Home Reviews Canon SELPHY CP1300 Review: 7 Things You Need to Know. Canon selphy cp1300

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Review: 7 Things You Need to Know. Canon selphy cp1300

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Review: 7 Things You Need to Know

What’s old is new. It seems like there’s a decade long nostalgia cycle that goes around in music, fashion, and general aesthetics. What’s making a comeback during the emergence of 2020? Flared denim, vinyl records, and even polaroids. No, this isn’t the 1970’s, but you’d be forgiven to thinking it was.

With our high tech phones that can store millions of photos, we’ve seemed to lose touch with the roots of our past. So much so that we yearn for the day where pictures are tangible objects again. These digital pictures just aren’t cutting it anymore, and the latest fad in photography seems to be physical “polaroid” prints. While we’re not lugging around bulky cameras, we are melding both the digital and physical realm with portable photo printers.

Enter the Canon SELPHY series of portable photo printers. Before you do, we’ll say it first, the name makes us slightly cringe too. All terrible naming conventions aside, the Canon SELPHY series of printers have been gaining mainstream popularity thanks to its large role in “social media influencer” culture. Starting with the SELPHY DS700, which was launched in 2005, the portable printer has been seeing re-releases and new iterations almost every year. The latest on the scene is the Canon SELPHY CP1300, an innovative photo printer that boasted truly portable accessibility. Here’s everything you need to know about the SELPHY CP1300 before you decide to purchase it.

Unlike its predecessor in the CP1200 series or any other previous models for that matter, the Canon SELPHY CP1300 does not make use of any ink cartridges. Instead, the newest model adopts a brand new type of transference method, which is implemented thanks to the Canon KP-108IN Color Ink Photo Paper.

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Yeah, that’s a mouthful, but the Canon Photo Paper boasts some very impressive technology baked right into the page.

This portable printer uses thermal dye-sublimation to produce vivid yet instantly dry photos. The color ribbons that the Canon Photo Paper passes through are instantly vaporized by heat in order to transfer the image onto the paper. This process calls for the printer to technically run the page through, four separate times, in order to transfer each primary color; that being black, cyan, yellow, and magenta.

The dye sublimation process leads to more than capable postcard size photo prints, especially from a device that is so compact. While it can’t compete in quality with larger and more dedicated photo printers that are focused on DPI, the 300 x 300 resolution is more than serviceable.

It’s a shame that the Canon CP1300 lacks the sheer portability that it advertises straight out of the box. For those expecting to take this printer with you on all your trips, you might be a bit disappointed to hear that it’s not as portable as you might imagine. The vanilla SELPHY 1300 printer requires an AC adapter to be plugged in at all times in order to power the device. However, if you want the full portable photo printer experience, you’re going to have to dish out a premium for an external add-on.

The optional battery, priced at 89.99, is required to achieve full portability. It’s really disheartening to have the SELFHY 1300’s most sought after feature hidden behind a paywall. The initial 139.99 is a hefty entry fee, exacerbated by an additional 90 add-on to fully take advantage of its core features. It seems like a lot to ask, especially for willing customers to dish out over 200 for a portable printer that produces postcard-sized photos.

The SELPHY CP1300 is primarily aimed at easy accessibility, especially from your Apple or Android smartphone. By taking advantage of the new SELPHY Photo app, you can wirelessly send photos from your camera roll directly to the printer in seconds. The accompanying app is available for free on the Apple App Store and Android Marketplace. After setting up your account and linking your Canon SELPHY printer, you will subsequently be able to print on-the-fly.

If you don’t want to make any additional accounts, the Canon SELPHY CP1300 is directly compatible with a multitude of other Apple products. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or MacBook, you’re able to utilize Apple’s exclusive AirPrint technology. If you’re not sure what this wireless method of printing is, you can check out our in-depth guide to using AirPrint right here.

This portable printer is heavily geared towards mobile users in all aspects of its design and accessibility. With all of the strides it takes towards mobile innovation, it seems to alienate non-mobile users by tacking on extra steps to what was supposed to be a simplistic system.

For those looking to connect physically for a faster speed, you’re going to need to jump through some extra hoops. By connecting a Mini-USB Type 2 cable from your camera to the printer, you can print batches of photos at once. Unfortunately, the Mini-USB cable does not come with the Canon SELPHY printer either, so unless you have an extra laying around the house, you’re out of luck.

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This is probably something that most consumers need to hear before purchasing this portable printer. Just like any other printer, there are going to be consumables required to keep the thing running properly. Instead of ink cartridges, these come in the form of the Canon Photo Paper and their sublimation sheets, which are both packaged and sold as one unit. Priced around 16.99 per package, the Photo Papers come with 36 Sheets that are sized around 4×6 inches.

Adjusting for expense, it’s going to cost you around 50 cents for every photo you print directly off the printer. That may not seem bad for a one-off print photo, those looking for large print jobs are going to be charged accordingly.

Finding a photo printing kiosk has become harder and harder these days. Understandably, if you do have one near you, it would be wise to compare between the two. Also, understand that the initial investment of the printer price should go into play when calculating the benefits.

We’ve come a long way in portable printing technology. A photo taken from a Polaroid camera can take up to 15 minutes to fully develop. Not to mention all the time spent shaking it, and the liability of exposing it to direct sunlight. Fast forward 30 years, and we have a much more reliable source of on-the-go printing.

The Canon SELPHY CP1300 prints a borderless 4 x 6-inch postcard in approximately 46 seconds. If you’re going for a smaller size, it can print a 2.1 x 3.4″ (Equivalent size to a playing card) photo in around 39 seconds.

For a portable printer, this is a respectable amount of time to print. Keep in mind that unlike polaroids of the past, these do not need to dry. Once the photo is directly printed, there are no extra steps required to store these either.

Piggybacking on “Zink” or Zero Ink technology that has been implemented by previous portable Canon printer lines, the new Canon Color Ink Photo Paper breaks new ground and delivers fantastic results compared to its predecessors. Zink technology found in Canon’s IVY Mini Mobile Photo Printer often left vibrant photos looking murky, not to mention that there was a major problem with the now-defunct “crystal technology” used to emulate color on the specialty photo paper.

Luckily, all of these issues have been remedied with Canon’s newest iteration.

Color Ink Photo Paper absorbs all of the thermally transmitted colors in a vibrant and speedy process. Canon even boasts that photos printed on this paper can last up to 100 years if stored properly. The color capability is nothing to scoff at as well, with the ability to produce 256 different shades per color (16.8 million unique colors in total), the contrast between colors is quite impressive from such a compact printer.

The Canon SELPHY CP1300 is a very impressive machine that pushes the realm of innovation, especially for a portable printer. With all the strides it has made for printing technology, it also has a lot of missteps that hinder its overall performance.

The initial purchase seems more like a Starter Kit rather than a full product. With essentials like a Mini-USB Type B cable being excluded, a costly consumable photo paper, and an optional battery that costs almost as much as the printer itself, there is a lot to be desired from the base offering.

Unfortunately, when you take a step back from the marvels of printing on-the-go, what you have left is a subpar photo printer that’s priced around the same realm of legitimate non-portable photo printing contenders.

Canon seems to be competing with itself on this venture. For the price of a SELPHY CP1300 and Battery Pack, you could be purchasing a professional Canon photo printer instead. The Canon PIXMA series of printers do everything that the SELPHY CP1300 does, at a lower price, while outputting at four times better the resolution.

As a long term printer, the costs of the CP1300 are really not viable. Let’s compare the output of the SELPHY CP1300’s Photo Paper vs. Canon CL-211 Color Cartridge (Standard Ink for Canon PIXMA Printers)

The price for printing one photo from the Canon Photo Paper is almost seven times higher than a photo printed using a remanufactured Canon CL-211XL cartridge from 1ink.com.

1200 DPI is the standard for excellent photo printing; anything higher would be for professional usage only. When numerous Canon printers meet this requirement and perform with four times more resolution than the CP1300, at the exact or around the same price, it’s hard to recommend this printer on merits other than portability.

Hopefully, the next iteration of the Canon SELPHY series can remedy some of these major shortcomings. It’s a shame because, behind the slick marketing and extra add-ons, there really is a capable product that’s unlike any other on the market right now. If Canon could iron out a few of these kinks before competitors catch on, it can dominate the realm of portable printing within the next few years.

Canon SELPHY CP1300 review: perfect for picture printing

As a middle-ground between traditional printers and smaller photo models, the Canon SELPHY CP1300 is perfect for creating photo lab-quality prints at home.

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Photo prints have returned to our otherwise digital lives and are here to stay. At least that’s what Canon hopes for with its modern and versatile SELPHY CP1300 photo printer, designed for fast and easy home printing.

We have an ever-growing collection of digital photos on our smartphones and computers, so it can be fun to see them come alive with tactile prints and postcards. Viewing life’s memories on a screen is one thing, but holding special moments in hand or adding to a family album can become a more satisfying experience.

To see if taking the photo lab home is more than just a short-term pastime, we test-drove the Canon SELPHY 1300 with various paper formats. And, if you want to see how it measured up against other models, hop on over to our guide to the best small printers.

Overall, we can see the longevity in having a modern photo printer that is compact, user-friendly, and prints good quality photos without having to order from a photo lab – convenience is key for home printing, after all.

Canon SELPHY CP1300: Set-up

Our Canon SELPHY CP1300 came preloaded with ink, but installing it is as easy as opening up the side compartment and inserting the ink cartridge. Unlike a traditional printer, SELPHY CP1300 doesn’t have a tray to load the paper and uses a paper cassette instead. It attaches to the front of the printer with the blank paper sheets enclosed, and the printer ejects all printed photos on top of the cassette.

You will also notice some paper packs have different ink cartridges, so you will need to switch between them if you alternate between paper sets. It may also seem wasteful to have a plastic ink cartridge that lasts 108 prints at most, as is the case for the postcard-sized kit, while the sticker paper set only holds ink for 18 sheets.

Once you have attached the paper cassette, the next step is to connect to your device – Wi-Fi connection is likely the universal way to connect using different devices. Still, you can also use Mopria Print Service, which easily connects Android devices to certified printers, or opt for AirPrint if you use iOS. If you have any photos on a USB memory stick or an SD card, you can use those directly on the printer.

We were impressed with the ease of setup no matter what device we used to print from. Of course, this could make it a perfect choice for social activities such as family events, wedding receptions, or kids’ birthday parties where a group of people can connect and print memories to take home or entertain the guests.

Canon SELPHY CP1300: Performance

This is a small, portable printer that prints well. The colors were mostly vibrant and reasonably accurate, and even black-and-white photos had deep blacks and crisp whites. In addition, the dye-sublimation print technology Canon SELPHY CP1300 gives images you can handle right away – you won’t have to worry about accidentally smudging the colors.

When you print for the first time, don’t be surprised to see the first time paper comes out, it only has yellow dye. The printer applies color in four stages, and for each one, the paper comes out at the front before it’s finally ejected when printing is done.

We noticed the printer doesn’t show current ink levels on the screen, which means you’re left guessing, especially if you use several packs of paper and ink without keeping track of how many prints you’ve done so far.

How to set up a Wireless Direct network on your Canon SELPHY CP1300

The different print options, like ID printing, collages, photo-booth prints, and others, make it a good choice for general family use and crafts. Still, you could also use it for printing plain postcards and general photo keepsakes. The same goes for paper choices – if stickers are not your thing, simple postcards or 4x6in paper packs may be the better choice.

Printing even the simplest digital memories is tremendous fun, and it’s easy to go through a whole pack of prints quickly. The price per print comes out comparable to a consumer photo lab. Hence, while you’re not saving much money by printing at home, it is still a more personal and enjoyable experience than heading to a photo kiosk.

