in the box, which needs to be installed before ink cartridges can be used. This is an easy process, sliding the back end in first then pushing the front end down slightly before pulling over the retaining clip to secure into place.
As with all printers these days, no USB cable is supplied as they presumably think that all buyers have one already. If you don't own one from a previous printer perhaps, then they can be picked up easily for just a couple of pounds.
Ease of Use: 14/20
The IP3600 is fairly easy to use, although it doesn't have an LCD screen, so all commands have to be issued through the Canon PC software.
The only buttons on the printer are the power button and the resume/paper feed button. Holding down the resume button for between 5-8 seconds is usually enough to clear any errors you may encounter during printing, such as low ink or 'cartridge not recognised' messages.
Cartridges are easy to install, and fit into the print head without a problem. The top lid is hinged just infront of the rear paper feed, so that easily opens wide enough to make visibility inside the printer excellent when changing ink.
Setup is as easy as it normally is for modern printers, and requires little human interaction along the way. The supplied CD guides you right through, prompting you to plug the USB cable into the printer and switch the power on when required. Also giving the option of a quick or manual install which enables the user to select which software they would like to install.
A limited feature set, in that it is only a standalone printer. But it doesn't try to be anything else, so it would be harsh to mark it down too much here.
The IP3600 would be ideally suited to the lighter home user, possibly to run off the odd photo or schoolwork.
It has no memory card expansion slots, but it does have 1 USB port ready for Pictbridge compliant devices or direct printing from USB devices such as a camera or USB pen.
The IP3600 stores paper in a 150 capacity tray which protrudes from the bottom of the printer, covered by a smoky black coloured plastic lid that sits on top to protect the paper and internals from dust. The rear vertical paper feed also has 150 sheet capacity but is better suited to printing photo's.
Build Quality: 15/20
Good build quality for a budget printer, but has a few issues which I'll discuss in a minute.
A nice sleek design, entirely black but for a flash of silver along the front edge of the lid. The sides are glossy and the top is more of a matte finish where the lid opens.
As per usual, Canon make sure all the external panels are covered with low tack plastic sheets to avoid any accidents during transit. Make sure you remove all the stickers before first use, as they prevent internal moving parts from becoming damaged in transit. The printer came very well packaged and it would be surprising if any damage occurred inside the box.
I had a couple of issues with paper feed during testing, as paper would occasionally gather up inside and lift the print head up off its guide rail. We tried another brand of paper and it seemed fine after that, but possibly something to look out for.
The IP3600 is getting towards the top end of the budget price range and close to the mid-range printers.
Black/monochrome prints were generally around 7 pages per minute whilst Colour prints averaged around 4 to 5 pages per minute (depending on content). Not quick, but it should be sufficient for most average household print tasks.
10x15cm photo prints take between 40-45 seconds and are of very good quality on the highest settings. Bright, colourful and quick drying. 9600×2400 dpi resolution and Canon's ChromaLife 100+ technology are a big factor in the detailed output this budget printer is capable of.
Unfortunately, it also suffers from the age old Canon issue of excessive head cleaning in between jobs at random times.
Running Costs: 18/20
The ink range used by the IP3600 is a previous generation from Canon (PGI-520/CLI-521) and as such, prices of compatible ink are very settled. This range is in plentiful supply and can work out at around £8.50 or cheaper for a quality set of compatibles (when bought in multiple sets).
Most budget range printers use a single Black and colour cartridge making print costs very expensive, however, the IP3600 takes 5 separate cartridges identical to the more expensive models. A high capacity Black is provided, together with a standard Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. This means that if one cartridge runs out, you only have to replace that cartridge at a much cheaper cost than replacing a whole colour tank like other brands.
Canon cartridges are also made of transparent plastic, which is very handy as you aren't left guessing as to how much ink you have left resulting in minimal wastage. Each cartridge also uses a red LED to indicate a successful installation, which can be handy when troubleshooting possible cartridge problems.
A set of Original Canon cartridges are still rather expensive however, currently costing around £40 on the likes of www.amazon.co.uk
I've had my Canon Pixma IP3600 printer for a while now and on the whole I'm very pleased with it. Originally given to me as part of my Disabled Students Allowance over a year ago, it is still going strong and I am yet to have any problems. Here's what I think of it's constituent parts:
General: It's a pretty chunky machine, although it does come in a nice black and silver colour, but still you need a bit of room to store it. It has too paper feeds - auto feed from the top, and cassette feed from the bottom. I use cassette feed, as it allows you to fold down the auto feed part and therefore fit the machine in a shorter space (such as under a shelf where mine is), thus giving added storage options.
