Canon PIXMA iP4700 review

Straightforward printing with the emphasis on speed and quality, rather than frills

Canon pixma ip4700
Can you lose features but maintain quality?

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    High 9600x2400dpi print resolution

  • +

    Super-fast output

  • +

    Double-sided printing

  • +

    Five-ink system works a treat

  • +

    Stunning print quality


  • -

    Ink costs are higher than before

  • -

    No Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet connectivity

  • -

    You may need to buy a scanner in the future

  • -

    It's smartly turned out but black isn't everyone's favourite colour

  • -

    Canon's new lower-capacity cartridges need replacing more frequently

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Not everyone wants a bit on the side. Sometimes you might fancy a burger without fries and a medium sized fizzy drink, or maybe you'd like to buy a loaf of bread without getting another one for half price.

It pays to only buy what you need so why spend extra on a printer that has a built-in scanner, memory card slots, colour LCD and maybe even a fax machine and drinks dispenser, when all you want to do is to print stuff from your computer?

The iP4700 aims to give you premium quality document and photo printing without the gimmicks.

Until a few years ago, inkjet printers sat resolutely in one of two camps.

The four-ink printers in business suits were all about hard-nosed document and spreadsheet printing, while their arty and flamboyant six-ink cousins were into photos.

That all changed with the introduction of Canon's five-ink printing system, which combined both dye-based and pigment-based black inks with dye-based cyan, magenta and yellow inks.

The idea was that the pigment-based black ink would give rich, strong text for documents, as well as adding depth and contrast to photo output.

In practice, it worked so well that several generations of the so-called ContrastPlus systems followed, the latest of which is embodied in the iP4700, and has also been copied by HP in printers like the Photosmart Premium C309G.

The iP4700's print engine is basically the same as the one featured in the PIXMA MP640 all-in-one printer but in a much more compact package, doing away with every piece of multifunction frippery, from card-reading to Wi-Fi connectivity.

It really is a bare-bones device, the most adventurous multimedia-friendly thing about it being a humble PictBridge socket that adds to the more workaday USB 2.0 port.

But while it might look small and basic from the outside, there's no lack of versatility when it comes to printing.

The iP4700 boasts full auto duplex for outputting double-sided documents, a really neat disc tray for printing direct onto white CDs and DVDs, and two full size A4 paper input trays.

These are a real chore-saver because you can load the lower cassette with up to 150 sheets of plain paper, slot it in underneath the printer and forget about it, then add photo paper of any size up to A4 into the upright tray at the rear, as and when you need to.

Best of all, the iP4700 is amazingly fast and super accurate.

In our tests, it churned out mono text pages in seven seconds flat, colour DTP pages in just 16 seconds, borderless 6x4-inch colour photos in 19 seconds (normal quality) and borderless A4 photos in just under two minutes (highest quality), all with impeccable results throughout.

If your idea of versatility in a printer is that it can create spectacular photos as well as immaculate documents with the minimum of fuss and bother, rather than boasting bells and whistles that you may never use, then the iP4700 will fit the bill perfectly.