Canon has chosen a very no-nonsense design for its iX5000 printer. It's square-cut and has a conventional paper throughput from rear to front, using a four-stage telescopic output tray. Two buttons control power and paper feed and there's a PictBridge socket at the front and a USB 2.0 port at the rear, but that's your lot.
The printer driver is comprehensive and covers borderless printing right up to A3. As with several drivers designed specifically for the Mac, though, more thought could be put into placing all the essential parameters on to a single dialog. You still have to open up several different printer panes to switch from printing A4 plain paper, to 15x10cm (or A3 ) photos or to go from bordered to borderless prints.
Print quality for photos, despite the printer's four-colour print system, is generally pretty good. Colours come out natural and well-balanced and there's plenty of fine detail available in both bright and shadowed areas of an image. Graduated tints are well handled and solid colours are consistent, though sometimes not as vivid as the originals. Black text is fairly free from jaggies, though there is a little feathering into plain paper.
The iX5000 is quick, with a 15x10cm print finishing in 58 seconds and a full A3 borderless print taking 3 minutes 16 seconds. Even our five-page text print took just 51 seconds to finish - one of the quickest we've seen.
It's also not that expensive to run, as the black ink tank can produce 380, 5% text pages. Canon doesn't provide 20% colour print figures for the iX5000, so we based the yield for this on the PIXMA iP5200, which uses the same cartridges. This gives a cost of around 5.9p per page; a very competitive figure.