Cartridges: The printer takes 5 cartridges - magenta, cyan, yellow and two black, which means you can change single cartridges as and when you need them. They're very easy to install and my official cartridges lasted about a year, which I was pleased with. I then bought some unofficial ones for just over a tenner, and had no problems with the machine accepting them. Buying these cartridges obviously makes running the printer a lot cheaper.
Printing: The machine is pretty quiet when it's printing plus it has a silent mode option to make it even quieter if you don't want to disturb anyone. Once it's warmed up it's reasonably quick at printing too, but the main disadvantage of the printer is the time it takes to warm up and be ready to print (over 5 minutes). Waiting for this length of time can be pretty frustrating. The paper feed is good, and I have never experienced any paper jams, plus the cassette lets you put quite a wad of paper in it, so you don't have to refill that often.
Print Quality: For my purposes I find the print quality to be very good. During my study I have used it to print out essays and graphics (diagrams, charts, graphs, illustrations etc.) and have been impressed with what has been produced. If however, you are looking for a printer to print photos, this probably isn't the machine for you, as it's photo printing , whilst ok, is not in my opinion of a sufficiently high standard. The pictures tend to be a bit grainy.
All in all, I think this is a good machine for day to day purposes. It is easy to set up and simple to use, but if you want to print good looking photographs, you may want to look elsewhere.
I used to rely on my university's printers, but when a flood took out the server room, I was left stranded the day my essay was due. I used a housemate's printer, and decided straight away to get my own. I looked on countless websites and decided to go with the Canon Pixma iP3600.
The printer is very quick, so it should not let you down when you're in a hurry. You can tell it to print, do another task for a few ten or twenty seconds, and the documents will be waiting when you turn back. A word of warning. The printer needs to time to 'warm up' first, so don't expect it to start printing as soon as you turn it on. It seems to ready itself for a minute or so, stops, and then starts printing. After that little exercise, it will print right away when you tell it to.
The only time it starts to be a let down is when you use unofficial cartridges. I bought a pack for around £15, instead of buying the more expensive ones under the Canon brand. The printer kept saying that the ink was empty even though I had just changed the catridges, and it still says that the ink is empty to this day (two months later). However, you can still print so it's not the end of the world, but it is slightly irritating.
EASE OF USE
After years with our old Hewlett Packard printer, it was an adjustment having to open the tray the printed sheets emerge from, knowing where to put photo paper and normal sheets, and how to store the tray that holds the paper. However, the printer reminds you when you have forgotten something. A message pops on screen telling you to open the tray, and it will not print until you do so.
It is VERY easy printing directly from a camera. You just plug the camera into the front of the printer via a usb and tell your camera to printer. No need for a screen on the printer, like higher end models include, because you can see it on the camera.
Very good. I printed some family photos and they looked professionally done, especially on the glossy paper supplied with the printer.
My cartridges lasted for a month shy of a year. As I said the cartridges were a great deal, so I am very pleased. I'm a English Literature student so I printed A LOT of essays this past year, and the cartridges that came with the printer lasted the duration.
Another great thing about the cartridges is the little window on the side. Cartridges from years ago were completely opaque, so you only knew they were finished when it was too late. Now I can keep an eye on the ink levels and order replacements only when I have to.
Changing the cartridges can be a tad difficult. With our old printer we just lifted the lid and the cartridges slid over, waiting to be replaced. Canon likes to play games, though...I lift the lid, the cartridges slid to the left and the back to the right again, where I cannot get to them. Then they slid left again, and just when I reach towards them they slid right again. I haven't figured this out yet. Anyway, eventually they're tired and stop so I can take them out. However, I find myself removing them as quick as I can, because sometimes they slid right again, back into their hiding place.
If you need to save the pennies then the iP3600 is for you, but for £20 more- a year later and from a different website- I ordered an iP4600 for my parents. That one allows you to print on Compact Discs, which is great for precious albums, CDs for distribution, etc. Besides that extra ability, they work and look exactly the same.
This printer is great for everyday use such as letters and children's homework's, although not for printing photographs. The ink runs out very fast and costs £30 per refill and in my experience, the black normally runs out at the same time as the colour cartridge.
I also find the paper feed is slow to catch and you are unable to fill to or even near its holding capacity of 300 sheets. Anytime I need to print I have to press for a blank sheet feed through first to ensure paper is catching and even then it can take a further 10 - 15 minutes for it to work, which really is the last thing you need if your printing out important documents.
It would perhaps be suitable for first time users who wouldn't need a lot of printing done on a daily basis as you will be out a fortune in ink cartridge refills.