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Very good print quality
Multiple layout options
Multiple connectivity options
Competitive cost per print
Operation can be sluggish
Requires separate battery purchase for true portability
Doesn’t include compatible USB cable
The Canon Selphy CP1300 is an easy-to-use compact printer. Lots of features and really good print quality make this a good fit for consumers who want to get their photos off their mobile devices and computers and into their hands.
We purchased the Canon Selphy CP1300 so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Printing images from your smart device or computer is quick and easy with the Canon Selphy CP1300 printer. This compact printer isn’t quite as portable as some of the pocket-sized models on the market, but print quality is generally better. And the Selphy CP1300’s features, including multiple connectivity options, provide versatility while maintaining ease of use.
Measuring 5.4 x 7.2 x 2.5 inches (excluding the paper tray), the Canon Selphy CP1300 is the perfect size for a crowded desk, small apartment, or dorm room.
The printer body, which is mostly plastic, weighs 1.9 pounds (2.5 pounds with cartridge and cassette) but despite its light weight, there’s no carry handle and you’ll need to purchase the optional battery (for an additional cost) if you want true portability. The printer and paper tray can fit in a messenger bag along with its AC adapter if you want to bring it along to a party or family event where there’s an electrical outlet nearby.
You’ll need to purchase the optional battery (for an additional cost) if you want true portability.
Available in black or white, the printer is equipped with a 3.2-inch LCD screen to view the menu and preview photos. A series of buttons are used to navigate the menu since, unfortunately, the LCD is not a touchscreen.
It helps to know a little bit about the dye-sublimation printing process that the Canon Selphy CP1300 uses before you start setting it up. Dye-sub (as it’s commonly known) uses heat to vaporize the colors from a roll of cellophane-like film onto the glossy surface of the photo paper. This cartridge is placed in the side compartment of the printer. The paper is then loaded into the supplied paper cassette, which is then inserted into the front compartment of the printer. Plug the printer in, turn it on, and use the on-screen menu to make your selections and you’re good to go.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind: Unlike inkjet printers, you have to use the paper that’s bundled with the dye-sub cartridge. You’ll also need to keep the rear of the printer clear of any obstructions. As the paper passes back and forth through the printer for each of the three colors (yellow, magenta, cyan) and an overcoat, it extends out the back.
Prints are dry to the touch, so you can handle them right away. Canon estimates that they’ll last up to 100 years, but as with any print, various factors such as direct sunlight can shorten a print’s lifespan.
Standalone printing is nothing new but Canon provides several options for Selphy CP1300 users. Images can be printed directly from an SD card via the CP1300’s built-in card slot or from a USB flash drive.
Alternatively, wireless printing is possible from iOS and Android devices using the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app (and it’s one of the easiest wireless setups we’ve ever used). Android users also have the option of using Mopria Print Services. And, wireless—or wired—printing can be achieved with computers and compatible cameras. This printer pretty much covers all possibilities.
The paper cassette that’s bundled with the printer accommodates 4 x 6-inch paper, which is the size of the final print after the perforated top and bottom edges are detached. Although that’s the typical snapshot print size, you can opt to print more than one image on a sheet in various configurations—from two-up, to multiple images in a single print, each in a different size. And you and your friends can send images to the printer wirelessly to create a single combo print of images.
Considering its features and print quality, the Canon Selphy CP1300 offers good value for the money.
In addition to various layouts, the CP1300 offers a few editing controls such as cropping, skin smoothing, brightness/contrast/color adjustments, and red eye correction as well the ability to choose bordered or borderless prints and add camera shooting dates. While we love the smooth glossy surface of the default settings, you can choose to add a surface pattern for a less glossy finish.
If you need ID photos—like those for passports—the CP1300 also has the tools to get them right.
A single print generally takes less than a minute. That’s a pretty decent speed considering the paper needs to complete four passes (yellow, magenta, cyan, and finishing coat). The printer’s a little noisy as it goes through its paces but not overly so.
Where things slow down a bit is on screen when you’re making adjustments or scrolling through images. This is particularly noticeable when image files are high resolution. At least there’s an hourglass icon and the word “busy” while it’s processing the request so you know the printer is working on it.
Overall print quality from the Canon Selphy CP1300 is very good. Colors are, for the most part, rich and accurately reproduced. Some of the test prints looked better than many we’ve seen from the do-it-yourself kiosks in local stores.
On the other hand, there were a few prints that didn’t quite match the vibrancy of the original image. But even then, the colors weren’t off by much. For example, a hot pink blouse on a model, for example, was a little less snappy than what appeared on our computer monitor and inkjet prints. But the prints were sharp and clear, showing a good amount of detail.
Some of the test prints looked better than many we’ve seen from the do-it-yourself kiosks in local stores.
Considering its features and print quality, at $129.99 MSRP, the Canon Selphy CP1300 offers good value for the money. Cost per print depends on the paper/ink bundle you buy, but a 36-sheet pack with ink runs for a little under $20, with a per-print cost of around $0.50. That may be higher than what some labs are offering, but the convenience seems well worth a few cents more. You can print on demand, and the results are immediate so you don’t have to go to the store (or have prints shipped).
One of the Canon Selphy CP1300’s direct competitors is the dye-sub, Epson PictureMate PM-400 Personal Photo Lab. It’s slightly larger and heavier than the Selphy, measuring 6.9 x 9.00 x 3.3 inches (L/W/H), but it’s easy to transport and offers standalone and wireless printing.
One reason for the larger size and weight is its ability to print both 4 x 6-inch and 5 x 7-inch prints. The PictureMate PM-400 is faster, too, clocking in as fast as 36 seconds for a 4 x 6 print. We haven’t tested this particular model, but an earlier version was extremely easy to use and print quality was at least as good as the Canon Selphy CP1300 (if not better). And the price per print is also lower when you purchase a larger paper/ink bundle.
Less direct competitors include several pocket-sized printers like the HP Sprocket 2nd Edition. It costs about the same as the Canon Selphy CP1300 but only outputs 2 x 3-inch prints and only from mobile devices. It’s tiny, though (about the size of a smartphone), is very portable, and comes in a variety of colors.
Cost per print is a little pricey at about $0.45 per sheet when you buy a 100-sheet pack. Using ZINK technology, there’s no need for “ink”—the colors are embedded in the paper and brought to life by a heating process. Of the pocket-sized printers, the HP Sprocket 2nd Edition probably generates the best print quality. But, we tend to prefer the quality of the Canon Selphy CP1300 or the Epson PictureMate.
Great-looking prints make it worth the money.
The Canon Selphy CP1300 produces some of the best prints we’ve seen from compact/portable printers. Combined with its ease of use and variety of features, anyone who wants hard copies of their photos to share, display, or put in an album will appreciate the CP1300’s prints.
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