The Canon PIXMA iP8720 wireless inkjet photo printer is aimed at those looking to make medium- to large-sized prints at home, offering the ability to print images of up to 13-by-19 inches at a resolution of up to 9600×2400 dpi.
Canon gave the iP8720 six individual ink tanks, including gray ink, allowing for more precise color matching in your photographic prints and for better black and white prints.
Numerous wireless and mobile printing options are available too, including Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as compatibility with Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and PIXMA Printing Solutions. Photographers can also print directly onto a CD or DVD with the PIXMA iP8720. The unit is available in black.
What’s in the Box?
- iP8720 Crafting Printer
- Power Cord
- Setup Ink Tanks
- Setup CD-ROM
- Disc tray
- Manuals and other documents
Features and Components
The Canon PIXMA iP8720 has one of the most basic designs you’ll find in a modern printer. There’s no LCD screen for interfacing with the printer, no dedicated paper tray in which to store paper, no copy or scan capabilities, and no extensive collection of lights, buttons, and icons.
The iP8720 isn’t designed as an all-in-one device or as a unit through which you can perform editing functions on your photos without using a computer. The iP8720 is simply designed as printer that can create sharp photographs at sizes up to 13-by-19 inches, and it excels in this area.
The only buttons you’ll find are three vertically aligned buttons on the front of the printer hardware, along the right side.
- Upper button. The power button is at the top of column, sporting a white light along the top when the printer is powered on. The white light will flash when the printer is busy. You can press the power button to turn on the printer, although you also can set up the printer to turn on automatically any time a print job is sent to it.
- Middle button. The middle button serves as a warning button, lighting and flashing orange whenever the printer is experiencing an error, such as from an incorrectly installed ink tank. You also can run a print test by pressing this button.
- Bottom button. The Wi-Fi button lights blue whenever the iP8720 is connected to a Wi-Fi network. You can press this button to start the search to make an automatic WPS connection with your local Wi-Fi network router as well.
One of the best features of the PIXMA iP8720 is its ability to accept paper in sizes up to 13-by-19 inches, as shown here.
This printer doesn’t have a closeable paper tray in which you store the paper over the long term, as do many printers and all-in-one devices. Instead, the paper on which you’re printing will feed into a slot at the top of the printer.
While you can stack up to 150 sheets of plain paper in the top tray and about 20 sheets of photo paper (depending on the size and thickness of the paper), you must remove paper from the top tray if you want to close the top lid of the printer during periods when the unit is not in use. A series of plastic panels slide upward when the top lid is open, providing a sturdy back to hold the paper upright but also adding to the overall clearance space required for the unit.
With a printer designed primarily as a photo printer, you probably won’t notice the lack of a traditional paper tray, because you’ll often be printing photos one sheet at a time. If you want to use the iP8720 as a more general-purpose printer though, the inability to store paper in a traditional tray will become a frustration at some point.
The key to allowing the Canon iP8720 to accept many different sizes of paper are the paper edge guides built into the top tray of the printer, as shown here. These guides slide outward and inward in tandem, allowing you to keep the paper centered in the printer. You can insert paper between the guides up to 13 inches in width.
The paper output area is in the front of the printer. A panel along the lower half of the front of the PIXMA iP8720 will open, and you can slide more plastic panels outward from the printer, providing a sturdy base on which the printed pages can rest.
You’ll open the front panel to insert the CD/DVD print tray, allowing for printing on specially designed optical discs.
If you choose not to make use of the PIXMA iP8720’s wireless capabilities, you can connect your computer directly to the printer through the USB port on the back of the unit. It’d be easier to use the USB port if it was on the front of the printer though.
Unfortunately, Canon didn’t include a USB cable with the printer kit. You also cannot connect the Canon iP8720 directly to a network because of the lack of an Ethernet port.
This unit features a six-tank system: Black, gray, yellow, pigment black, cyan, and magenta. The inclusion of two extra tanks allows the Canon iP8720 to produce higher quality photographs. The gray tank gives this model especially good results with grayscale prints.
Open the hinged front panel upward to see the tank compartment, which will slide out to the left to provide access to it.
Each ink tank will pop into place with an audible click. If the ink tank is inserted properly, a red lamp will light up on the bottom of the tank. If the tank is low on ink, the red light will flash.
Because the red light is not on with the large Pigment Black ink tank in this photo, the iP8720 system is alerting you that you haven’t inserted the tank correctly.
Once the lights on all six tanks are lit, the system is ready to use.
As you print a photo with the PIXMA iP8720, you’ll see a popup window that will show you the estimated amount of ink remaining in each tank. You also can check the ink levels through the My Printer utility that you can install along with the other Canon software included on the printer’s CD.
Once you have the printer’s ink tanks installed and the printer is connected to a power outlet, insert the Canon CD in your computer and begin running the setup procedure.
Making the Canon iP8720 connect to my Wi-Fi network was a very easy process by just following the on-screen instructions. You also can connect the printer to a computer via USB using these same on-screen instructions.
The printer made an immediate connection with my Wi-Fi router after pressing the Wi-Fi button on the front of the printer and the WPS button on my router. If your Wi-Fi router isn’t WPS-enabled, you’ll have to enter the network information manually.
You then can choose which software you want to install from the Canon CD before creating a test print.
Mobile Device Setup
My iPhone found the Canon printer a few seconds after I tapped on the Print icon for my photo. Through the Apple AirPrint feature you’re able to print more than one copy of the image if you want.
Canon includes a digital user guide and a few different types of software you can install from the CD that ships with the PIXMA iP8720.
The My Image Garden software included with the Canon iP8720 allows you to access photos stored on your computer or on a linked online storage site. Click on the folders on the left side of the screen, and all of the available images will appear as thumbnails on the right side. To change how thumbnails are displayed, use the buttons and slider bars along the bottom of the window.
Within the My Image Garden window, the editing options are listed across the bottom of the window, along with a Print button. You’ll have to highlight a thumbnail to activate the buttons for the editing options, which are: New Art, Correct/Enhance, Special Filters, Video Frame Capture, and Create/Edit PDF File.
Use the New Art button to create photo gifts, including: Photo Layout, Collage, Card, Calendar, Stickers, Disc Label, Video Layout, and Paper Craft.
When using the My Image Garden’s photo editing options, don’t expect to be able to make comprehensive editing changes to your photos, as the editing options are very basic with this software. A more extensive editing feature set would make My Image Garden much more useful.
The editing options under Correct/Enhance are:
- Auto Photo Fix
- Red-Eye Correction
- Face Sharpener – Weak, Medium, Strong
- Digital Face Smoothing – Weak, Medium, Strong
- Manual – Adjust (Brightness (-5 to +5), Contrast (-5 to +5), Sharpness (0 to 10), Blur (0 to 10), Show-Through Removal (0 to 10)), Correct/Enhance (Red-Eye Correction (Weak, Medium, Strong), Face Brightener (Weak, Medium, Strong), Face Sharpener (Weak, Medium, Strong), Digital Face Smoothing (Weak, Medium, Strong), Blemish Remover)
Through the Advanced button under Manual, you can also adjust the tone and color balance.
The editing options under Special Filters are:
- Fish-Eye Effect – Weak, Medium, Strong
- Miniature Effect – Small, Medium, Large
- Toy Camera Effect – 0, 1, 2, 3
- Soft Focus – 0, 1, 2, 3
- Blur Background – Weak, Medium, Strong
When you click the Print button in My Image Garden, you’ll be able to select from a variety of print options in the popup window, including:
- Paper Size – Letter 8.5×11 inches, 11×17 inches, A4, A3, A3+ 13×19 inches, 4×6 inches, 5×7 inches, 8×10 inches, 10×12 inches
- Media Type – Plain Paper, Photo Paper Plus Glossy II, Photo Paper Pro Platinum, Photo Paper Pro Luster, Photo Paper Plus Semi-Gloss, Glossy Photo Paper, Matte Photo Paper, High Resolution Paper
- Paper Source – Rear Tray
- Date Printing Settings – Print Date (Yes, No), Text Orientation (Horizontal, Vertical), Position (Bottom Right, Bottom Left, Top Right, Top Left), Font Size (Large, Medium, Small, Tiny), Font Color
- Grayscale Settings – Print As Grayscale Photos (Yes, No), Tone (Cool, Medium, Warm)
- Borderless Printing Settings – Print on Full Page Without Borders (Yes, No), Amount of Extension (None, Minimum, Middle, Maximum, Standard)
- Advanced Settings – Image Correction (Enable Auto Photo Fix (Enable Red-Eye Correction, Prioritize EXIF Info), No Correction), Print Quality (Auto, High, Standard, Custom)
Canon included a Quick Menu option on the Canon CD, which gives you access to a variety of settings and features related to the Canon PIXMA iP8720. The software places a menu of icons in the lower right corner of your computer screen, providing quick access. Or you can click on the icon in the lower right corner to open the Quick Menu window shown here. The options in the Quick Menu include:
- Print – Creative Park Premium, Photo Layout Print, Video Layout Print, Disc Label Print, Card Print, Collage Print, Calendar Print
- Scan – (no options as iP8720 has no scan capability)
- Web Services – User Registration, Member Login, Access to Consumables Shop, Creative Park, Introduction to Useful Functions, Product Information, Notices
- Manual & Device Information – Ink Model Number, Detailed Manual Online, Basic Manual, Start My Printer, Diagnose and Repair Printer
- Device Settings & Maintenance – Network Settings, Quiet Settings, Auto Power Settings
If you use the printer software functions a lot, this Quick Menu feature is a nice option. However, the menu of icons in the lower right corner of the screen occupies a lot of screen territory, so you may want to remove these icons from view and only access the Quick Menu window when you need it through your computer’s Program menu.
Running tests with the Canon PIXMA iP8720 photo printer reminded me of watching a really good fireworks show. Showing the impressive printouts to others elicited oohs and aahs in quantities unlike I’ve noticed in a long time with a photo printer designed for at-home use.
The iP8720 doesn’t offer a lot of add-on features, meaning it needs to excel at its primary focus: Printing photos of large sizes at an outstanding quality. Fortunately, this printer unit does just that. It will yield sharp and bright photos at different sizes up to an impressive 13-by-19 inches.
Certainly, the PIXMA iP8720 has a few flaws. And, certainly, more feature-extensive (and expensive) printer options are available in the market for more advanced photographers. But with a starting price of around $300, this Canon model is just a little more expensive than consumer-level all-in-ones and beginner-level photo printers, while providing much better image quality for photo prints.
Using its six ink tanks, the Canon iP8720 has an advantage over other printers aimed at consumers when it comes to printing photos. The inclusion of a gray ink tank in this model allows it to create stunning grayscale photo prints, although these black and white photo prints do require a longer print time than a typical color photo with this model.
While you probably will want to print most photos using this Canon unit at the highest quality setting with specialty photo paper, I did like the fact that the iP8720 did a really nice job at the standard quality setting too, which will work well for those times when you’re wanting to make a quick print, as long as you use a relatively small size. With this model you even can get away with having decent quality on a small print if all you have available is plain paper.
Setup was very easy with the iP8720, just requiring you to install the ink cartridges, install the software, and begin printing. You’ll know if you’ve inserted everything correctly because a lamp on each cartridge lights up, and you won’t see a flashing orange light on the front of the printer.
For those who are used to more of an all-in-one type of multifunction print device, the PIXMA iP8720 will take some readjustment in how you think about using the unit. The printer has no LCD screen allowing you to control it, and it has no memory card slots for direct printing.
