i960 Color Bubble Jet Photo PrinterThe Canon i960 is an incredible printer -- it's even faster than its predecessor the i950 and is so quiet you hardly know it's working. My real world tests with the i960 hooked up to my Windows XP machine via a 7-port USB 2.0 hub is as follows: Borderless 4x6" high quality, Photo Paper Pro ......... 35 secs. Borderless 8.5x11" high quality, Photo Paper Pro ...... 1 min. 25 secs. Timing was from paper feed to paper drop in the output tray. This is a very fast printer. And it doesn't sacrifice quality for speed either, the times listed above were using the high quality print setting. I also very much like the new 4x6" paper tray, it's really nice not to have to unload one paper, adjust the guide and then load a different size paper. Most of us print 4x6" photos with the occasional 8.5x11" photo print but mostly I think we print 4x6" photos and use standard letter size paper for our day to day normal printing tasks. Now all you need do is turn a dial on the 4x6" paper tray when you want that media and turn the dial the other way when you want the letter size paper. These printers come with a very nice bundle of software applications. Canon's Easy PhotoPrint makes printing simple, any size paper with many different multiple prints per page layouts and cropping options. You are shown a visual preview of the final print output before the actual printing begins. You also get Canon's ZoomBrowser which is like a Windows Explorer for graphic files. Folders of images are shown in thumbnail form where you can view, edit and print them quickly. One of the new inclusions in the software bundle is Canon's Easy-WebPrint which runs as an add-in with Internet Explorer. This makes printing web pages a snap. You can select to print background colors and images or not to print them. Many people ask me how to print my reviews because we use white text on a black background. By default Easy-WebPrint does not print the background and it changes the white text to black -- voilla! Problem solved. There's no denying that separate ink tanks are the way to go. It's ridiculous to have to toss an expensive 5-color ink cartridge in the garbage just because one of the colors has run low. I like that the Canon ink tanks are clear plastic, you can always "see" exactly how much ink is in them. I have to admit that I've never liked Epson's opaque ink cartridges and the way it keeps track of ink useage by counting the ink droplets. It's much easier to believe Canon, knowing that the printer uses a light beam to mechanically detect when a tank is low. The i960's print quality is simply awesome and equals anything that I've ever gotten from pro color labs in my film days. I've been totally satisfied with my Canon i9100, my living room wall is covered with mounted 13 x 19-inch prints from this printer. Comparing i9100 prints and i960 prints with the naked eye reveals little difference. If you go in for a closer look you can see how much smoother i960 prints are than i9100 prints. The i960's smaller 2-picoliter ink droplets make all the difference. See the 1:1 scan clips of actual 4x6" prints below.
The i9100 printer creates photo-quality prints that will satisfy most anyone's needs. However, if you're one of those people (like me) that just isn't happy unless you have the absolute best -- I'll see you at the checkout line. I said in my i950 review that Canon couldn't make this printer any faster, I stand corrected because they did. If you own one of the new PictBridge compatible or Bubblejet Direct Canon digital cameras you'll love the Direct Printing feature. No hassling with the computer, just plug the camera's USB cable into the printer and print! I am now waiting to see if Canon comes out with a wide-carriage version of the i960, that would be awesome!