You carry the Selphy ES1 like a suitcase, the cable retracts like the power cable on your vacuum cleaner, the cartridge slots into the side like a tape going into a VCR (remember them?) and the output pops out the top like toast from your toaster. And yet it isn't a suitcase, vacuum cleaner, VCR or toaster, it's a compact photo printer. The ES1 is designed to offer maximum convenience in a minimum amount of space, but the household appliances metaphor doesn't quite go far enough: it won't make you a nice cup of tea while you wait for your print to emerge.
The ES1 uses new all-in-one cartridges that contain both ink and photo-size paper. It's a dye-sublimation printer, so ink use can be accurately predicted -- if you buy a 50-sheet pack, you get the right amount of ink for 50 photos. Media comes in four sizes, ranging from credit card size (86x54mm) to postcard size (148x100mm) and prints have a glossy, water-resistant finish.
To achieve the 199x133mm footprint, Canon has had to develop a novel paper-feed mechanism that pushes the paper out the bottom of the printer, pirouettes it through 90 degrees and then sucks it back in. The paper passes up and down through the printer as each layer of colour is applied, then emerges at the top. It's all mildly entertaining, at least for the first two or three prints, but after that you'll want to retreat to the kitchen for the aforementioned cuppa.
Other features include slots for most common memory cards, a retractable USB cable for connecting it to PictBridge-compatible cameras and a 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD for previewing your photos and applying special effects. You can transfer images from compatible camera phones using infrared, or via the optional Bluetooth adaptor, and there's an optional battery pack for printing on the go (hence the suitcase-style handle). The ES1 should cost around £189 when it goes on sale in September.
Canon has also announced two replacements for the Selphy CP710. The CP720 and CP730 both come from the rectangular-slab school of design and offer direct printing from PictBridge-compatible cameras and most types of memory card. The entry-level CP720 costs £99 and has a 38mm LCD; paying the extra £40 for the CP730 gets you a 58mm LCD, support for wireless printing via infrared and a My Colors option that lets you select Vivid, Neutral, Sepia or Black and White effects. -ML