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== Canon Pixma ip5200 ==
I purchased this printer about three years ago now and it was not one of the latest models then. I was looking for a new printer as my all in one HP was costing a fortune in ink and I was just starting up an ebay business so I needed to be able to print invoices etc. cheaply and fairly quickly. I looked at Canon's mainly as they are one of the best known brands for doing cheaper inks. I had looked at a few different models when I came across the Pixma ip5200 in Comet whilst shopping for something else, where it was on offer for half the original price at just short of £35 with a full set of inks, replacing the inks in my HP with originals would cost more than this so I snapped it up there and then.
=== Looks ===
The Canon Pixma ip5200 is a pretty stylish looking printer, even now, the design is quite sleek and rounded and the two colours black and silver compiment each other very well in my opinion. When not in use the front closes up and leaves you with a nicely rounded rectangular object which is very easy on the eye, even when compared to the much more modern printers available today and would not look out of place on any modern desk, it certainly looks good on mine even next to a much more modern monitor and scanner.
=== In Use / Features ===
The printer is incredibly easy to get started with being a plug and play and has been installed on four computers now over the last three years including a laptop, installation has never taken longer than five minutes from memory. It comes with a driver disk, however I have never needed to use this and have installed it using the last three editions of windows.
Paper can be stored in a cassette underneath the printer or on a fold out tray on the top of the unit, I prefer to use the cassette as it holds more paper (about 150 sheets) and this also allows the printer to be stored against a wall as mine is. It also leaves the top of the printer flat for storage of items ie clocks, calenders etc. a godsend for me as I am always short of space on my desk so every square inch counts!! Being three or four years old, it is not exactly packed with features, but its main use for me has just been invoice printing so it has served me fine. I have used it for photo and colour printing though in the time I have had it and I must say I have not had any problems with it in any department. Function-wise the Canon Pixma ip5200 is pretty simple really, there are only three buttons on the front of it, one being the power button, another is to select where to take paper from (the cassette or the top tray) this is very handy to have on the front of the printer as if you decide to print a photo you can simply open the top tray and put your photo paper in then press the paper source button, instead of having to take the cassette out and put your photo paper in there before replacing it. The third button is a paper feed and resume button, so there is nothing too complicated about this printer! Below the three button is a usb port so you can plug a pen drive or camera directly into the printer and print photos off in that way.
Ink is changed by lifting a lid on the top of the printer in front of the top paper tray, opening this lid automatically sends the inks out into the middle of the printer and makes them easily accessable for changing. They flash when they are low also, so you can see at a glance which ones need replacing. There are five ink cartridges (two blacks and three colours) and this makes using the Canon more economical when changing the colours as they can be changed individually without having to change all the colours in one when just one has run out.
=== Print Quality ===
As I have already said, the main use for this printer is just for invoices printed in black only, however I have used it to print colour and photos while I have owned it. When printing invoices it is pretty quick, a page takes a second or so, and the result is very good, letters are sharp and do not bleed and the finished printout always looks professional and neat, I am very happy with the quality for invoices. When printing in colour, the printer used to be just as good as in black but it does seem to have lessend slightly in quality as time has gone on. The colours are not quite as sharp and realistic as they used to be and also occasionally there is a line of lighter colour which does not matter too much when printing something off the internet but can be very annoying when printing photos. I must say I only use compatible inks now though and when I first had the printer I used originals so that could be the problem and it might not actually be the printers fault.
Photos printed with original inks when the printer was new were excellent. I have four photos on the wall in my conservatory which were printed on the Canon when it was new using original inks and they are still almost as good as the day they were printed, I think they have faded ever so slightly but this to be expected in a conservatory. The photos I printed when the printer was new were all excellent as I have mentioned and were almost as good as some we had printed professionally, the images were sharp and clean with excellent colour and no sign of square pixels anywhere. I have printed some photos off recently using cheap compatible inks and I have to say they are still pretty much acceptable, obviously they are not as good as professional prints but when viewed in a picture frame on the wall they are certainly good enough to use. Aside from the occasional problem with a lighter line on the photos, the colour is not as good as it used to be, and pictures do not seem quite as vivid as they should, although images are still sharp and very well defined, the colour problem could quite easily be down the compatible inks though as mentioned earlier. Obviously newer printers on the market will print better photos than this printer, just because of the age of it, but the results are certainly good enough to display at home and show to friends, if you are after much better quality prints it works out much cheaper to have them done professionally in my opinion.
=== Durability ===
Well I have owned this printer for about three years now and I have never had a problem with it (touch wood, lol). It has been used daily for printing invoices and in it's lifetime I would say it has probably printed about twenty thousand pages but it still works as good today as the first day I bought it. nothing has broken on it and everything works as it should. It has been very well used and has also taken quite a lot of knocks but as I say it is absolutely fine. It still prints as it should and still looks fine so I will be keeping hold of it for the forseeable future.
=== Ink Prices ===
I only use compatible inks in this printer now and have done for the last couple of years, they are still widely available and two full sets of chipped inks costs just £8.99 including postage on ebay which I consider to be dirt cheap. Two full sets of inks last me about two months even though I do a lot of printing, but I don't print photos very often, just basic printing usually. When the computer tells me the ink has run out in a certain cartridge I ignore it and tend to get at least another week out of it before any pages are missing ink. A full set of original inks can be purchased for about £40 including postage, also on ebay but I wouldn't ever pay that much when compatibles are so much cheaper and do the job perfectly well for me.
=== Recommended? ===
So would I recommend this printer? Yes I would definately, I doubt if it is still being made but it is possible to get a second hand one on ebay for about £20 - £30 including postage. Obviously there are lots of printers on the market and you can easily pick up a new one for the price of a second hand one of these which will be much newer and will probably be better than the out dated Pixma ip5200, however for the tremendous fault free service it has given me and the decent quality printing it has always produced I can only give this printer five stars and recommend it highly to anyone interested in it. It is pretty slow when printing photos (an A4 page takes about five minutes on the best quality) and I have mentioned slight faults with colour but I believe this to be down the the cheap inks and not the printer itself so I really can't find fault with it for the job I use it for, and when you consider the price of the compatible inks it is an incredibly cheap printer to run which is a massive plus point for me as the running cost of anything to do with my business affects my profit directly. As mentioned earlier it is still a good looking printer and although it will not have the features of a more modern printer it does everything I ask of it, so if you are looking for a decent, cheap printer that will not cost the earth to run this is a definate contender in my opinion, and it will not be replaced until it packs up completely, at £35 it has cost me about £10 a year (excluding inks) and at this sort of money it owes me absolutely nothing, even if it packs up tomorrow after me singing it's praises in this review, lol.
Thanks For Reading, John, Also On Ciao!