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December 1996 Reviews This Month

12/96 Reviews HW: Canon BJC-620

BubbleJet Takes Off with Speedier Output

By James E. Powell

Canon's latest BubbleJet printer, the BJC-620, prints twice as fast as earlier Canon BJC-6xx series models-up to 1.7 pages per minute in color and 3 ppm in black. Printing in the high-quality print mode takes a little longer, but even here the speed improvement is noticeable.

The BJC-620's driver lets you select the best combination of print resolution (720x720, 360x360, or 180x180), paper quality (plain, coated, transparency, glossy, high-gloss, high-resolution), and print quality (high speed, high-quality text, high-quality graphics and photographic quality) to get the best results. On plain paper, the print quality is very good for black-only business documents.

Color images in my tests showed true reds, blues and greens, and good-quality magentas, a color that's sometimes difficult for ink jet printers. Although the HP DeskJet 870Cse (see the review in this issue) does a slightly better job printing black text, the Canon is better for color. About the only real problem I had with the 620's color output was a slight blurring of red ink on plain paper.

Canon has designed its ink supply technology well; you need only replace a single color's cartridge (magenta, yellow or cyan), not a combination cartridge as with HP printers, so it saves money in actual use. And the black cartridge comes in a double-capacity version.

The BJC-620 can handle paper in letter, legal, A4, A5 and B5 sizes, plus U.S. #10 and European DL envelopes. You flip a lever next to the paper tray to switch between paper and envelope modes. There is no need for a separate manual sheet-feed slot.

The input tray can accommodate 100 sheets of paper, 50 transparencies or 15 envelopes. Output is returned in a retractable tray at the front of the printer, but there's no lip to hold paper in place and no stacking tray to keep paper from spilling onto the floor. Even so, no paper fell out of the tray during my tests. The unit measures 7.2 by 16.1 by 10 inches and weighs 9.9 pounds.

The printer includes a Canon Creative 2 program for creating stationery, certificates, newsletters, flyers, T-shirt transfers and personalized greeting cards. While you can have fun with a BJC-620 at home, make no mistake: This is also a serious business printer. A pop-up window (with optional audio prompts) alerts you to printer status and errors.

If the BJC-620 carries on the tradition of the BJC-600 I've used for the last three years, operation should be trouble-free. Just in case, Canon does provide a one-year limited warranty, with an InstantExchange program that provides you with cost-free 24-hour printer replacement.

-- Info File --
Canon BJC-620
Pros: Speed; setup
Cons: Some inks may blur slightly on plain paper
Platforms: 3X, 95
Canon Computer Systems
800-848-4123, 714-438-3000
WinMag Box Score: 4.5

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