So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Canon SELPHY ES2
Great quality printing in a portable package
- Extremely portable, decent print quality
- Some problems with landscape photos
Ease of use and low-cost consumables help give this printer an edge over the competition.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
The Canon SELPHY ES2 is a compact, portable photo printer. Impressive print quality and a number of basic edit functions make it an excellent choice for families and photographers alike.
The SELPHY ES2 is a well-designed device that prints photos in three different sizes, up to the standard 4x6in. It accepts most major media cards, including Compact Flash, SD, miniSD, MMC, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Duo. The SELPHY ES 2 also has a USB port for direct connection to cameras or a computer, and includes infrared for connecting mobile phones. An optional battery pack makes it possible to take the ES2 on the road.
Intuitive software and a well-designed interface make the printer very easy to use. The SELPHY ES2 uses a scaled-down version of the scroll wheel found in Canon's desktop and multifunction printers. Once the unit recognises an input source, it automatically displays a menu allowing the user to edit and print photos, as well as change basic print settings. There is also an option to view the available photos as a slideshow on the 3in LCD. Creative Printing allows users to superimpose clipart and customised frames onto photos (though it only works with landscape photos, not with portrait shots).
The SELPHY ES2 uses proprietary ink and photo paper, which restricts the choice of consumables. Ink packs are also slightly expensive at $38.95 for 100-photo packs. The ink and paper are combined into a single package that simply slots into the side of the printer. Users have the option of three separate photo sizes — postcard (4x6in), credit-card size (2.1x3.4in) and L size (3.5x4.7in). The fact that the device does not print A4 may turn off some, but these three choices should suit the needs of most families and some photographers.
The SELPHY ES2's speed is only slightly slower than Epson's desktop Stylus CX8300. Compared to the Epson's printing speed of 1min 5sec for a 4x6in photo at standard quality, the SELPHY ES2 managed to print the same photo in 1min 13sec. The SELPHY ES2 uses thermal dye-sub printing rather than traditional bubble jet ink, contributing to this speed difference. Photos are printed in four separate stages — one for each layer of colour and an overcoat to avoid smudging the photos. Given this technique and the printer's physical size, the slower speed is acceptable.
The print quality of the SELPHY ES2 is quite impressive. While it does have some colour exaggeration, we found photos to be of an acceptable quality. Flesh tones appear to have exaggerated reds and there is no sign of the vibrant yellows common to most Canon printers. Text and image lines are slightly blurred. Nevertheless, blacks are distinctive and the image is quite vibrant overall.
We did notice a slight flaw in the way it processes landscape photos on 4x6in paper. The postcard size is slightly larger than a 4x6in photo, and has perforated edges should the user wish to keep the photo at the standard size. However, printing landscape shots on the SELPHY ES2 led to the shot flowing over the perforated edges — as a result, a small amount of the photo was lost. The perforated edges are thin so this shouldn't be too much of a problem.
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