Most who buy an inkjet printer do so because they want to print documents and photos. But they're either four-ink printers without colour space for photo realism, or they're six-ink printers that are expensive to run for document printing. With the added disadvantage of outputting greyish black text.
The Pixma iP5300 aims get around the problem with a five-ink line-up that includes both pigment and dye-based black inks.
Relying primarily on the pigment-based black tank, mono print speeds are fast, at almost 15ppm in standard quality mode and up to 31ppm in the high-speed draft setting.
Photo speeds from the iP5300 are stunning, with borderless 10 x 15cm prints taking about 20 seconds to output in standard mode.
Switching to the highest quality setting and taking advantage of the tremendously high 9600 x 2400dpi maximum resolution, we managed to get A4 borderless photo prints in just over a minute, making the Canon around four times faster than most rival models from Epson and HP.
Rich black text and colour is available for general documents but the big surprise is how good the colour rendition is for photo printing.
Despite not being a true 'six-ink' photo printer, Canon's ContrastPLUS system packs plenty of punch for vibrant colours, while pastel shades are recreated with real sensitivity and skin tones are beautiful.
The iP5300 has a paper input tray that slots in under the printer for up to 150 sheets of standard paper, plus an upright input tray that hinges out to accommodate a further 150 sheets of specialist media or photo paper.
A built-in duplex printing is standard, and an especially good CD-printing tray. One thing that's lacking is a media card reader for direct photo printing, you have to rely on the PictBridge input for this.
Ink costs are frugal, working out to about 1.8p for mono text pages, 5p for colour documents and 7.4p for 10x15cm photos. Compared with most Epson and HP printers, as well as Canon's own six-ink photo printers, ink cost are half the price.
For speed and sheer versatility, the iP5300 is simply unbeatable.