Previously, A3-capable printers have been too bulky and too expensive to make any great inroads into the home market, but the new Canon PIXMA iX6850 is both affordable and compact – or at least as compact as an A3 printer can be. But despite being very good at the tasks it was designed for, we don't think it's a perfect replacement for your current A4 printer, especially if it's an all-in-one device.
Although wide, the Canon PIXMA iX6850 has a relatively small footprint for an A3 printer. This makes it very useful for the home, where space may be at a premium. Its photo printing is excellent, and it's very good at handling text too. We appreciate the wide range of mobile printing options, such as Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint and the smartphone apps. Build quality is good, and it has five separate ink tanks.
To be fair, the Canon PIXMA iX6850 was never designed as an all-round printer, but its lack of Duplex must be noted. It also lacks a colour screen and the facilities to print from memory cards or sticks; the PIXMA iX6850 really only comes into its own when connected to a computer. It has no paper tray either, so you have to load up every time you use the printer or leave your paper exposed to dust and discoloration.
The Canon PIXMA iX6850 is good at what it does, though it's not an ideal all-round workhorse. Instead, it should be treated as a companion to your main device, an excellent photo printer to augment your everyday all-in-one. Unless you're a photo enthusiast who only needs to print text pages occasionally, of course, in which case it's fine for all your needs.