Paper and ink are sold together in packages, and the ink is calibrated for the number of sheets in the package. To calculate print costs, we looked at the largest ink/paper combo: 108 sheets of postcard/4x6 paper plus ink for $30. Your per-print cost would be 27.8 cents, a bit more than per-page prints from the Epson PictureMate printers, but not surprising, as dye-sub prints are generally a bit more expensive than inkjet prints.
The Canon Selphy CP740 gives you a choice of printing methods. You can print directly off a memory card, from an attached PictBridge or DPOF camera, wirelessly from a Bluetooth device (you'll need to purchase the optional Bluetooth adapter), or from your PC.
When using the Selphy CP740 in stand-alone mode with a memory card, you can make prints singly, select a bunch of shots and print them all at once, or do a print all, which prints one image per sheet. If you're using the single-print or select-prints modes, the screen displays a thumbnail of the image, as well as other information, including the type of card you're using, the layout, the date (you can turn the date print on and off), the size of the paper you've loaded, and the number of prints you've chosen for each image (in select prints mode). To zoom in to the image, press the button with the magnifying icon, which causes the image to fill the entire screen. If you move on to the next image, the printer goes back to the default display. Layouts include one, two, four, or eight images per page, bordered or borderless, and an index print, which produces eight images per page, along with image numbers.
As far as photo treatment features go, your options are limited on the Selphy CP740. You can turn the red-eye reducer on or off, but you can't crop or apply color treatments. The Epson PictureMate Pal lets you do both via the printer, as well as apply general quality enhancements. For photo treatment options, you'll have to use the Selphy CP740 as a computer-attached printer and avail yourself of Canon's Easy-PhotoPrint software.
If you're taking this printer somewhere where a power outlet isn't easily available (a child's birthday party in the park, for example), Canon offers an optional battery pack. The rechargeable battery attaches to the rear of the printer. Canon estimates that the fully charged battery is good for about 36 4x6 prints and takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge a depleted battery.
We tested the Selphy CP740 in computer-attached mode, so we could make comparisons to other printers. We expected this printer to be slower than other printers, because each time you print, the page makes four passes through the printer: three times for the color to be put down (this printer uses dye-sublimation technology) and once more to apply a protective top coat. (The paper passes through a slot in the rear of the printer each time, so keep this area clear.) It surprised us, however, by producing 4x6 photos at a rate of 0.92 page per minute, faster than many of the single-function and multifunction inkjet printers, but slower than the Epson PictureMate Pal (1.0ppm) and PictureMate Snap (1.24ppm). (Both are inkjet printers and more expensive than the Canon.)
Our standard 4x6 test print produced on the Selphy CP740 showed sharp, clear details and pleasing skin tones. We saw compression in the dark end of the grayscale, which resulted in muddled details in dark areas. The colors looked a bit cool, and we'd prefer a brighter, warmer look. But overall, the Selphy CP740 produced prints that were good enough for casual home users and we preferred these prints to the ones produced by the Epson PictureMate Pal.
Service and support
Canon backs the Selphy CP740 with a standard one-year warranty. Toll-free phone support is available weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. E-mail support is also available via a Web-based form. Canon's site includes FAQs, drivers and downloads, and manuals.