Performance

March 29, 2013 by Amber Riippa Reads (14,927)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service & Support
    • 6
    • Print Quality
    • 8
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 7
    • Performance / Print Speed
    • 8
    • Features
    • 7
    • Operational Costs
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.17
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance

Setting up the Pixma iP7220
Canon includes a “Getting Started” guide with every Pixma printer, and it instructs users on how to set up and install your product for first use. Going by the guide, users must unpack the device, plug in the power cord and USB printer cable (if not installing via Wi-Fi), snap in all five ink cartridges, and load the paper in the lower cassette. The cassettes have paper guides that you may adjust to fit the size of paper you’re inserting.

Next, insert the disk that came with the printer into your PC; it comes with all of the required drivers, an on-screen instruction manual, and Canon’s utilities and photo software. Following the on-screen wizard is quite simple – just choose to set the printer up via Wi-Fi or USB and follow the rest of the steps. Users may choose to install all of the software or just the parts of it that they require. The entire set-up took under 15 minutes to complete.

Ease of Use
Canon’s software for the Pixma iP7220 includes an on-screen manual, a troubleshooting program, a desktop widget with shortcuts to tools such as finding out the model and ink cartridge numbers, and the main piece of software: the photo editing and scrapbooking software. The My Image Garden program allows users to find and organize their photos, “recognize” people in the photos by tagging them (the software will remember the person who was tagged and automatically re-tag future photos), and to create scrapbook designs and other fun projects such as calendars and stickers.

We’ll take a look at the editing tools and put together some collages using the software’s templates to get a good idea of how well the software works. First, the editing tools: the main tools include correcting and enhancing the photos and adding filters such as a fish-eye effect. As you can probably tell, that’s not a whole lot. The editing portion of this software is a far cry from the editing that programs like Photoshop offer. It might be useful to use as a quick and easy editor, but professionals will never use it to edit their photos.

The photo enhance screen provides an auto photo fix, red eye correction, face sharpen, and digital face smoothing. Users also have the choice of manually fixing photos themselves. The manual enhance screen provides individual settings for changing the brightness, contrast, sharpness, blur, and show-through removal.

The collage section of the software wasn’t that easy to navigate and use. Users must first choose a theme, add in who is in the collage and then add text and tweak the collage. Except, the act of doing all of this will be lost on most people. The software isn’t very intuitive; you can’t simply find photos on your PC and then click around or drag and drop your photos to tag people. In fact, the software won’t allow me to add photos to the screen to tag them. Also, the Pixma iP7220 doesn’t have a scanner, so any part of the software that tells us we should “scan photos” is invalid. We had to consult the user manual to figure out how to register people, but this shouldn’t have been the case. The software should be intuitive enough so users can figure it out themselves. It turns out that all the images on your PC should show up automatically. They did not show up on our screen at all. We simply couldn’t play around with the collages as much as we wanted to.

The My Image Garden software is a good idea, but it’s not that functional. I like the themes and the fact that you can quickly go in and tweak your photos, but it’s just not that advanced. Moreover, if the average Joe tries to use the software, he’ll most likely have to either play around with it for a while to figure it out or consult the user manual. Users have to tag photos to create collages, and in order to tag photos they have to show up automatically in the “unregistered people” view and no photos showed up for us in that view. Canon will have to patch and re-wire this software in the future to make it more functional.

Print Speed and Quality Tests
The speed of the Pixma iP7220 was quite impressive; it’s faster than most multifunction Pixmas that I’ve reviewed. There was one downside, though; it would randomly take over a minute to warm up before printing a page. Although it would usually happened before it prints the first page of a set of pages, sometimes it would happen in the middle of a print job. It didn’t happen that often, though, so the most likely explanation is that it needed to re-align the print head to make sure the pages came out accurately.

It took the Pixma iP7220 an average of 17 seconds to print the first page of black text under the default print setting, and it took an average of 4 seconds to print each consecutive page. We found that it was able to print 12 pages per minute. It took 3 minutes and 14 seconds to print a full 40 pages of black text.

As expected, color pages took longer to print. Printing the first page in color under the default print setting took 20 seconds and it took an average of 7 seconds to print each consecutive page. The Pixma iP7220 could print 7 pages of color text on plain paper in one minute. It took 5 minutes and 15 seconds to print 40 pages.

Next, we did print speed tests using the draft setting (also known as the fast, ink saver setting). We were able to print the first page of black text in just 9 seconds, and it took 4 seconds to print each page after that. It could print at a pace of 11 pages per minute. It took 3 minutes and 19 seconds to print 40 pages. While this is a fast result, notice that it took an even shorter amount of time to print 40 pages under the default setting. This could be because of the aforementioned print head alignment 40 pages probably should have taken just under 3 minutes.

Last but not least, we loaded up two pages each of 4×6 and 8.5×11 glossy photo paper. Standard and high quality 4×6 photos printed in 51 seconds each. It took 2 minutes and 27 seconds to print standard quality 8.5×11 photos, and 3 minutes, 11 seconds to print high quality photos.

The Pixma iP7220 produces fantastic quality photos. The 8.5 x 11 color photos look brilliant as well as very realistic. We use a color parachute with several different colors on the spectrum as a test photo to examine the printer’s ability to produce bold color in detail, and to compare the color shade of the printout against the original digital image. The color in our balloon test photo is very bold and pronounced, and they are very similar to the original digital image.


Original digital, left, iP7220 high quality sample, center, iP7220 standard quality sample, right

Our 8.5 x 11 black and white test photo print was especially astonishing. It’s a close-up photo with a lot of detail, so it works perfectly as a test photo. The detail in the photo is so pronounced that you can clearly see the reflection in the dog’s eyes. It’s interesting, because just as I was thinking that there was just a subtle difference between the Pixma iP7220’s high quality photos and the standard quality ones, I was able to see a huge difference between them. It’s in the color, although the detail from one to the other is just about the same, the color is much different. For example, the black and white photo in standard quality looks blue-grey instead of black. The colors are less pronounced and deep. That’s not a bad thing, though, the standard quality photos are supposed to be lower quality to save on ink and print time. It’s simply an option for the average consumer who does not particularly care about the color and quality being 100% on-par.


iP7220 black and white sample, left, iP7220 color sample, right

The same can be said for the small, 4 x 6 photo printouts. The difference is more subtle when not comparing two exact black and white photos side-by-side, but it’s still there: the standard quality photos are slightly different colored than the high quality ones. Overall, we were very impressed with the quality especially for a printer of this price range.

As a side note, we found that the text prints on plain paper were good as well. The text is bold and crisp. The draft prints were readable, and it’s easy to tell that they will save you on ink and printout time.


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