An out-and-out Snapshot photo printer could well be a tricky buy given that it is a balance between cost and convenience. We haven’t reviewed any snapshot printer that flaunts of cost per print lower than you can buy at the local drugstore kiosk. Nonetheless, these are generally portable printers and that apparently is a certain advantage. In most cases, all it takes is a few minutes to go from taking a photo to making a print. But convenience vs. cost factor means that every snapshot photo printer has to have something out of the ordinary to persuade buyers into paying for the product.

For some, it is portability all through and for others it is a flashy LCD that doubles up as a nice digital photo frame. As for the Canon Selphy CP800, the advantage is obvious and is two-fold. It is one of the least pricey snapshot photo printers that we had reviewed of late and it gives you some of the best photo prints we have seen. In the Canon CP800, you will be able to find some striking features that are necessarily a ‘must have’ on every printer, including a brilliant tilt-up LCD to preview images and a fine array of memory-card readers. Watch out, though, that because of its budget price, you may have to shell out extra bucks for some add-on features and is rife with most snapshot printers available online, you need to pay a premium for your photo prints. But if you are an amateur photographer who cannot wait sitting around for those snapshot photos to come out, you will need to seriously consider the Canon CP800. Before we move further into the review, a quick look at some of the points that faired well in our tests:

  • Small printer & compact in size
  • Easy to set up & use
  • Deep black details indicate high contrast prints
  • Reasonable print costs
  • Simple to use printer controls
  • Speed print speed of 58 seconds for a 4 x 6 print
  • Reasonable colour performance

And the following things had to be put down as negatives:

  • Eats up more space with the paper tray installed
  • No editing software, leave alone minimal software package
  • Few details tend to get lost a bit in the overall softness of photo prints
  • Makes use of     Canon paper only with limited sizes available
  • On-printer editing features is not applicable to individual photos
  • Issues with red and greens
  • Limited colour range

Design:

Physically, the Canon SELPHY CP800 Compact Photo Printer is a plain matte-black or white box which is 177 mm (W) x 134.6 mm (D) x 68.8 (H) mm in size (without any protrusions). Weighing 940g (excluding Paper Cassette & Ink Cartridge), it feels reassuringly solid without being a hulking great box. Remove the paper cassette, the display could lay flat and then there is the paper ‘door’ that folds up and you have a real compact machine in the making. The left side of the front face sports memory card readers. The format support is sufficiently wide: Memory Stick/Memory Stick Duo, CompactFlash and SD/MultiMediaCard. A USB 2.0 port is provided on the left side of the photo printer if you need to plug in flash drives and other forms of USB storage. You will also be able to find a second USB interface to connect to the host computer. There is a paper cassette of clear plastic which inserts into the front of the photo printer through which the paper goes in. Completed prints come out of the rear. The CP800 will be able to print photos of 2 different sizes including 4” x 6” and 2” x 3.5”.

Canon SELPHY CP800 Photo Printer Black

Controls & Connectivity:

On-printer Controls: The Canon SELPHY CP800 Dye-Sub Photo Printer features a number of controls on the machine’s body that are made use of when you are printing from a flash card. You can find from the third left, buttons for menu, power, print button, directional & select buttons and a back button. The menu button is meant for the on-screen menu of the machine, which you can navigate without any trouble using directional and select buttons.

Display: A 2.5″ LCD screen adorns the top of the CP800 and this can tilt up to 30 degrees. The screen seems rather petite comparing with the printer body and the screen is a disappointment as it is not very high in resolution; therefore the images tend to look a bit grainy.

Menus: On inserting a memory card, the Canon CP800 scans the card in a flash and then displays the images it can find on the card, letting you to scroll through the list and choose the ones intended for printing. The menu button can also be pressed for accessing the on-screen menu and this allows you to choose all the images for printing or employ different image editing tools including correct red-eye, auto image enhancement, smooth skin or several image editing tools. The colour modes will let you apply models like neutral, vivid, sepia, black & white and positive film to the photos. You can only apply these to all of the images tagged for printing and not for any individual images. Also available are options to create print layouts of multi-images on one page, add any borders to the photo print or include a date stamp to the photos. We found the menu system simple to use, though the text is slightly difficult to read on the rather petite grainy screen, particularly from a distance.

Media: The CP800 can toil only with Canon’s own paper that comes with three sizes and types: postcard (4” x 6” with tear-ends for handling), labels (eight mini labels on a 4” x 6” sheet) and card (2.13” x 3.39”). The card and postcard sizes are only offered in a glossy finish and there isn’t any matte or any other paper option. The machine cannot work with any other paper sizes or types (including A4 or letter) than the ones mentioned above.

