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Canon SELPHY CP1300 review

Create postcard sized photo prints and more besides with the versatile and portable Canon SELPHY CP1300 printer

Canon SELPHY CP1300
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Our Verdict

You can end up with so many photos on your phone and other smart devices that they get a bit lost and never really see the light of day. The Canon SELPHY 1300 makes short work of creating 6x4-inch postcard sized prints of very good quality, so you can easily put them where you can see them or pass them around with family and friends. It’s a versatile little printer that’s reasonably priced to buy and relatively cheap to run, with a decent turn of speed. What’s not to like?

For

  • High-quality prints
  • Useful color LCD screen
  • Reasonable running costs

Against

  • No batteries included
  • No Bluetooth connectivity

Available in black, white or pink, the Canon SELPHY CP1300 is a portable photo printer that creates prints of up to 6x4 inches in size and is based on dye-sublimation technology. Unlike Canon’s smaller SELPHY Square QX10 printer, which has just a single operating button, the CP1300 is a much more hands-on affair. 

There’s a comprehensive range of onboard control buttons and a tilting 3.2-inch color LCD screen, to make the most of standalone printing. Indeed, while the QX10 only has Wi-Fi Direct connectivity and is intended for use solely via Canon’s SELPHY Photo Layout app, the CP1300 adds a USB port, PictBridge and an SD/HC/XC card slot. 

• Read more: Best portable printers

It’s therefore able to connect wirelessly or via USB to digital cameras and computers, or you can just slip a memory card containing photo images into the printer. It’s also compatible with Apple AirPrint and Mopria for cloud-based printing. Even so, the CP1300 matches the QX10 for its lack of Bluetooth connectivity.

Specifications

Print type: Dye-sublimation
Inks: Cyan, magenta, yellow
Max print size: 4x6-inch
Max resolution: 300x300dpi
Power source: Mains, optional battery
Display screen: 3.2-inch
Interfaces: Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, USB, SD/HC/XC
Dimensions (WxDxH): 180x137x64mm
Weight: 900g

Canon SELPHY CP1300

Canon offers a rechargeable NB-CP2LH Battery Pack as an optional extra, priced at around £48/$87. It clips on the back and naturally adds to the size and weight of the printer. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Features

There’s no messy ink involved, thanks to the CP1300 featuring dye-sublimation or ‘dye-sub’ technology, which is quite common in portable photo printers. As such, it uses specialist photo paper and a cassette containing a dye-coated ribbon. In typical fashion, the paper automatically passes through the printer four times. On its first three journeys, layers of cyan, magenta and yellow dyes are added, followed by a final protective overcoating. The print resolution of 300dpi might look a bit poor compared with inkjet printers but, crucially, each dot is made by adding different layers of dye on top of each other. With an inkjet printer, each dot is created by laying droplets of ink adjacent to each other on the page, hence the need for greater print resolution.

Whereas Canon’s smaller SELPHY Square QX10 only creates 2.7-inch square prints, the CP1300 outputs 4x6-inch postcard sized prints. As well as being considerably larger, the prints have the correct aspect ratio for most digital cameras. However, whereas the QX10 has a built-in paper input tray, the CP1300 has a clip-in ‘Card Size Paper Cassette PCC-CP400’, which acts as an input and output tray and adds to the overall size of the printer while you’re actually printing. 

The CP1300 runs on mains power and, while you can buy an optional, rechargeable Canon NB-CP2LH Battery Pack, it’s pretty pricey at around £48/$87. On the plus side, the battery has good stamina, enabling the creation of 54 6x4-inch prints from a full charge.

Running costs for the CP1300 are comparatively cheap, based on KP-1081N media packs which contain multiple dye-sub cartridges and 108 sheets of paper. The paper itself has perforated side strips, so you can easily remove these to create borderless photo prints. Media options include glossy or semi-gloss postcard paper, credit card sized sheets with or without a sticky backing (ideal for ID tags), 50x50mm square stickers, and 22x17mm mini-stickers.

Canon SELPHY CP1300

The cassette containing the dye-sub ribbon slots into the side of the printer and lasts for 54 6x4-inch prints. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Performance

Despite creating much larger 4x6-inch prints than the QX10’s 2.7-inch square prints, running costs work out to around 25p/29c per print, which compares very favorably with the QX10’s 80p/75c per print. The CP1300 only takes marginally longer to create its bigger prints as well, at 47 seconds versus the QX10’s 43 seconds.

Print quality is similarly good from both printers. The CP1300 delivers rich and vibrant color rendition, along with good tonal range that retains detail in everything from deep lowlights to bright highlights. Longevity is rated at 100 years, so fading shouldn’t be a problem.

Verdict

The Canon SELPHY CP1300 is certainly no ‘pocket printer’, having fairly chunky dimensions and weighing in at nearly a kilogram. However, it’s still eminently portable and is packed with a host of useful features for standalone printing over Wi-Fi or from cameras, computers, phones and other gadgets. It’s much more versatile than Canon’s SELPHY Square QX10 printer making it better value at the price, and it’s also much cheaper to run.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist, that has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners!