Smart !nk Cartridges

Amazon likes to kick my reviews lately it seems. I don’t know exactly why. Maybe I try to be too descriptive. Maybe I try to answer questions that other people might have in them. I don’t know, but I’m going to take my review of Smart !nk compatible Canon PGI-270XL and the CMYB (yeah, that should be K, but Canon labels it B!) CLI-271XL ink cartridges and put it here instead.

Read a brief update after 6 months with these cartridges. (Jan/20)

Hope you find it useful. I’ll expand on it a little below.

My biggest reservation about trying non-Canon ink was always whether or not the 3rd party inks used proper pigment inks in the black tanks that are supposed to be pigment ink. And I couldn’t find an answer anywhere! So I took a gamble.

Gamble paid off. Just installed one of the PGI-270XL tanks, ran a print job, and did the ol’ water test. Pigment ink! That alone made the value 5 stars. In case you’re wondering why I seem to care about that so much, pigment inks don’t wash away if your printout gets wet. It makes a much more laser-quality print. The dye black is deeper in colour, and used for photos/images. The pigment is for text. That’s also why it runs out faster!

The box containing the ink arrived kinda beat up. This thin cardboard needed more protection than a bubble envelope.

My box arrived a little dinged up (see photo), but everything inside of it was fine. It’s just not a stiff enough cardboard to ship in a bubble envelope and arrive looking nice. But the ink was fine, and that’s the important part!

As soon as I installed the tank and closed the cover, the printer recognized it as genuine Canon ink, the levels showed full, and print quality looks every bit as good as the original Canon ink. At least the pigment black. Still waiting for the colour tanks to drain to try those out.

Super happy with the purchase, and will be sure to order again .. eventually. Two of each tank should keep me in ink for a while now.

So, what do you get from the Smart !nk 10 pack for $30.99CDN from Well, a hell of a lot!

For less than the price of a single genuine Canon PGI-270XL, you get TWO of everything – the 270XL tanks with actual pigment ink, and two of all four CLI-271XL tanks. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. Now there are SOME Canon printers using the 270/271 cartridges that also have a gray. This set does not.

As you can see in the photo above, the way the cartridges light up inside the printer (TS5020 in my case) is quite different from the genuine Canon ones. But who honestly cares? Once installed, you close the lid and never see them again – until you check which one is blinking when it’s empty. I think it’s a good corner to cut in manufacturing.

I didn’t snap a pic at the time, but upon installation it DOES show up as a genuine Canon cartridge, and you can see (PGBK) from the ink level screen that it registers as a full tank.

In the limited printing I’ve done with them so far, the pigment black delivers crisp text that doesn’t wash away in water, like the dye inks will. That was honestly my biggest concern in trying a non-genuine ink … would it be pigment or dye? Well, the 271 cartridges will be dye, as they should be, but the 270XL here is definitely pigment.

Here are a couple of notes from the manufacturer in the Amazon listing:

✅ CLI-271XL Compatible Ink Cartridges offer you up to 650 pages printed by each color cartridge and 3350 [NOTE: I think this should read 350 -LBTG] pages for black cartridge, PGI-270XL ink cartridge is able to produce up to 500 pages.
✅ 2-YEAR WARRANTY. All Smart Ink cartridges come with a 2-year money back guarantee
✅ CERTIFIED QUALITY. All our cartridges are certified and have a quality mark (CE, ISO 9001, ISO 14000, Reach, STMC)

I’m not entirely sure just how well they stand behind that two year warranty. I guess we’ll see in 2021 if I have problems with any of these tanks?

Anyway, these ink cartridges make ME a happy camper, because for $34 shipped to my door, Smart !nk can’t be beat!

If you missed the (non-affiliate) link, you can order your own here.


January 24, 2020 Update:

Just thought I’d give a little update about 6 months later. I’ve had a chance to use most of a PGI-270XL tank, and have swapped in one of every colour tank except yellow now. (It’s true .. I don’t print a ton.) So far, EVERY tank has been recognized as “genuine Canon ink” by my printer (TS5000 series), and I can’t see any visible difference between these and ACTUAL “genuine” Canon branded ink.

Smart !nk still gets 5 stars and two big thumbs up from me!

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