It's slow and a bit clunky, but the Canon Selphy CP740's photo prints look smooth (albeit dark).

The Canon Selphy CP740's dye-sublimation photos compare well with those produced by the more common inkjet technology. The Selphy costs very little to buy, and its replacement supplies are also inexpensive. It's pretty slow, however, and it can be awkward to use.

Printing on the Canon Selphy CP740 is somewhat nonstandard in a few key ways. The paper and film-based ink are matched precisely to one another. You can't use third-party supplies, and if you want to change paper size you also have to change the cassette and cartridge.

The included postcard-paper cassette is external; inserting it into the Canon Selphy CP740's front nearly doubles the machine's footprint. The cassette's lid requires careful maneuvering to load paper, and oddly, you have to leave it askew to insert it into the printer correctly.

The ink cartridge inserts easily into a side bay. Its continuous roll of film contains alternating sections of cyan, magenta, and yellow dye, which are transferred onto the paper in successive passes. Each pass moves the page in and out of the Canon Selphy CP740, requiring several inches of rear clearance.

The two media slots take most major formats (xD requires a third-party adapter); there's also a PictBridge port and a retractable mini-USB cable for attaching digital cameras. The Canon Selphy CP740's small, 2in colour LCD lets you view an image and current settings. A bank of buttons offers layout and printing options.

The navigation buttons to the right of the Canon Selphy CP740's display are, strangely, not illustrated in the Printing Guide booklet; more confusing than this omission, though, are two other things: the combination Print/Stop button - which seems to contradict itself - and the lack of an ok-type button to confirm a setting.

The output of photos printed on the Canon Selphy CP740 averaged slower than one page per minute, but they looked very good overall. Flesh tones and hard surfaces looked a bit light, but natural. Details in shadow were often obscured - a common problem, but in the Canon Selphy CP740's case, a landscape image's layers of vegetation and receding topography ended up looking dark. It struggled most with a monochrome photo, which took on a sickly yellow tinge.

Although installing the Canon Selphy CP740 on your PC is easy, the process is sketchily covered in the documentation. Bundled applications include Canon's ZoomBrowser EX, for organising images; Easy-PhotoPrint, for making special layouts; and PhotoStitch, for combining several shots into a larger image.

The Canon Selphy CP740 comes with a measly five-print starter cassette and five sheets of postcard paper. But running costs are reasonable.

Verdict

Although the Canon Selphy CP740 falls short in various small ways - whether it's the clunky paper tray, the small omissions in the documentation, or the slow print times - it does print a good photo. Its acquisition and supply prices are reasonable, too, which makes it a good value.

PERFORMANCE SCORES, TEST RESULTS AND SPECIFICATIONS

Performance

Colour Photo Printing (Glossy Paper, Best Settings)
Tested Glossy Photo Speed (ppm): 0.7
Skin Tones/Portrait (secs): 83.15
Sports Action Shot (secs): 74.45
Landscape (secs): 87.6
Colour Photo Quality: Very Good

Grayscale Printing (Glossy Paper, Best Settings)
Tested Glossy Grayscale Photo Speed (ppm): 0.7
4 by 6 Grayscale Photo (secs): 84.33
Grayscale Glossy Output Quality: Fair

Features

Dimensions

Dimensions: 178x127x263.5mm
Weight: 0.9kg

Resolutions
Max colour: 300x300dpi

Interfaces
Parallel Port: No
Serial Port: No
USB 1.1: Yes
USB 2.0: Yes
Ethernet: No
Media Card Readers: CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD Card
PictBridge: Yes
Other Interfaces: Bluetooth optional

Drivers
Macintosh: Yes
Windows 98: No
Windows NT: No
Windows 2000: Yes
Windows XP: Yes
Linux: No

Power
Maximum Power Draw: 60W
Standby Power Draw: 4W

Multifunction printer specs
Fax Memory (pages): 0

Paper handling
Number of Input Trays, Standard: 1
Number of Input Trays, Maximum: 1
Tray Capacity, pages: 36
Maximum Sheets With Optional Paper Trays: 36
Manual Feed Slot: No
Maximum Paper Size: 4x8
Output Tray Capacity: 0
Auto Duplexer: No

Support & Reliability

Labour Warranty (years): One
Parts Warranty (years): One
Reliability Score: Above Average
Cost of Operation: Inside of Warranty

Bundled Items

Included Hardware: 4x6in trial ink, paper and cassette, Power Adaptor, Cleaner Stick
Included Software: Setup Software and User's Guide

Canon Selphy CP740: Specs

  • Thermal-dye printer
  • 4-pass colour
  • dedicated photo inkjet
  • USB
  • max paper size: 4x8in
  • 1 cartridge
  • 3 ink colours
  • prints direct from camera
  • direct printing: CompactFlash Type I, CompactFlash Type II, Microdrive, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro Duo, Secure Digital, MultiMedia Card, xD-Picture Card, MiniSD Card
  • 2in colour LCD screen
  • 20-sheet input capacity
  • no duplexing
  • 178x127x263.5mm
  • 0.9kg
  • Thermal-dye printer
  • 4-pass colour
  • dedicated photo inkjet
  • USB
  • max paper size: 4x8in
  • 1 cartridge
  • 3 ink colours
  • prints direct from camera
  • direct printing: CompactFlash Type I, CompactFlash Type II, Microdrive, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro Duo, Secure Digital, MultiMedia Card, xD-Picture Card, MiniSD Card
  • 2in colour LCD screen
  • 20-sheet input capacity
  • no duplexing
  • 178x127x263.5mm
  • 0.9kg

OUR VERDICT

Although the Canon Selphy CP740 falls short in various small ways - whether it's the clunky paper tray, the small omissions in the documentation, or the slow print times - it does print a good photo. Its acquisition and supply prices are reasonable, too, which makes it a good value.

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