Color Photo Speed
The i860 is respectively two and three times faster than the HP and Epson. Of course, this will only be truly appreciated by those who print a lot of photos. You don't gain much time for a single photo, but just imagine what you'll save if you have twenty to print.
Costs Per Page For Office & Photo Prints
The cartridges were emptied completely to measure the costs per page. For their lifetime in office printing, we did blocks of red, green, blue and black, covering each sheet of paper at 5%. For monochrome costs, we calculated on the basis of blocks of black at 10%.
We did the same in photo mode, printing out a test photo until the cartridges were empty.
However, we did have a problem with the C84. We only had two full sets of cartridges to run our quality, speed and office and photo lifetime tests with. We used the first one for speed and quality, and the second for photo lifetime. Unfortunately, the lifetime of the cartridges varies a lot in this situation. Cyan and magenta run out a lot faster than yellow and black. When we'd emptied these two cartridges, we couldn't carry on with the test because the C84 will not run if one of the cartridges is empty. So all we could do was an estimation of the ink remaining in the yellow and black cartridges.
Then we had the problem of office lifetime. By now, we had no cartridges at all. Epson gave us their own results, which are the ones in the table below.
* Epson estimation
As we explained above, the values for the i860, C82 and photosmart 7760 are the ones we found ourselves, while the one for the C84 were provided by Epson, as we did not have enough ink to run the tests with.
Whether we use our C82 figures or those given by Epson, Canon still works out the most cost-effective, followed by Epson. The HP printer costs twice as much in black ink.
* Epson estimation
Color is the same as black, with HP costing twice as much as Canon and Epson.
Now our test methods are open to two criticisms, so we'd best address that right now.