Price (RRP): $559
I saw a brand new printer on sale in a supermarket the other day for $19.95. At least that’s what I think it was, although I found it hard to believe. I can imagine the horror of the purchaser when the ink runs out after a ream of paper and they realise how much they’re going to have to pay to fill it up again. But as I discussed in my review of the Canon Pixma G3600 printer, there are now alternatives in which you pay the full price for the device up front, and a normal price for the ink rather than an amount designed to recoup the losses on the hardware itself.
The G3600 was an impressive example of this new breed. But a step up is the Canon Pixma Endurance G4600, which adds some very useful features.
In fact, it seems that the bottom two thirds of the G4600 is almost identical to the bottom three quarters of the G3600. Most of what differs is on top.
The Canon Pixma Endurance G4600 is a full all-in-one office device. It prints. It copies. It scans. It sends and receives faxes. The copying function includes an automatic document feeder so for bigger jobs you can just leave it working away on the job while you go off and do something more productive.
The fax and auto feeder capabilities are new to the G4600. The top section of the device is thicker to accommodate the feeder. There’s also a standard phone jack on the body for connecting up the fax.
The other main feature it has over the G3600 is a full control panel, including a two line LCD display. The numeric keypad allows you to enter how many copies you want. The display gives you a better idea of what’s going on and with its menu system, allows for easier control.
Another couple of features added to this model: WiFi Direct and AirPrint. The former allows direct connection from a smart device without the need for connecting to a regular network, while the latter allows driver-less printing principally from iOS devices.
It’s the bottom half of the unit that’s the main selling point. As with the G3600, it’s all about the ink.
Rather than costing $19.95, or even $99.95, this printer costs $559 ($60 more than the G3600). That’s because Canon likely turns a profit on each unit sold, rather than hoping to recoup the loss and subsequently make its money from the sale of consumables. So you pay more up front, but way less for ink.
The “Endurance” part of Canon Pixma Endurance G4600 isn’t just idle talk. The printer comes with four bottles of ink – black, yellow, cyan and magenta – to fill its four ink tanks. Using the standard types of tests they are rated at 6000 pages for black and 7000 pages for colour. As always, things will vary according to the types of documents you produce. If you’re going to be printing A4 glossy photos all the time, you’re going to get rather fewer than 7000 prints.
But you’re going to get a factor of ten or more prints from one refill than with a regular printer.
In fact: a new bottle of coloured ink costs $24.99 and that gives you a rated 7000 prints. One colour of ink for a typical regular Canon printer costs $20 for 311 pages, or $33.98 for 680 prints. So prints from the G4600 will cost just 7.1% of what they’d cost from the other printer.
To turn it around, to buy enough coloured ink for that other printer to give the same life as the G4600 has out of the box, you’d have to spend over a thousand dollars.