One issue we ran into was getting some dust or pet hair either onto the paper cassette or ink cartridge. The prints came out with minor visual imperfections akin to analog film that sometimes get scratches or dust, but if you handle the printer with care, it should not be a regular occurrence.

Canon SELPHY CP1300: Design

Not as small as simpler Polaroid-style printers, the Canon SELPHY 1300 is still portable and easy to store away in a drawer or cupboard when not in use. You can pick from a black, white, or pink design, with the latter two likely popular for family use.

Though our test unit came with a battery pack, sadly, if you want to use it on the go, you have to buy the battery separately. We stored the printer on the corner of our home office desk but be mindful that when in use, the paper cassette will add to its size at the front.

The tilt-up screen is a nice touch, so you can see the printer menu without having to stand up if you print at your desk, but it’s not a touch screen, so you still have to navigate using the buttons.

From a distance, the printer does not look too dissimilar to a retro CD or cassette player, which could fit a specific room aesthetic. Still, if you want to keep it dust and pet hair free (and avoid it getting inside the paper cassette), it may be an excellent choice to store it away when not in use.

Canon SELPHY CP1300: Our verdict

Having used printers with fewer functions, the Canon SELPHY CP1300 stands out as a tiny powerhouse that can print anything you need, from passport-style ID photos to family album prints. It doesn’t quite rival results from a professional photo lab, but it’s an adequate alternative to consumer labs.

Suppose you like to tinker with creative ideas, enjoy collecting photo memories, or have children in the family. In that case, the printer will be a great, entertaining alternative to ordering online, even if it does work out to a similar price per print.

Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer Review

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Anyone old enough to remember a time before digital photography likely has fond memories of Polaroid cameras. At a time when viewing photos typically required handling film correctly, a trip to the drug store or photo lab, days of waiting for processing, and anxiously flipping through a stack of photos to see if any looked good, the Polaroid was a magical device.

The near-instant gratification of snapping a photo and waiting a few seconds as the image gradually came into view never lost its novelty. Plus of course, even though it didn’t do anything, we all shook the pictures anyway.

Digital cameras finally brought about the death of Polaroid. Yes, it still exists in a small niche, but it’s an extremely rare product in a day when everyone has a smartphone in their

Despite the popularity of the smartphone and social media sharing, there is still something special about a tangible, touchable, printed photo that most of us rarely encounter anymore. Case in point, despite the fact that any of us can take a photo at any time, photo booths remain popular at fairs, events, and amusement parks. Patrons are willing to spend money to get a printed photo strip when they could easily take thousands of digital photos for free.

Canon looks to capture a bit of that old magic with the SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer. With a host of clever and fun features, you might just find yourself trading Instagram for an instant print.


When Canon says compact, they mean compact. The SELPHY CP1300 measures in at a mere 7.1 x 5.4 x 2.5 inches making it about the size of a thick paperback book. At 1.9 pounds it’s about half the weight of an average laptop computer.

The CP1300, available in black or white, certainly fits into the “portable” category and shouldn’t be confused with a standard multi-function unit. The largest print size available is Postcard at 4.0 x 6.0 inches. Additional sizes include L size (3.5” x 4.7”), Card Size (2.1” x 3.4”) and Square Label (2.1” x 2.1”).

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Canon supports a number of ways to connect to the SELPHY for printing. Supporting USB and Wi-Fi connections, you can print via Windows or Mac computer. The Canon PRINT app enables mobile printing from iOS or Android portable devices while and SD card slot allows for easy printing from digital cameras without the need to upload files to a PC.

Canon Selphy CP1300 | Try It? or Don’t Buy It? | Sophie’s World

User interface input happens via a 3.2-inch LCD screen. For ease of use, Canon claims to have improved the interface with more intuitive control Also, the LCD screen tilts vertically to enable more convenient access.

