The Canon Selphy DS810 is one mobile photo printer that you'll probably want to leave at home, despite its estimated 29-cents-per-print economy. The Selphy's three-color output, 9-by-9-by-4-inch, 4.2-pound design, and lack of battery support don't stack up well against those of smaller, lighter transportable printers in this price range. Print quality was especially disappointing; our test output frequently looked flat, and the composite blacks (produced by combining cyan, magenta, and yellow; there is no black ink tank) were more of a dark, muddy green.
The Canon Selphy DS810 is easy enough to use. Its top surface is dotted with 12 well-labeled buttons and switches, plus a four-way directional pad used to navigate menus and select print quantities via a flip-up 2.5-inch LCD. The Menu button cycles among print mode options, while photo adjustments are applied with a separate Settings button that pops up an additional menu. Two card slots accept CompactFlash, Microdrive, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD/MMC, and xD media, as well as Memory Stick Duo and Mini SD with an adapter. USB and PictBridge ports, an IrDA 1.2 infrared port for printing JPEGs from mobile phones and similar devices, and an optional Bluetooth adapter for linking to Bluetooth-enabled gadgets round out the connectors.
Press the Trimming key, and a resizable, movable grid appears over the photo image so that you can crop the photo within the constraints of the 4x6 print's 2:3 aspect ratio. There's also a Search button to find images on the memory card by date range, as well as a pair of zoom keys for enlarging or reducing the image on the screen. Printing functions are accessed with the Print, Stop/Reset, and OK buttons.
Most of the settings available for stand-alone printing involve layout or crop/trim options, as well as some image-optimizing choices, including red-eye reduction, saturation enhancement, noise reduction, brightness/contrast/hue adjustment, and a Face Brightener feature. The color-balancing adjustment involves printing a sample sheet with nine different versions, then reprinting using your preferred setting. When printing from a computer using Canon's driver, you can access most of these settings, plus grayscale printing and a few extra special effects. Cropping, color correction, and other tweaks can be applied using the bundled Easy-PhotoPrint software or your own image editor.
While prints that didn't have a lot of deep black tones were acceptable, the murky greenish maximum-density shadows tended to make most colors appear to lack contrast. We also noticed some intermittent banding in many prints, which went away with head cleaning, and the ink droplets, which can be as small as 2 picoliters with Canon's Full-Photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering (FINE) technology, were easily visible under 8X magnification. Although Canon claims a 4x6 print can be output in a little more than a minute, we clocked this printer from as little as 54 seconds (using the default settings) to as much as 80 seconds per snapshot.
If you buy Canon's $39.99 ink/paper bundle, you'll receive two three-color ink tanks and 140 sheets of 4x6 paper, which works out to about 29 cents per print. Keep in mind, however, that the frequent printhead cleanings will waste significant ink and result in higher per-print ink costs.
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 Saturday. There's a toll-free TDD support line for the hearing impaired, plus a separate number 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.
Disappointing output quality mars the appeal of the cost-effective and fast Canon Selphy DS810, which has little else to recommend it over the competition.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Minutes per photo|