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Canon BubbleJet S800 Inkjet Printer Review

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Category: Inkjet Printers
Product: Canon BubbleJet S800

Canon BubbleJet S800 - Review of Canon's Bubble Jet S800

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Canon BubbleJet S800 inkjet printerCanon have launched the Bubble Jet S800 into a highly competitive market alongside printers by HP and Epson. According to Canon it offers 'Spectacular photo prints at superb speed', and listed below are a few features that stand out:

 

 

  • 25 years light fastness on Canon Photo Paper Pro.
  • Six separate colour cartridges with transparent cases.
  • 2400x1200dpi resolution, with up to 49 gradations of colour.
  • USB and parallel interface.
  • Fast full A4 photo in approximately 2 minutes.
  • Low running costs.
  • Microfine Droplet Technology using 4 picolitre ink droplets.
  • Noise level of approximately 37dB.
  • Optional scanner cartridge (600x600dpi).
  • 1 Year on-site warranty.

Design, interfaces and installation
Parallel and USB interfaces are provided at the back, but no cables are supplied in the box, so remember to buy one to avoid disappointment. In this test we used the USB option which was detected and setup easily by Windows 2000.
Two buttons are located on the top of the printer for power on/off and paper ejection. Between the two buttons is a status-light that remains green when on, flashes orange when reporting an error, and green when printing. A paper guide and paper thickness lever are also present.
Canon BubbleJet S800 inkjet printer
The paper trays can be folded up when not in use to save room, or fully extended as shown below:

Canon BubbleJet S800 inkjet printer

In addition to having 6 individual colour cartridges, the S800 also has a removable print head, shown to the right, which will simplify any maintenance required. Canon BubbleJet S800 inkjet printer

The cartridges fit snugly into the print head holder shown to the left, and installation of replacements is very simple. Due to them being transparent it is easy to quickly check how much ink is remaining and they are also relatively high capacity compared to some of the S800's competitors. Canon BubbleJet S800 inkjet printer
Software
The latest version of the driver (v1.50) was downloaded from the Canon (US) website and installed on Windows 2000, for some reason the Canon UK site didn't have the latest version of the drivers. There were no problems in setting-up the printer, and we were then able to print some test images.

Canon BubbleJet S800 inkjet printer

This is the main utility for the S800 and it allows you to change the various print settings. A small criticism is that the presets for different paper-sizes and types are not as clear as in software supplied with Epson printers, but they are still usable though.
Ink-level indicators are available in the status monitor, or you can simply lift the cover up and check for yourself.

Performance
Performance was impressive for photo-quality printouts, though those wanting to print a lot of text may want a faster basic inkjet or laser in addition to the S800. Noise levels are quite low, and are certainly acceptable. Using our standard printer test the table below shows the pages per minute we found the printer to be capable of:

Print-type Speed Quality mode
Mono text 2.9ppm Draft
Mono text 2.6ppm Standard
Colour Graphics 2.3ppm Draft
Colour Graphics 0.7ppm Standard
Photo (A4 full page) 0.49 Photo

Print quality
In testing this printer we used Canon PC-101S (6x4in) and Canon PR-101 (A4), both these papers allow 25 years of light-fastness*. For the plain paper tests, we used Epson photo quality ink jet cards (8x10in). All the printed images were scanned using a Microtek Scanmaker 5.

*The light-fastness number is the result of simulated tests, and is not guaranteed by Canon. It is subject to the images being stored in albums, clear plastic folders, or glass frames to avoid exposing them to open air. They must also not be stored in locations subject to high temperatures, high humidity, or direct sunlight. This time is also reliant on Canon Photo Paper Pro being used.

Density

Dark areas are detailed and have a natural rich black appearance. No dots are visible, to my eyes anyway, and tonal range throughout all areas of the picture is good. Colour accuracy is also maintained well in the shadows on the clock frame. Canon BubbleJet S800 inkjet printer

Skin tone

Fine detail of the skin is extremely good, with pores and individual hairs easily visible. Colours are well presented and the picture is very sharp. Canon BubbleJet S800 inkjet printer

Colour

The gradation capabilities of are shown to good effect in this photo, both the sky and the boat show great ranges of colour variation. This print showed a higher standard of colour rendition and vibrancy than some of our monitor displays. Canon BubbleJet S800 inkjet printer

Epson Photo Card

This performance is let down a little by the quality of the paper, but as this is cheaper than the glossy type used in the other tests it is interesting to note any differences. The most immediate one is the difference in colour, the sky appears with a much darker shade of blue, and other colours are generally darker also. Detail is still great, though lacking a little sharpness in comparison to the glossy print. Canon BubbleJet S800 inkjet printer

Verdict
Canon really needed to bring out something special to compete with the likes of HP and Epson, and they have done just that. When used with high quality paper the S800 brings professional level performance to the consumer on the high street, and it even rivals some traditional printing methods. The only thing that lets it down is its high price of 330, but using separate low cost ink cartridges could soon return the extra outlay.



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