Canon – Selphy CP720 review

compact dye sublimation photo printer
Photo of Canon – Selphy CP720

Described as a ‘Compact Photo Printer’, the Canon Selphy CP720 is little bigger than my hand and little more than six centimetres thick. It’s a thermal dye printer designed for printing photos direct from digital cameras or memory cards, at home or on the move.

In recent times, high street digital photo processing has caught up with inkjet and other technologies used at home, and it’s now a straightforward and relatively cheap way of printing photos, so can the new Canon Selphy stand up to the increased high street competition?

Well, in terms of cost per page, the Selphy is a little higher than we’ve seen from high street photo labs, at twenty-two pence per print. However, this needs to be weighed up against convenience and availability. The Selphy is always available, while printing your photos at a high street lab entails compiling a disk with the pictures you want to print, then taking it to the store. Probably you’ll also need to make a second trip to collect them, so it does seem reasonable to pay a slight premium for the convenience that this product offers.

The printing technology in the Selphy is a thermal dye sublimation system, and cartridges come in the form of ribbon cassettes. The upshot of this is that results are ‘continuous tone’. There are no perceivable dots, even though resolution is just 300dpi. Prints are three-colour, with an additional coating layer to protect the photo and provide an even sheen to the finished article.

Setup is straightforward, especially if you don’t intend to use the printer with a computer. The ribbon cartridge is installed in the side and the media is inserted in the front, in a small paper tray. Power is supplied via an external power brick, although a battery is also available for ‘field work’.

Connectivity is extensive, with USB ports on the side as well as a front extendable USB cable with a mini-USB plug, which works with Pictbridge and Canon Direct Print, both of which we were able to try. Canon Direct Print, from a Canon PowerShot A540, was completely straightforward, while Pictbridge was only marginally slower and more complex.

The printer features a 1.5-inch colour LCD screen and a selection of simple buttons to select mode and layout, although most of the time they’re redundant other than the big blue ‘Print / Stop’ button at the front. While a little small, the screen is generally sufficient to determine images for selection purposes.

Canon provided us with some 10cm x 15cm (6 x 4-inch) postcard media, which has additional perforated bleed areas on the shorter edges. This not only means that it’s necessary to remove the perforated ends, but you are left with some rough edges to your prints, which is a shame.

On the other hand, the postcard media is a nice idea and has an excellent glossy finish on the front, and a silky matt finish on the reverse with the usual areas for address and postage stamp. Canon also sells a range of other sizes, although postcard or wide format are likely to be the most popular.

As you might expect, Canon makes a claim about the longevity of the prints from the Selphy CP720. Canon’s claim of 100 years is assuming the print will be stored in a photo album under certain conditions. 100 years is certainly competitive, and probably sufficient, given that you’d be printing from an archivable digital source anyway. Just be warned that durability will decrease rapidly if the print displayed in strong sunlight.

Company: Canon

Contact: 01737 220000

Overall, Canon's Selphy CP720 impressed us. Prints were of a high quality and printed rapidly. What's more, the printer was very easy to use and is a convenient size to stow away in a desk drawer when not in use.