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Dec. 9, 2023

Canon S800 Color Bubble Jet

Canon updates its Bubble Jet technology, with smaller droplets, 25-year print life, great color, and great print speed!

Page 3: Design, Functions & Controls

Review First Posted: 05/09/2001

MSRP $299 US

Design, Functions, and Controls

The S800 has a fairly straightforward interface, with a minimum of controls on the printer itself. (Essentially all functions other than powering on, manual paper eject, or changing cartridges are controlled via the software.) The S800 is relatively compact, with a sleek gray exterior. It measures 17.7 x 13.5 x 8.2 inches (450 x 343 x 208 mm) with the output tray retracted and 17.7 x 19.8 x 8.2 inches (450 x 503 x 208 mm) with the tray extended. The infeed paper support extends vertically an additional 3 inches, and you'll need to allow a total clearance of about 12 inches when it's loaded with paper. Solidly constructed, the S800 weighs approximately 13 pounds (5.9 kg).


Paper feeds into the printer from the top, with plastic guides to help align the sheets correctly, and an adjustable left guide to accommodate various paper and cut card sizes -- from 8.5 x 11-inch paper to 4 x 6-inch postcards. A "roller cleaning plate" slides into the paper feed assembly for use when printing with Photo Paper Pro, and a hinged front cover lifts up to access the six print cartridges.


The computer connection ports (parallel and USB) are located on the right side of the printer's back panel.

Paper is loaded into the feeder with the printable side facing front and the top edge of the paper loaded first. The paper handling specs struck us as a little odd. While you can load up to 100 sheets of plain paper, 80 sheets of high-resolution paper, 10 envelopes, or 10 transparencies, Canon specifies that only a single sheet of any of the other paper types can be loaded at a time. This includes Glossy Photo Paper, High Gloss Photo Film, Glossy Photo Cards, Banner Paper, T-shirt Transfers, Photo Paper Pro (in either 4x6 or letter size), and Magnet Sheets. While we can understand the one-sheet limitation for unusual or very heavy paper types, such as T-shirt Transfers or Magnet Sheets, it seems a bit odd to limit the Photo Paper Pro to one sheet, when you can add up to 100 sheets of plain paper. In our own testing, we routinely stacked 15 sheets (a full pack) of the Photo Paper Pro into the feeder, and never experienced a glitch or jam. (Still, there may be issues involved of which we're unaware, so we suggest single-sheet feeding of these papers as per Canon's recommendation.)

The Paper!
This is probably as good a place as any to talk about Canon's Photo Paper Pro. As mentioned earlier, this is the paper type for which Canon projects a 25-year print life. We were very impressed with its thickness and gloss. In fact, it's one of the best-looking inkjet photo papers we've seen. Photo Paper Pro is easily as heavy as the high-quality gloss photo paper used by commercial photo labs, and the surface is so shiny, it almost looks wet. While the surface is incredibly glossy, we'd stop one step short of delaring it perfect, due to tiny voids we observed in it These were only visible when we viewed the print at an angle with light reflecting directly from the surface (and so didn't interfere with normal viewing), but we'd still point out this phenomena as an area for possible improvement. Overall though, we'd have to say that photos we printed on it looked better than conventional silver halide prints!

The S800 comes equipped with six Canon ink cartridges, all of which must be loaded before the printer will operate. The cartridges have a much larger capacity than we're used to seeing in consumer inkjet printers, making for pretty long runs between refills. In our testing, we output 59 full-page prints before we had to replace the first cartridge (we actually had to reload two cartridges -- the Photo Cyan and Photo Magenta). Since the black ink is separate from the other colors, the S800 could be used very economically for pure text printing. It wouldn't be as fast as dedicated office-grade inkjet printers, but we see no problem in using the S800 as a "one and only" print device for a home business. (For example, a photographer could use it to print out invoices and correspondence, as well as photographic prints.)

Another interesting feature of the S800 is its removable print head. One of the steps in setting up the printer is to insert and lock down the print head itself. This struck us as interesting, because we're accustomed to print head replacement being an operation requiring factory service. While we don't know the cost or projected life of the S800's print head, we thought that making it user replaceable boded well for lifetime maintenance costs.



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