A bargain printer, the iP4500 uses Canon's unique line-up of five ChromaLife 100 inks, combining dye-based cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks with a second, pigment-based black ink. The system works so well in practise that Canon has now dropped conventional six-ink photo printers from its PIXMA range altogether.

No frills

You get no standalone frills with the iP4500, apart from rudimentary PictBridge printing, but the printer is wonderfully easy to live with. Dual input trays are ideal for combining plain paper for workaday printing, along with specialist photo papers, and the printer also supports automatic duplex (double-sided) printing along with quick and easy printing on compatible CDs or DVDs.

Levels of contrast tended to be a little high on some of Canon's older five-ink models but that seems to have been tamed on the new iP4500. Colour rendition is excellent and especially kind to skin tones although, to be picky, vivid blue skies proved very slightly pale in our tests, compared with some of the printers. Other highlights include an ultra-high maximum resolution of 9600dpi, super-fast print speeds and lower running costs than any other A4 photo printer.