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Canon I850 Photo Printer

WHAT'S HOT: Despite using four inks rather than a photo printer's typical six, the $199 I850 prints nice glossies with good detail, though the shading and textures weren't as strong as we'd like. (On nonglossy coated paper it does much better.)

The I850 prints photos at a fast 0.8 pages per minute. If you want your photo machine to double as a home-office printer, we recommend the I850 without hesitation: It delivers accurate, black text at 7.7 ppm--faster than any other photo or general-purpose ink jet printer we tested in our January 2003 roundup. It also cranks out graphics at 2.2 ppm, which is the quickest speed among the printers on both charts.

WHAT'S NOT: We were somewhat disappointed with the I850's grainy, banded gray-scale prints.

WHAT ELSE: Canon includes several photo utilities, including its own Easy-PhotoPrint for simple photo editing, PhotoRecord for creating photo albums, and PhotoStitch for creating panoramas.

The online help files we saw provide detailed information on paper types and on using the printer.

The I850's cartridges cost $14 for monochrome and $12 for color. Based on Canon's specified yields, printing costs work out to 2 cents per page for text and 11 cents per page for light graphics (with each page having 5 percent coverage).

UPSHOT: Home-office bargain-hunters looking for a printer that can pinch-hit on digital photography should consider the I850.

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