Canon BJC-85

Very portable printing, but slow speed and lackluster quality mar the package.

WHAT'S HOT: Canon designed the BJC-85 for people on the move, and it carries easily in a shoulder bag with your notebook. When folded up for travel, it's about half the size of a notebook computer, at 12 inches wide, 2 inches thick, and only 6 deep, and it weighs 3 pounds 4 ounces. (The AC power supply adds another half pound.) If your travels take you far from the power grid--for example, to darkest California--bring along the battery pack, which weighs 1.5 pounds and costs $85. In case you don't care to pack any wires at all, the BJC-85 has an infrared port to receive data from your notebook.

WHAT'S NOT: The $299 price tag may seem steep, especially for an ink jet that prints text at a sub-par 2.7 ppm, produces text documents marred by rough edges and white spots, and renders graphics almost indecipherable in grayscale or color. But high cost and low performance are the inevitable trade-offs for miniaturization, and in this case it's no more extreme than, say, a notebook compared to a desktop PC. The BJC-85's real bite is on ink prices: Based on Canon's estimates for ink yield, a single page of black text will cost you a hefty 8.1 cents. (The high-yield black option cuts that price to 4.3 cents per page.) Color runs 17.2 cents, which is steep but not off the scale.

WHAT ELSE: Canon provides a top-notch manual for the BJC-85 on the driver CD, but unfortunately this isn?t available in printed form; install it on your notebook and you'll have one less thing to haul around. The driver and labels on the printer itself are clear and easy to use. And if your travels demand a scanner as well as a printer, the BJC-85's print head pops off, and you can install the IS-12, a $99 option that turns the printer into a 360-dpi, 8-bit color scanner.

UPSHOT: The BJC-85 might find a home with the traveling executive, but the slow print speed and poor print quality mean it is not suitable for other uses.


Canon BJC-85

Rated 5-ppm monochrome/2-ppm, 720-by-360-dpi maximum resolution, 30 sheets input, no output tray.

Street price: $299


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