The 4900 reviews weren't glorious either, I'll admit.
Let me tell you a bit of my background.
As many, I got into large format printing using an Epson 3000 many years ago.
Then, I "graduated" to a 4000. Loved the printer. Until, one day, Magenta clogged solid.
Then, I did my homework but reluctantly gave more of my hard-earned money to Mr. Epson, in a 4900.
But my heart was not with Epson.
When I looked around for information on the Canon recently, I was turned down by the prospect of more head changing.
At $500 each, it was a lot of money. Granted, a lot less than the $1800 that Epson wants, today, to sell me a 4900 head.
Another thing that turned me off on the iPF5100 was the price, which was more than the 4900, factoring the $500 going rebate then, in 2011. Then, I was turned down by the size of the cartridges, 130ml, which, if I remember correctly, seem more expensive than Epson's.
All your points are well taken, believe me.
I took information from Amazon, yes. I also looked around on the net. Sadly, distribution for the Canon is not as widespread as for Epson. If I go to my local pro-photo reseller, few of them have Canons these days. Prepress resellers don't know anything about Canon. I have nothing against Canon myself. In fact, I tend to like Canons. I still have an i360 here, and, boy, it is still going strong as years of fatithful service. Before owning large format Epson, I had the small size Epson printers and those were the same story as my 4900. I was probably the victim of my casual usage.
All in all, if I had to buy a replacement printer for my 4900 printer today, which I'm trying to avoid at all costs, I would have to go back to Epson again. I read the other horror stories that some users have reported on Amazon and elsewhere. I remember the joy of replacing my 4000 during its first year of operation. I can empathize for those that claim they actually had to go through not one, but two or three or four printers, all in the same week. It is a royal pain.
Recently, I was even considering getting a Xerox 7800, which prints 13x19, just to get away from the pains and agony of head clogging. Wouldn't have been as wide as a 4900 or a 3880 or an iPF5100. Wouldn't have produced prints with the same depth but it would have saved me from the insult of giving more of my hard-earned money back to Mr. Epson. I mean, talk about adding insult to the injury.
This being said, I'd really like to go Canon on my next inkjet printer...