I’m sorry, but it’s starting to look like a fix now.  Believe me, it’s not, the Canon photo A3 range have definitely smashed it this time round.  They’ve proved to be consistent in their attack on the competition and have definitely, particularly at the price ranges that we have tested, proved to be a forced to reckoned with in the battle of the A3 colour printers, for those on a budget.  Even for those not on a budget, these machines prove time and time again that printing is in the hands of those “Who can...”  Get it?

WINNER

The Canon Pixma Pro9500  - Wow, well, this Canon machine has been on test for almost a year and we’ve had no major problems.  That’s why they still sell it.  Once you make the necessary adjustments using the snazzy Photoshop plug-in - adjusting the intensity, contrast and colour - this printer flies effortlessly.  If you are a keen photographer, you’ll want to fine tune any machine, especially to the paper type.  This machine uses 10 cartridges and achieves outstanding print quality - even black and white prints.  It’s a pigment based ink (all the machines in this section are) so the prints should last over 200 years.  Plus, with 10 ink cartridges in the machine there’s no need to switch inks for gloss and matt saving an untold amount of ink due to purge cycles.  However, stock up on the inks as they are not so easy to find as they are to use.  Also, become accustomed to the paper classifications that Canon use as they can be confusing.  Over other A3 colour printers in its class, this one is just king and Canon is once again the undisputed champion of these A3 printer reviews.

 

Specifications: Photo A3 printing, Ink Palette Supported (Colours): 10-ink Max Media Size (Standard): Super A3/B Max Media Size (Custom): 330 mm x 483 mm Print Speed: Up to 9 ppm - black fast - A4 (210 x 297 mm) ¦ Up to 2.3 ppm - black normal - A4 (210 x 297 mm) ¦ Up to 8 ppm - colour fast - A4 (210 x 297 mm) ¦ Up to 2.1 ppm - colour normal - A4 (210 x 297 mm) Max Resolution ( B&W ): 4800 dpi x

In second place, the Epson Stylus Photo R2880, I would say that the print quality of this photo A3 printer matched our winner at times (and sometimes bettered it).  However, it tended to need frequent nozzle cleans and from the outset the on-screen ink level indicators within the software were not reliable.  This may well be a software consideration but hey, it’s a still a consideration.  Also, although it ships with 9 cartridges, there are only 8 fitted.  You have to swap between glossy and matt and then the machine has to purge ink each time.  This wastes ink. Too many negatives to have beaten the Canon Pixma.  Sorry. Nozzle Configuration 180 nozzles (per cartridge), Ink Palette 8-color (Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Vivid Light Magenta, Light Black, Light Light Black, and Matte or Photo Black)

Ink Cartridge Configuration 8 individual ink cartridges, Ink Type Epson UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta pigment ink, Minimum Ink Droplet Size 3 picoliters, Advanced MicroPiezo print head with AMC (Advanced Meniscus Control) can produce up to 3 different droplet sizes per line, Maximum Resolution (dots per inch) 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi, Print speed  8" x 10" photo2, 1 min 36 sec (SuperFine Mode), 2 min 18 sec (Photo Mode), 11" x 14" photo2, 2 min 36 sec, (SuperFine Mode), 3 min 55 sec (Photo Mode), Interface and Connectivity Hi-Speed USB 2.0 (2 ports), PictBridge™ (1 port), Operating Systems Windows®: Windows Vista®, XP Professional x64, XP, and 2000, Macintosh®: Mac OS® X 10.3.9, 10.4.x – 10.5.x

HP Photosmart Pro B9180 - As with any race, any queue, any room or scene, someone or something must come last or be at the back for one reason or another (or for many reasons).  The thing about inkjet A3 colour printers these days is that the overall print quality has improved.  So this printer is not necessarily a bad printer.  We just have to look at the manageability of each machine if we are to honestly separate them.  We have to do this by experience, not by what the manufacturers web site claims to be its due market position.  Whilst the print quality of this printer has been commended by many with great screen to print accuracy, so has the mechanical ineptitude and prolonged calibration sequences.  

 

Yes, all inkjets must calibrate and purge, but not reportedly for so long.  Apparently, it has a new Auto CLC system (Auto Closed Loop Calibration) but what does that mean to the lady that’s wondering why her cartridges are emptying at an alarming rate?  Telling her that the “NEDD” (a sensor apparently) requires cleaning is enough to drive her to rage.  More like “NERD”.Regarding this machine I have heard the term “Mechanically appalling”.  I’ve heard enough.

 

Print speed, Photo A3 printing, black (draft quality mode) Up to 27 ppm, Print speed, color (draft mode)  Up to 25 ppm, Print speed, color, 4 x 6 photo, draft mode As fast as 10 sec, Print speed, color, 4 x 6 photo, normal mode As fast as 50 sec, Print speed, color, 4 x 6 photo, best mode As fast as 70 sec.  Print quality / technology , Print cartridges Color: Matte black, photo black, light gray, light cyan, cyan, light magenta, magenta, yellow, Print technology Technology: HP Thermal Inkjet, Print quality, black Up to 4800 optimized dpi color (up to 4800 x 1200 dpi color when printing from a computer and 1200 input dpi), Print quality, color Up to 4800 optimized dpi color (up to 4800 x 1200 dpi color when printing from a computer and 1200 input dpi),  Paper handling / media: Paper trays, std. 2 Paper trays, max. 1 plus single-sheet specialty media tray, Input capacity, std. 200 sheets, Input capacity, max. 200 sheets, Standard envelope capacity Up to 50 envelopes, Output capacity, std. Up to 50 sheets, Output capacity, max.

A3 Colour Printer Reviews for Home and Office

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UPDATE: You will notice that the price of this printer has been considerably reduced, which actually puts it in the previous price band. Itis also network enabled!.