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Canon BJC-70
Ink Jet Printer
by Jim Bennett (October 1998)

In the summer of 1995, the evolutionary, but different Canon's BJC-70 portable color ink jet printer with 720X360 dpi resolution was introduced. At about four pounds, including electrical transformer and a built-in 30 sheet paper feeder it seemed ideal, with the right combination of useful features. It had a list price of $399, which was expensive at the time and about the same price as an entry level laser printer. Dimensions of this compact unit are roughly 12x6x2 inches. It has print speeds of 4ppm in monochrome and 0.8 in color and seemed to be suitable road companion and occasional office printer. Unfortunately, that wasn't my experience.

Being an early adopter, you soon learn that durability and reliability are also important issues. On the surface, this product seemed well made, but getting answers to my questions from Canon or their representatives was difficult. Even new product information from Canon's help line was incorrect or non-existent shortly after the product introduction. That should have been enough warning, but I thought Canon would stand behind their product and the compact form factor was ideal for my needs.

I bought one of the earlier units and put up with numerous paper feeding problems, wasted valuable time on Canon's various service and support lines and I have even taken it in for repairs. I have found out that this product has received many Editor's Awards, but in my own experience, after buying one at retail, has not been good. In fairness to fellow editors, they didn't use the unit day to day as I tried to do. They didn't review the long term usage of the unit. Canon's noted reliability and durability still remains elusive on this unit and has influenced my opinion about other Canon products.

To date, the continuing paper sheet feeding problems have not been resolved. The unit has proven quite unreliable for road use where I really need to use a small lightweight printer. As a result, I have a "low mileage" pristine unit which has been consistently unreliable and cannot be recommended at this time.

Since my unit has printed a limited number of pages, the rest of this information has been obtained from Canon's media package, other owners and other reviewers. The black cartridge is designed to last for 2,000 pages and can print resolutions ranging from a 180 dpi in draft mode to a high quality, 720 by 360 mode with smoothing. The small color cartridge has a 30 page black ink tank and 40 page color tank. Owners tell me that replacing these small color tanks is time consuming and messy. They also tell me that the ink lasts much less time than the stated specs.

Others report problems with poorly printed areas which Canon couldn't immediately solve. Another drawback of this unit is the high output cost. It's been noted color output with 30% coverage averages about 30 cents per page, while monochrome costs around 4 cents per page.

It's really a shame that the BJC-70's promise was not realized. It's compact form is still useful with today's highly mobile computing world. My rock solid and dependable Toshiba Portege computer is still looking for it's compact printer "soul mate."

Pros
Compact design
Good owner's manual and quick start guide

Cons
Unacceptable performance
High cost of ink cartridges

Copyright 1998 Jim Bennett All rights reserved.

   
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