Setup:

Setting up the SELPHY CP80 printer was a breeze and we were able to insert the ink cartridge without the slightest of trouble. There is a plastic flap on the right hand side of the device, open it up and just push it in and then close it. It takes a few moments of examination to load the paper into the cassette into the unit; we had to sort out that the paper’s holders top clear flap needs to be open whilst printing. We tried inserting a USB flash drive and an SD card separately, the printer was smart enough to find the image in no time. The left and right arrows on the control interface should be used to scroll the required image. By poking the Up/Down arrows you can select the desired number of copies and press the Print button.

As the Selphy makes use of dye-sublimation technology to print (in stark contrast to more common inkjet printing), it comes with 256 levels of colour and 300 x 300dpi resolution that most today’s snapshot printers come with. In dye-sublimation printing, the ink is transferred onto the paper by the printer from a continuous sheet of film which is impregnated with ink in the cassette. Inkjets, in comparison spray microjets of liquid ink from a reservoir onto the required page. The biggest advantage of the dye-sublimation printer is that the cartridge also applies a sort of protective coating to the photo prints and this means the prints are reasonably water and scratch resistant.

The dye-transfer transfer roll arrived encased in a two-barrel cartridge which easily inserts through a pull-down door found on the device’s right side. You can find that the barrels are attached about 2-inch apart. On the inside, there is a fresh, ink-packed film that feeds from one roll onto a takeup roll as you use it. When it is in operation, the Selphy can print a picture in passes and pushes the paper out of the back and again pulls it back in with every colour it lays on, thus giving ample clearance behind the machine isn’t optional when it is printing.

Canon SELPHY CP800 Printer Colours

Canon features a CD-ROM that has a lot of photo software and this means you can print straight from your computer and lay your hands on some image management. In case your digital camera supports PictBridge, you may also connect it to the printer straightaway without any trouble. You can also go for a Bluetooth BU-30 adapter from Canon that allows you to print directly from a mobile phone which is Blue-tooth enabled and not to mention the rechargeable battery pack (optional) which does a good job for up to around 54 postcard-size prints as claimed by the manufacturer. As for the battery performance, we didn’t get to test out its longevity, but we feel that it should be okay for limited printing when you are away from the power plug.

Though the machine itself does not cost a fortune, going for the extra can actually add to the overall cost. Besides, the price of consumables for this printer is on the higher side. You can get both high capacity as well as standard-capacity photo packs supplied by Canon, but anyway the output is costly! A 4” x 6” photo (ink cartridge and paper) can cost you more than the local drugstore/photo service charge or average photo kiosk and again that depends upon the refill-pack capacity you purchase. (That assumes you are not messing up the Selphy’s consumables by producing prints you do not like – and not all stores will charge for duds). It is a tad higher than some of the other rival snapshot photo printers, including the Epson PictureMate Charm and Sony DPP-F770. Do remember that with the included dye-sub consumables, the photo paper should be sufficient for the ink rolls that you get alongside the package. Therefore the cost per print in the case of this printer model, figures in the paper too. The cost involved in printing is a touchy sort of trade-off. And that you have pretty good photo-inkjet printers to avail of, the likes of all-in-one printers are witnessing an all-time low in terms of price. You always get a better bang (in terms of the capability of the printer) for your bucks by heading in that direction. Nonetheless, in that case, you need to let go of the amazing portability of what a snapshot photo printer like the CP800 can offer. Another available option is obviously ordering your photo prints locally, however you need to collect them at your local drugstore and also you are always at the whim of their work hours.

Performance:

Print Quality: Though the CP800 had a tough time with a few colours, it had no issues whatsoever in giving a deep, strong black in some of  our test prints. The black levels proved deeper than other printers and this means the photo prints will have a fairly deeper blacks and a much wider contrast between the whites and blacks, providing them with more visual impact. The CP800 faired pretty well in creating gradients of the 4 primary colours which looked smooth and clean.  There is only minor apprehension pertaining shading on the black (not much though), where it seems like it is making use of other colours to generate deeper black and this in turn produces bit of red tint nearly three quarters of the way up. But this is just a trivial issue that isn’t visible in most photographs.

When it comes to the edges, the CP800 came up trumps, though the results are a bit soft. A bit of testing revealed that it could be slightly better as it seemed to be a lot less sharp than other photo printers on test.  The edges that are highly magnified looked pretty clear with a reasonable level of detail.

Colour Accuracy: The CP800 seems to struggle with the blues and greens on testing and both of them looked a lot darker than we anticipated. Perhaps, the machine is doing some processing in order to try and make the colours seem more vivid and this process of course is out of our control. A bit of comparison of the colour accuracy of CP800 to that of other printers will throw more light on some issues, but apparently the colours would tend to vary a lot from one printer to another.
Print speeds: Operating the CP800 is a breeze and it takes roughly 15 sec to set up and get ready for printing. For printing a 4” x 6” image, it took about 45 sec when we printed from a memory card and just over a minute when you are printing from a PC. You will be able to find a single quality mode and understandably nothing happens during the first half of the time taken for printing, at least mechanically. Then the print paper goes backwards and forwards all the way through the machine‘s front and rear, till it comes out of the front, all set to please the user.

