Canon has shifted focus to portability in the Selphy CP770, a photo printer that comes with a bucket. Is it for building sandcastles or after too many margaritas in the sun? We find out.



The first thing you notice about the CP770 is that the printer sits atop a plastic bucket with a carry handle. Unclip and lift off the top, which is actually the printer itself and the accessories are in the bucket underneath. Although the device is bigger than some other models, it does mean that your charger, paper and feed trays can all be safely stored in the bucket (ah ha!).

From a portability point of view it is great as you can put it in the boot of the car, knowing you have all the parts. The only downside, perhaps, is that the printer controls are all on the top, so the “working face” is shown to the world.

Once you have set-up the printer, the bucket is then superfluous and it would have been good to then be able to use it as a stand, to keep the printer off the ground or out of the sand, for example. To support the portability option you can also purchase an additional battery (NB-CP2L), sadly not in the box.

The printer comes supplied with the paper tray to support standard 6 x 4in images as well as the tray for smaller card size images, for fun photos to give away or stick in your wallet. You also get an ink and paper pack that will give you a miserly five pictures, which at this price seems to be a bit of a con.

The printer supports PictBridge and Canon Direct Print for printing from supported cameras, PC printing via a standard printer cable, or through the memory card reader that supports SD/miniSD, MMC, RS-MMC, MS, MS Duo, and Compact Flash, although adapters could enable a range of other cards. Unfortunately you can’t print direct from a USB thumb drive. There is also IR support if your device features IR.

In terms of printing quality, we were very impressed with the results. To get the best results, printing from a PC will allow you the full range of options of your photo-editing software before you print the picture, however, most users will probably want this type of printer so they can skip the PC part.

The LCD display allows you to view images and access the menu to select the options you want. The screen itself is not such good quality, and at 2.5in, has to share the image preview with other information which eats away at the edges, although you can minimise this. In reality, you can recognise what the picture is, but can’t see much detail, so if you want to choose which is the better of two shots, then this is not the place to do it.

The CP770 will allow you to turn on a red-eye correction option, which works perfectly well, although your camera might have already done this for you and it doesn't pick up rogue red-eyes in the background. There are also a number of "My Color" options, so you can pick specifics, like natural or vivid, and the more common options such as sepia. In reality, it’s a question of personal taste and worth experimenting on an image in advance to see what works. You can also select bordered prints, and in-built image optimisation, although, if you have a poor photo to begin with, you’ll still get a poor print.

The system overlays each colour individually in a dye-sublimation thermal transfer system (at 300dpi), so you need to make sure there is space around the back of your printer as your paper will pop out as it makes it’s pass to pick up a colour. It is also important not to touch the front of the paper, as the oil transfer from your fingers will inhibit the ink bonding with the paper. We found that an average 6 x 4in print took 1min 15sec, slightly longer than the quoted 52sec on the spec sheet, from pressing the print button to collecting the photo.

We did find a small degree of colour bleed, especially where you have bright colours on a white background – baby toys and logos on clothing. Overall, images are slightly on the dark side, so if you have a picture where your subject is in shadow, a lot of detail will be lost. The image optimiser does lighten images slightly, but there is still a noticeable different between images viewed on your camera or PC, and the resultant image from the printer.

Once you know, however, you can pick your images and general daily snaps work very well: flesh tones are well represented and colours are generally good.

The controls are incredibly simple, although not being able to apply settings directly to individual photos, rather entire printing jobs, can be a little tedious, although in reality, you’ll probably turn on the image optimiser and the red-eye correction, and thereafter rarely want to change the settings.

We found that the print button was a little too close to the down arrow and on more than one occasion started printing after an accidental press.

Verdict

Considering the whole package, the Selphy CP770 is a great printer with a convenient storage solution built-in. We think the LCD screen could have been better quality, and given the space available on the top, could be a bigger size.



The colour bleed was a disappointment, but otherwise the photo quality from a portable printer is very good. Depending on how much you pay for the ink and paper, photos cost around 15 pence a shot, which is more than ordering online, but you do get instant results.

The real decision to be made is whether the battery and bucket options (and IR, if you’re being picky) are worth the £40 premium you’ll pay over the CP760. We are won over by the great portable design, but this printer is not without problems.