The Canon Selphy CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer is an incremental upgrade to the Editors' Choice Canon Selphy CP1200. A slightly larger screen, an improved user interface and search, and a way to collaborate with friends on collages over a Wi-Fi connection are among this photo printer's added features. The CP1300 retains its predecessor's portability, variety of connection choices, and good print quality, and it inherits the CP1200's Editors' Choice.
Few small-format printers with a size and feature set similar to the CP1300 are on the market, and older models of this kind are seldom refreshed. Instead, tiny (pocket-size, for the most part) printers that produce wallet-size prints (from images sent wirelessly from phones or tablets) have become the rage. Most use what's called Zero INK (ZINK) technology, which traditionally has produced murky—mediocre at best—prints, but which HP has tweaked to boost print quality considerably in its latest ZINK-based offering, the Editors' Choice HP Sprocket 2nd Edition.Our Experts Have Tested 53 Products in the Printers Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)
Although these are cool devices, they are limited in print size and connectivity, and they are really focused on the crowd that wants to print and share smartphone pics, so they don't compete directly with the larger, full-featured Selphy CP1300. (Even the Kodak Photo Printer Dock, which uses the same dye-sublimation printing method as the CP1300 and prints up to 4-by-6-inch photos, requires a smartphone—which serves as its screen and control panel—and an app to print.) That's why we split such pocket photo printers off from small-format photo printers and gave them their own class of Editors' Choice considerations.4.0Excellent $220.01See Itat AmazonRead Our Canon Selphy CP1200 Wireless Compact Photo Printer Review 4.0Excellent $222.95See Itat AmazonRead Our Epson PictureMate PM-400 Personal Photo Lab Review 4.0Excellent $79.99See Itat AmazonRead Our HP Sprocket 2nd Edition Review 4.0Excellent $149.99See It at HPRead Our HP Sprocket Plus Review 3.5Good Read Our Kodak Photo Printer Dock Review
As the CP1300 is so similar to its predecessor, you'll want to take a look at my review of the Canon Selphy CP1200 for a more detailed description of features, but here's an overview. It's available in either black or white. The one obvious upgrade from the CP1200 is the 3.2-inch non-touch color LCD screen, which has been upsized from 2.7 inches. The CP1300 measures 2.5 by 7 by 5.4 inches (HWD) and weighs 2.5 pounds with the cassette and ink cartridge loaded, or 3.1 pounds when you include the power adapter. A battery, which Canon says is good for up to 54 prints per charge, is available as an $89.99 option.
The CP1300 has an SD-card slot and a port for a USB thumb drive for direct printing from memory devices. You can connect the printer to a computer via Wi-Fi (as well as a direct wireless connection, with the printer acting as its own hotspot) or USB; it has a mini-USB Type-B port. The CP1300 doesn't include that cable, however, which is significant because this connection has been phased out largely in favor of micro-USB—its heyday was close to a decade ago.
You can order mini-USB cables, and some stores still carry them, but be aware of this if you intend to go the wired route with this printer. Otherwise, you might not have a mini-USB cable kicking around if you need it. The CP1300 can print directly from a PictBridge-compatible camera over the USB connection or a direct wireless connection.
I wasn't originally slated to review the Selphy CP1300, but I had occasion to choose it while shopping for a small-format photo printer, and briefly use it, and I was duly impressed.
Last November, I was due to go on a trip with a photography group to Jordan, part of which involved spending two days at a school for young Syrians who had been displaced by war. There, we would teach them photography basics and go on photo walks with them in the neighborhood around the school. In addition to bringing two point-and-shoot cameras for the school, I decided to donate them a photo printer so that the kids could actually make copies of images they had created. The requirements were affordability, small size (so I could easily pack it in my luggage), print quality, print size (up to at least 4 by 6 inches), and the ability to print from memory cards and computers, as well as wirelessly. Although I had not seen the CP1300 in action, I had reviewed its Selphy 1200 ($271.49 at Amazon UK) predecessor in 2016 and given it our Editors' Choice for small-format photo printers. So the CP1300 was a natural choice.