The time taken for printing is speedy compared to some of the snapshot printers like the Canon Selphy ES40 (that took only 80 sec each for printing the test images from the memory card). It came a bit close to the PictureMate Charm from Epson (50 sec from a flash memory card). It is also a quite performer, though the printer does make some buzzing noise of the volume and grade of an electrically run can opener. You can make use of it all day long (given sufficient paper and ink cartridges) without annoying your ears.

Canon SELPHY CP800 Photo Printer White

Comparison details:

Compare the Selphy CP800 to the much hyped Sony DPP-F700 and you will see a brighter, bigger and more appealing Sony display. Nevertheless, the performance is on the same scale as that of the Sony, though the Canon is less pricey. The Epson PM 300 on comparison with the CP800 seemed to handle DVDs and slightly bigger paper. This said Canon is the cheaper of the two, though HP has media card slots and a touch screen, things that Canon is built short of.  Weigh the CP800 against Canon iP2702, you will find that the later gives better quality prints and prints a gamut of paper sizes and types. The iP2702 fancies being much cheaper, given that it comes with memory card slots and works well as a stand-alone machine.

Verdict:

The Canon Selphy is a doddle to use for families, individuals, organizations and businesses that require occasional top quality output that is of snapshot print sizes. The portable printer is great for bringing to business events, parties, contests and sporting events featuring a booth or table. Indeed, it is pretty handy in numerous scenarios where the user would have made use of a Polaroid instant camera. (And this depends, obviously, on purchasing that additional battery pack). Mobile professionals including first responders, real-estate excecutives, artists, fishing enthusiasts (and the list goes on and on) can reap the many advantages of the printer. It is pretty simple to conjure up several situations and jobs where you may find this premium mobile printing highly useful. We suggest that you try out in a local store to get a feel of the speed, weight and size and get a first look at the prints. Then you will know if it is actually worth thinking about going for one.

The cost of consumable is a point of concern and the most off-putting. And also options are plenty when it comes to going for snapshot printers that give you lesser cost per print, but you will need to shell out more up front for them due to the low initial cost of the Selphy. In addition, you need to pay more for its battery, Bluetooth facility and features that come with some rather high-priced models. However if you are searching online for a reasonably priced, less than a minute printing machine which you can carry about in a petite bag, the Selphy CP800 could just be the one!

Check other Latest Photo Printers and best selling Canon Photo Printer reviews in this website.

Canon SELPHY CP800 Inkjet Photo Printer – Technical Specification Table

Manufacturer Canon
Model Name SELPHY CP800 Compact Photo Printer
Type Compact photo – Dye sublimation – Colour
Available colours White & Black
Form Factor Portable
Technology Thermal dye sublimation
Weight 940g (minus Paper Cassette & Ink Cartridge)
Dimensions 177mm (W) x 134.6mm (D) x 68.8 (H) mm
Maximum Resolution (colour) 300 x 300 dpi
Interface Camera: USB type A port
LCD Monitor: 6.2cm (2.5″) Colour TFT viewer (plus tilt
mechanism & multi-language user interface)
Computer: USB type B port
Supported Flash Memory Cards SD, SDXC, SDHC, MMCplus, MultiMediaCard, CF,
HC MMCplus, Memory Stick, Microdrive, Memory Stick PRO Duo,
Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO, microSD, miniSDHC,
microSDXC, microSDHC, miniSD, xD-Picture Card, MMCmicro,
MMCmobile, Memory Stick Micro, RS-MM
Media Input Auto feed through paper cassette
Media Support Postcard size: 148mm x 100mm
Credit Card: 86mm x 54mm
L Size: 119mm x 89mm
Mini Stickers:22mm x 17.3mm
Credit Card Size Stickers:86mm x 54mm
Print Speed L Size: approx. 39 sec (approx.)
Credit Card Size Stickers: 24 sec (approx.)
Postcard Size: 47 sec (approx.)
Credit Card Size: 24 sec (approx.)
Mini Sticker: 24 sec (approx.)
Printing Software EOS Utility
User’s Guide CD-ROM & Setup Software
Canon Utilities
Compact Photo Printer Solution Disk
SELPHY CP800 Printer Driver
SELPHY Photo Print
Compatible OS Vista  XP SP3/SP1-2/Windows 7/ Mac OS X v10.4 – 10.6
Power Source CA-CP200W Power adapter
Fade Resistance Up to 100 years (manufacturer’s claim)
Power Consumption Approx. 60W (printing), approx. 4W (standby)
Direct Print Capable PictBridge
PostScript Support No
Network Capable No
Warranty 3 years