By Erick Lirios
Printer users have had to contend with high ink prices and having to buy cartridge upon cartridge of the stuff. There are “remanufactured” cartridges that are empty original ones filled up with new ink. The ink may not be really compatible with the printer and may serve to shorten that printer’s lifespan. There’s the “continuous” ink systems (CIS) that use cartridges with tubes coming out of them going to huge bottles of ink. The ink is not only cheap, it is also plentiful so people end up with a printer that has perhaps four bottles of ink right next to it—one for black and one each for yellow, blue, and magenta. It can be one messy setup on your computer desk and you never know if your printer’s print head will just give up the ghost because it wasn’t designed to work with the ink you bought for it.
Simple enough look; Lots of potential inside
The G3000 doing its impression of a copier and scanner
The simple yet functional instrument panel especially useful for that quick photo copy job. Color or black and white? Just a one-button press.
Myeong-dong at night: Good-looking specks of light in the background and sharp details in the foreground
Here are the ones for magenta, cyan, and yellow ink.
The black ink receptacle
Wouldn’t it be good to have your cake and eat it, too, and then have a good-looking setup on your desk?
Canon seems to have been thinking of the same things and came out with the G series printers. We’ll be talking about the G3000 here, representing what you will get with the G1000 and G2000 and minus the fax capabilities of the newly released G4000. What’s the difference among these models? Simply, the G1000 is a printer only, the G2000 is an all-in-one printer with scanning and copying capabilities, the G3000 is all that plus the fact that it has WiFi capability allowing all computers and even mobile devices like phones to print wirelessly, and, lastly, the new G4000 even has fax capabilities.
While it is true that most of us have gotten along fine without WiFi capabilities consider that without it, you need to have a file in the computer physically connected to the printer before you can do anything. With WiFi, any computer within the network can access all its capabilities. You don’t get the magnitude of this unless you try it. Think of how easy this makes things when you have a home or small business with something like five or more computers.
It’s really good that these printers use separate ink tanks refilled using ink from bottles. Do take note of the setup sequence because this crucial step pushes the ink through the tubes into the print head. It’s all in the manual but you may want to get the guys in the store to do it for you. (Best place is the Canon outlets themselves. The guys there really know their stuff.) The ink is not expensive either. It’s less than R300 for each bottle and you only need to buy the ink you need—black, yellow, cyan (blue), and magenta (red). Black (bigger than the others) is on the left while the colors are on the right. What’s really good here as compared to the old CIS options and even the new models from competing brands is that a Canon G series printer is one cohesive unit—no ink tanks outside the printer; everything is integrated. For those of us who have limited space, that is such a big deal.
You install the usual drivers on your computer (you have to download Mac applications from the Canon website as no installation disc is provided for the Mac) or mobile device and then configure the printer to use your WiFi network. Once that’s done, all computers and mobile devices on the same network can access the printer. Make sure that you are on the same network because you may end up expecting the printer to do something like scan and see nothing happening. That can be exasperating when you have a pocket WiFi unit that your computer connects to while your printer is connected to your main home network.
This is a printer, right? The main issue is still print quality and the fact that the only reason it makes sense to connect a mobile device to a printer is to generate pictures worth saving and showing off. Most families will look at photos on their computers or phones but print those they want to share with others. The G series gives you this. Fancy a good family activity? Have each family member look through old photos and choose which ones to print. Stop printing only when the paper runs out, when the ink runs out, or when the pictures run out. Chances are, it’s the paper that will run out. Ink is used very, very efficiently and you will have a long time before the ink in any tank is used up.
Documents are still the main use of printers and text is crisp and clean. If you’re doing an all text document, make sure you specify grayscale mode. Things come out muddy gray with black text otherwise because the printer used all its colors to generate the “blacks.” If you specify grayscale mode, it will only use the black ink generating good, solid blacks text. It also saves color ink for those important family photos.
The printer is almost R9,000, a bit pricey compared to most other printers, but if you factor in the cost of cartridges and the fact that these units come with not only your first set of four ink bottles but two more bottles of black ink, everything comes out well. The estimated number of pages runs to about 7000 pages. Is that true? We don’t know since we haven’t been able to print that much yet. Also, we haven’t been able to use up any of the ink yet even after all the photos, documents, school projects the printer has already done for us.
Is the R9,000 worth it? Yes, definitely, but if you just want basic printing, you can’t go wrong with the G1000. All-in-one capability is very, very solid with the G2000 but the best overall? It’s clearly the G3000. Put it this way: We used a test unit for this review but while still testing, we already went out and bought one to make sure we had a unit even after we sent the test unit back.