The printer got through the trip unscathed, though it did raise the eyebrows of a Jordanian customs official who wondered how a device so small could be a printer. Before I arrived in Jordan, I spent a few days in Egypt, and set up and tested the CP1300 in my Cairo hotel room. It survived a tumble unharmed, and its test prints were of good quality. Although we didn't have a chance to use it at the school while we were there, a volunteer had no trouble setting it up for later use. When I got back to New York, I requested a CP1300 review unit, on which I did our formal testing detailed below.
The print technology employed by the CP1300, thermal dye sublimation, generally provides good print quality (and did in the case of the CP1300). Additional benefits of dye-sublimation printing is that the ink dries instantly, and its prints are long-lasting (rated for 100 years). In dye sublimation, the paper is fed through the printer and back in a series of four passes, one for each color (cyan, magenta, yellow, and a clear coat). On each pass, a different color dye from the ribbon is sublimated (vaporized) and deposited on the photo paper.
Requiring four passes lengthens print times. With the CP1300, speeds were pretty consistent, hovering around a minute, regardless of the method I used. When printing from an SD card, print times averaged 56 seconds; they averaged 1 minute and 2 seconds whether I printed over a USB connection, by Wi-Fi, or over a direct wireless connection. (Be advised that our Wi-Fi test setup is a high-speed FiOS network, and other Wi-Fi networks may not produce such fast times.)
In contrast, the Kodak Photo Printer Dock ($271.49 at Amazon UK) took up to 1 minute and 50 seconds per print. The Epson PictureMate PM-400 Personal Photo Lab was much zippier, averaging 42 seconds per 4-by-6-inch print. Unlike the Selphy CP1300 and other printers mentioned here, the PictureMate PM-400 can also output 5-by-7-inch prints.
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The overall print quality on my test prints ranged from good to very good. Most of the prints are comparable to drugstore prints and in some cases better, with rich colors that compare favorably with the original art. The few prints that were subpar showed some loss of detail their very dark or very light areas. Out of my main run of 20 test prints, I classified six as above par, 12 as on par, and two as below par.
The cost per print, based on Canon's pricing and yield figures for its 108-pack of consumables—which combines ink cartridges and paper—comes to a reasonable 35 cents per 4-by-6-inch print, matching the current figure for the CP1200, which uses the same paper. Cost per print for 4-by-6-inch prints from the Epson PictureMate PM-400 ($271.49 at Amazon UK) are 39 cents, the same cost as 4-by-6-inch prints from the Kodak Photo Printer Dock.
Of the pocket photo printers, the HP Sprocket Plus ($271.49 at Amazon UK) is one of the few that prints larger than 2-by-3-inch, though just slightly (2.3 by 3.4 inches), and the cost of its output is a steep 65 cents per print. HP does better with the Sprocket 2nd Edition's ($271.49 at Amazon UK) 2-by-3-inch prints, which come in at 45 cents each if you buy a 100-pack of paper.
Few portable small-format photo printers offer the print size, print quality, and connection choices of the Canon Selphy CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer. It replaces the Canon Selphy CP1200, retaining that model's good print quality, low cost per print, and wealth of connection choices and adding a larger LCD and a few other convenience features to become our latest small-format Editors' Choice. If you plan to print photos only from your smartphone, and can make do with wallet-size prints, the HP Sprocket 2nd Edition should be on your short list. But anyone in the market for a portable photo printer that can print at larger than wallet-size should give the Canon Selphy CP1300 a close look.4.0Editors' ChoiceSee It$119.00 at AmazonMSRP $129.99View More
Canon's Selphy CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer ups the screen size of its winning predecessor while retaining the good print quality, competitive print cost, and range of connectivity.
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