Canon Pixma iP6600D

If you’re tired of waiting for someone else to process your digital snapshots, Canon’s Pixma iP6600D will let you print great, long-lasting photos from your Mac. But because of its large, colorful 3.5-inch LCD, you might soon find yourself removing the computer from your home-printing process altogether.

Setting up the printer is easy. There are red lights on each of the six individual ChromaLife 100 ink cartridges that light up when installed correctly. These lights will also alert you, by blinking on and off, when you begin to run out of ink.

The printer has a USB 2.0 port on the back, which you can use to connect the printer to your Mac. It has a PictBridge USB port on the front that allows you to print directly from PictBridge-enabled cameras as well as slots that can accommodate a long list of camera memory card types, including the most common types. It even has a built-in infrared port for printing wirelessly from a cell phone or PDA with an IrDA port. A Bluetooth adapter is available as an option.

The Pixma iP6600D can pull paper from two sources—a standard, top-loading paper tray and a lower paper cassette. This makes it easy to print on different kinds and sizes of media without having to swap them out. You could keep plain paper in one and glossy photo paper in the other. You can set the default paper source from the front of the printer, or by selecting it in the driver software’s menus. You can also print on both sides of a sheet automatically, which most ink-jets can’t do.

The huge, 3.5-inch color LCD on the top of the printer and the easy to navigate menus make it simple to select, crop, rotate, and print photos—even perform routine printer maintenance—without the help of your computer. In fact, the screen is so big, it almost feels as if you’re using a computer.

The iP6600D was an average performer in terms of speed, but its photo output was impressive. I used the included color (ICC) profiles when printing from Adobe Photoshop and found that colors were nearly spot-on (they were just a hair on the red side) and pleasingly saturated. The graphics test showed no obvious banding in color ramps and gradients or breaks in fine-line details.

Text printed on plain paper was very legible, but not as fast or as clean as I’ve seen from 4-color, general-purpose ink-jet printers.

Timed Trials

10-page Word test 3:24
22MB Photoshop image 7:48
4-page PDF 5:33

Scale= Minutes: Seconds

We tested each printer via USB 2.0 connected to a dual-1GHz Power Mac G4 running OS X 10.3.9. We recorded the amount of time it took each printer to print a 10-page Microsoft Word document at Normal or Good mode and an 8-by-10-inch photo print of a 22MB file from Adobe Photoshop CS2 at Best mode.—Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith and Jerry Jung

jury tests

Text quality Good
Photo quality Very Good
Graphics quality Very Good

Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable

SPECIFICATIONS

Number of ink cartridges 6
Cost to replace all ink/toner cartridges $86
Connections USB 2.0, PictBridge USB port, Flash Memory Card reader
Printer resolution 9600 x 2400
Special features two paper trays; automatic duplex printing; 3.5-inch preview LCD.

Macworld buying advice

The Canon Pixma iP6600D’s six inks print great-looking photos with or without the help of your Mac. Though I wish its plain paper text were a little cleaner, it sets itself apart from the pack by offering a large, color LCD and built-in automatic duplexing.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

Pixma iP6600D
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