In recent months, compact photo printers have achieved a huge amount of success as an alternative to photo kiosks that provide you with immediate printouts. With the advantage of allowing one to produce printouts anytime, anywhere, Canon's newest Selphy ES2 achieves even more by making photo printing fun on this portable photo-lab that we tested recently.
With similar features to its ES1 predecessor, the ES2 retains the stylishness and space-saving factor with a vertical design. Equipped with a larger 3-inch LCD viewer and intuitive buttons, the ES2 is a cinch to operate, giving us little difficulty when navigating through the various menus to get the photos printed. Portability is evident on the ES2, with a built-in carrying handle and an option to purchase a rechargeable battery pack for moments when you are away from a wall socket.
With most compact printers now including the basic editing tools on the printer itself, the ES2 takes it up a notch with a wider range of customization options. Creativity comes packaged with the ES2 under its dedicated Creative button, which allows you to add in frames, clip art stamps and even speech bubbles to tell a story or two with your photos. Advanced features such as red-eye reduction and more are also available on the ES2. With sufficient practice, some may even find it easier editing on the printer with Canon's bundled photo editing software than on a PC. Besides being able to print postcard size photos, the ES2 adds a personal touch with its credit card size layout that allows you to print those cherished memories in wallet friendly dimensions.
Our tests showed the ES2 to perform at an average of up to 85 seconds per print for its postcard size layout. Though it doesn't place the ES2 as the fastest compact photo printer in the market, its print quality is not compromised here, delivering vibrant colors, natural skin tones accompanying sharp and crisp detail that's as close as you can get to the original shots from your camera. As recently seen in compact photo printers, both paper and ink come integrated into one cartridge. When the ink runs out, you should also be out of paper.
In the absence of a PC, the ES2 offers up a range of printing options, with the aid of PictBridge-enabled digital cameras. The printing process is straightforward, with just a few clicks of the dedicated function buttons. Beyond its PictBridge support, you get the option to plug in twenty types of memory cards via the ES2's card reader, concealed under a flap at the bottom. It's a simple affair that only requires you to slot in your memory card before selecting and printing your favorite photos. Oddly enough, the ES2 could not detect our USB flash drive. With competing printers such as the Epson PM270 being able to extract images off a USB flash drive, this oversight could prove to be the Achilles' heel of the ES2.
Wireless printing is also available via an infrared port on the ES2, though one might ponder upon its usefulness with the slow demise of infrared support on mobile devices. Thus, Bluetooth would be a more apt option for wireless printing, which however requires the purchase of an optional Bluetooth adaptor to link the ES2 with your device.
Pricey as it may be with its street price of S$349, the Canon Selphy ES2 justifies it all with its decent printing speed, high quality printouts and most importantly, the plethora of editing features it brings to the table.