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Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer

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Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer

Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer

Aimed at the moderately serious photo enthusiast, the Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer offers a low initial price and the ability to print at up to 13 by 19 inches.

Budget-priced printer for moderately serious photo enthusiasts. Prints at up to 13 by 19 inches. Can print on printable optical discs. Wi-Fi. Wireless PictBridge.

Single paper tray with only 150-sheet capacity. PictBridge over a USB cable not supported.

Aimed at the moderately serious photo enthusiast, the Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer offers a low initial price and the ability to print at up to 13 by 19 inches.

Similar in many ways to theCanon Pixma iX6820 Wireless Inkjet Printer, the Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer ($299.99) includes one key addition that makes it a very different beast. The Canon iX6820s five-color ink system (with cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and photo black) does a good job with photos, but its still aimed primarily at business use. The iP8720

To be clear, the iP8720 isnt in direct competition with more expensive near-dedicated photo printers, like theEpson Stylus Photo R2000or the still more expensiveEpson Stylus Photo R3000. Both printers are Editors Choices as well, but theyre aimed at prosumers and professional photographers. The iP8720 is much more of a high-end consumer printer.

Probably the best way to think of the iP8720 is that its for people who cant justify paying for a printer in the Epson R2000s or R3000s class, but are serious enough that they want to print photos as large as 13 by 19 inches, need to print photos in black and white, or both. If thats what you need, it offers a lot for the price.

Despite the iP8720s focus on photo printing, it shares most of its design with the Canon iX6820. In particular, Canon says its ink system is essentially identical, other than the additional ink color and extra nozzles to go with it. It also shares the same paper handling capability, with a single tray that can hold up to 150 sheets of plain paper or a minimum of 20 sheets of photo paper, depending on which photo paper youre using. The maximum paper size is 13 by 19 inches.

The ink system and paper handling give the iP8720 the same capabilities as the Canon iX6820 for text, graphics, and photos on plain paper, which means that you can use it for everyday printing. However, having only one paper tray makes it best suited as a second printer for photos only, which is part of what defines it as a near-dedicated photo printer. Note, too, that unlike the Canon iX6820, the iP8720 can print on printable optical discs.

For mobile printing, the iP8720 offers printing through the cloud and printing over Wi-Fi with AirPrint or with Canons free apps for Android and iOS phones and tablets. For any of these features to work, you need an access point on your network with the printer connected to the access point by Wi-Fi. The printer does not offer an Ethernet port.

A related feature is support for Wireless PictBridge, but not PictBridge with a USB cable connection. At this writing, however, Wireless PictBridge is of limited usefulness, since its available only with select models of Canon cameras.

At 6.3 by 23.3 by 13.1 inches (HWD), the iP8720 is bigger than most standard inkjets, but small for a near-dedicated photo printer. For my tests, I connected it by USB cable to a PC running Windows Vista.

Setup is standard when it works as designed. However, I ran into a minor issue with a security feature in Windows Vista stopping the setup program from running. At this writing, Canon is still investigating the issue, but the company was able to give me an easy alternative for installing the driver. If you run into the same installation problem, you should be able to get the workaround by calling Canons tech support number.

We dont usually run our business applications suite with this category of printer, but because you might reasonably want to use the iP8720 for standard printing, as well as for photos, I ran the test in this case. I clocked the printer (usingQualityLogicshardware and software for timing) at 2.7 pages per minute (ppm). Not surprisingly, considering the similarities between the two, that makes the iP8720 tied with the Canon iX6820. The two also matched on photo speed, averaging 59 seconds for a 4-by-6 print. Thats just a little slower than the Epson R2000 and R3000, which both came in at 53 seconds.

Output quality was uneven, with the iP8720 handing in slightly subpar text and graphics, but significantly better photos than most inkjets can manage. To the extent that it matters, most people would consider the text in the printers default mode suitable for most business needs, as long as you dont need to use small fonts. Similarly, the graphics output in the default mode is easily good enough for any internal business use.

Considering that the iP8720 focuses on photos, what matters most is the photo quality, which is precisely what the printer does well. Although its color photos arent a match for output from top-tier printers, like the Epson R3000, they are a clear step above typical drugstore prints. And unlike the the Canon iX6820, the iP8720 also prints black-and-white photos at the same high level, with no obvious tint and with appropriately subtle shading.

If you want the best possible output and are willing to pay for it, youll want one of the more expensive Editors Choices, like the Epson R2000 or Epson R3000. And if you never print black-and-white photos, you can save a little by getting the Canon iX6820, which offers a close match for color photo quality. That said, if you want a printer that can handle all your photos well, and you cant justify the cost of a printer meant for prosumers and professionals, the Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer is the obvious choice, and it offers more than enough to make it our Editors Choice for consumer-level, near-dedicated photo printers.

M. David Stone is an award-winning freelance writer and computer industry consultant. Although a confirmed generalist, with writing credits on subjects as varied as ape language experiments, politics, quantum physics, and an overview of a top company in the gaming industry. David is also an expert in imaging technologies (including printers, monitors, large-screen displays, projectors, scanners, and digital cameras), storage (both magnetic and optical), and word processing. He is a recognized expert on printers, well known within the industry, and has been a judge for the Hewlett-Packard HP Invent Awards.

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