- Printer is aimed at photo printing, although it will print documents well
- Very good photo print quality
- Six-ink printing system, including gray ink, is especially good for either color or black and white photos
- Can print documents or photos at sizes up to 13-by-19 inches
- Numerous connectivity options for computer or mobile devices
- Printer is easy to set up and use, either wirelessly or through USB 3.0 connection
- Good-looking unit with all black design
- Printer turns on whenever document or photo is sent
- No direct memory card printing option
- No built-in touch screen LCD to control the printer
- Cost per printed page is above average because of six-ink system
- Starting price near $300 is a little higher than most at-home consumer-level printers
- No scan, copy, or fax options
- Heavy, large unit requiring a lot of clearance space
Actually, the iP8720 has very few buttons of any kind. You’ll have to operate the printer through your computer or mobile device. Canon offers a variety of wireless connectivity options, including through Wi-Fi-enabled devices, through PIXMA Printing Solutions and the PPS app, through Apple AirPrint for Apple mobile devices, through Google Cloud Print for use with Google Docs on mobile devices and with Google Chrome on a computer, and through Wireless PictBridge for direct printing from enabled digital cameras.
Don’t expect to hide the PIXMA iP8720 on a corner of the desk. It measures about 24 inches wide, 6 inches in height, and 13 inches in depth, while weighing 18.6 pounds. But when you extend all of the different plastic paper guides, you’ll need 16 inches of clearance height and 32 inches of clearance depth to use the iP8720. That’s a lot of real estate, especially for a dedicated print unit that has no scan or copy capability.
Still, you can use this model as a general printer in your home. Text documents don’t look quite as impressive as photo prints, but they’re still of a very good quality on the highest quality setting. Even at the draft setting, you’ll be able to print text documents of a good enough quality as long as you’re using a font of a reasonable size. The lack of a dedicated print tray can make it tough to print documents of several dozen pages, but this PIXMA unit will be more than adequate for the typical document printing you’d do at home.
Print speeds for the iP8720 vary quite a bit, depending on which settings you’re using. If you’re using specialty photo paper and printing at the highest quality settings, you can expect performance a bit slower than most consumer-level printers. But the trade-off with this model is the very impressive print quality at those settings, which is quite a bit better than the cheaper printers. My tests showed average print speeds of:
- From PC via Wi-Fi, 13×19-inch photos: High quality, color, glossy photo paper, 4 minutes, 5 seconds
- From PC via Wi-Fi, 8×10-inch photos: High quality, color, glossy photo paper, 1:44; standard quality, color, glossy photo paper, 1:17
- From PC via Wi-Fi, 4×6-inch photos: High quality, grayscale, glossy photo paper, 2:16; high quality, color, glossy photo paper, 0:56; high quality, color, plain paper, 0:40; standard quality, color, plain paper, 0:21
- From PC via Wi-Fi, 8.5×11-inch text documents, black and white: High quality, plain paper, 0:26; draft quality, plain paper, 0:09
Using a mobile device over your in-home Wi-Fi network will yield similar performance speeds to those listed above.
The 13-by-19-inch printing option is especially impressive with the PIXMA iP8720, as it offers something simply not possible with other at-home consumer-level printers at or below this price range. And with a high-end photo print quality to match its large paper size option, there are a lot of things to like about this printer.
Those who are used to more of an all-in-one print option may be frustrated with the iP8720’s lack of scan, copy, or fax capabilities and lack of a dedicated paper tray. And an inclusion of a touch screen display with direct printing from memory cards would’ve been nice to have. But once you see the print quality you can achieve on larger-than-average sizes of photo paper, those frustrations will disappear quickly.
The PIXMA iP8720 may have only one primary function — photo printing — but Canon has ensured that it outshines its competition in that area.
The photo print quality you can achieve with the Canon PIXMA iP8720 is very impressive for an at-home consumer-level printer, easily surpassing other sub-$300 printers. But when you also consider the iP8720 can handle print paper sizes up to 13-by-19 inches, this model provides a feature that very few consumer-level printers can match. The iP8720 is easy to set up and use over Wi-Fi. It's not the ideal printer for every situation, as it has no copy or scan option, no memory card slots, no Ethernet connection, and no touch screen display, but it's so good at printing photos, especially black and white photos, that the features it's missing won't matter to Canon's target audience for the PIXMA iP8720.