On-the-go digital photographers traveling without a computer will appreciate the Canon Selphy CP710's small size, light weight, and mobility. When equipped with the optional rechargeable battery, this compact, 300dpi dye-sublimation printer has everything you need to output 4x6-inch photos anywhere; that includes a unique retractable USB cable for your camera, a built-in memory-card reader, and a 1.5-inch color LCD.
With its roughly 70-seconds-per-snapshot print speed and a per-print cost that ranges from 19 to 35 cents (if you buy Canon's 108-print paper/ink ribbon bundle and depending upon the retailer price), the Selphy is fairly quick and cheap to run, too. This printer shares most specifications with its stablemate, the bare-bones , which lacks the card reader and the LCD screen.
The chief drawback of this printer is a lack of basic, stand-alone image-editing options, such as cropping, rotation, or color correction. For those functions, you'll need your computer and either the Easy-PhotoPrint bundled software or your own image editor.
The 7-by-5.2-by-2.5-inch, 2.2-pound Canon Selphy CP710 can be set up in seconds, even if you choose to travel with the bundled power brick. Connect the power, if necessary; insert the dye-sub ribbon cartridge in the right side; slide the included 20-sheet paper cassette into a flip-down front slot; and you're ready to go. Software and driver installation for printing from a computer take another few minutes.
Although the Selphy fits most desktops, you'll need to allocate an extra 7.5 inches in front for the paper tray and a few inches behind to allow the printer to cycle the paper through separate passes for the cyan, magenta, and yellow dye layers, plus a fourth protective overcoat. We had to carefully arrange the power-supply cables to avoid interfering with the paper path.
The pull-out USB cable for your camera and a memory-card reader for Secure Digital/MultiMedia Card, CompactFlash, Microdrive, and Memory Stick media (as well as Memory Stick Duo, xD-Picture Card, and Mini SD card with adapters) reside on the front, just above the input cassette/output tray. A USB port, for connecting to your computer, and a Direct Print port are located on the left side. All the other controls are found on top. A control pad for selecting images and the quantity of prints for each image is located to the right of the fixed LCD. Under the display are a trio of buttons for printing mode (print selected images, all images, or prints specified in the camera using DPOF), layout (bordered, borderless, stickers, or index print), date options, and a Print/Stop key to activate or cancel printing of selected images.
You can make only postcard-size 4x6-inch prints using the bundled paper cassette; you must purchase separate cassettes to print credit-card-size sheets or stickers, L-size (3.5x4.7-inch), or wide (4x8-inch) paper sizes. The latter stock, suitable for printing panoramas, can also be purchased in greeting card kits, complete with mailing envelopes.
The Canon Selphy CP710's printer driver is as basic as the printer itself, with three tabs for paper size, orientation, number of copies, and border/borderless printing; image adjustment, which provides the color-correction, saturation, and brightness/contrast tweaks the printer lacks in stand-alone mode; and utilities, which offers no utilities (a by-product of using a single driver across all printers). Canon's PhotoRecord photo-album application and PhotoStitch utility for merging images also ship with the printer. With an optional Bluetooth adapter, you can print from Bluetooth-enabled camera phones.
The Selphy CP710's colors were good, with a fairly broad tonal scale and rich saturation. There was lots of detail in highlights and shadows, but diagonal lines did display stair-stepping, as is typical with dye-sublimation technology. The composite blacks (formed by combining the cyan, magenta, and yellow colors; there is no black panel in the dye-transfer ribbon) were dense and neutral. Flesh tones were pleasing, though we noticed the faintest of blue casts in the whites of some prints.
Canon's support for the Selphy line includes a one-year limited warranty and a broad array of telephone and online support options. Toll-free live technical support is available from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays. There's also a toll-free TDD support line for the hearing impaired, plus a separate number to call to locate authorized service centers for carry-in repairs. If all else fails and you don't want to wait in a telephone queue, Canon offers an e-mail address for sending questions to live tech-support representatives.
Since the Canon Selphy CP710 requires a PC for basic image manipulation, you may be better off with its less-expensive sibling, the CP510, but if all you need is a screen to preview your shots, the extra cost of the CP710 may be worth it. But for better print quality, faster performance, and a broader feature set, you may want to go with an inkjet model instead of dye sublimation.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)