Photo printing takes significantly more time than document printing, and a smaller printer tends to magnify that impact. The SELPHY CP1300 takes 39 seconds to print a card-sized photo and 47 seconds to fill a borderless 4 x 6-inch postcard. While it’s understandable to sacrifice performance for convenience and portability, don’t expect this unit to pump out a high volume in a short time.

Photo Quality

You can generally judge the quality of a photo printer by analyzing the color and clarity of the pictures it produces. While somewhat subjective, objective measurements do exist. Color reproduction should accurately reflect the source media and clarity results from the ability of the printer to produce enough dots per inch, known as DPI, on the paper.

The SELPHY CP1300 supports a maximum of 300 dpi, standard for commercial printing. While completely adequate, it isn’t particularly impressive. Larger printers, even consumer models, state support of much higher DPI such as 2400 x 1200. Some of these figures are inflated by counting each color ink as a separate “dot” even though they all contribute to a single pixel. While not stunning, color reproduction was accurate and lifelike.

We tested printing on a variety of photo sizes and felt completely satisfied, if not blown away, by the results. Since most of the photos were quite small, both in collage modes and the smaller 2 inch stickers, there’s just not a lot of space to scrutinize the quality.

Ultimately, the CP1300 will produce perfectly acceptable images for personal use and sharing. In this sense, the sharing and collaborative features of the printer matter more than the quality. If you’re looking for professional grade printing, you wouldn’t consider a small portable device like this anyway.

Dye Sublimation Technology

The SELPHY CP1300 does hold one advantage over standard inkjet printers by utilizing dye-sublimation technology for printing. While inkjets, as the name implies, squirt a tiny jet of liquid ink onto the paper, dye-sublimation uses heat to transfer a solid dye onto the target.

The name isn’t completely accurate since the term “sublimation” refers to converting matter directly from solid to gaseous state and dye-sub printers generally liquify the dye to some extent. Regardless, the principal remains the same. Heat is applied to solid dye which vaporizes, transfers to paper, plastic, or fabric where it immediately cools and re-solidifies. This represents a major advantage in a portable printer because unlike inkjet prints which need some time to dry, the dye-sublimated images come out immediately dry and smudge-proof.

On top of the instant drying, the solid nature of the dye naturally affords a measure of water resistance to your prints. Even if you aren’t familiar with dye-sublimation technology you could most likely identify images printed this way. While inkjet and laser prints tend to feel just like the paper they’re printed on, a dye-sublimated print has a glossy, almost waxy feel.

Additionally, Canon claims an extremely long 100 year print longevity assuming the prints are stored in an album out of the elements. While it’s very difficult to get accurate estimates about inkjet print lifespan, it’s generally understood that colors will fade more rapidly than dye-sublimated counterparts.


Given its small size, the SELPHY CP1300 is naturally much more portable than a larger desktop printer. A number of other features enhance the mobile productivity options.

First, the build-in 3.2” LCD screen allows you to edit and select photos to print. Editing features are understandably basic, but do give you some creative options. You can create collages, adjust colors, add borders, and select specific areas of an image to print. While this certainly won’t replace the options from more sophisticated editing software, it’s a nice option to have on the fly.

Thanks to the dye-sublimation printing process, the SELPHY CP1300 can also print directly onto plastic. This makes it a great option for mobile printing of ID cards and badges at tradeshows or other events.

To further enable mobility, Canon offers a battery pack for separate purchase. While this certainly sounds like a great enhancement, you do need to consider a few points. The battery pack costs nearly as much as the printer itself, and to top it off it’s only rated for 54 prints. While 54 prints should be enough for average usage scenarios, Canon advertises the SELPHY CP1300 as a portable party photo booth. It’s easy to imagine a situation where you’d exceed 54 prints so you couldn’t plan to go too far away from an outlet.

Party Features

If the CP1300 only printed photos, it would a functional but not particularly interesting mobile printer. In order to bring some fun into the picture, Canon has added some unique features that should get everyone involved in the party.

First, Party Shuffle mode allows all of your friends to connect to the CP1300 simultaneously. Everyone can send images to print, and you can select multiple to combine into a collage. It’s a great way to let everyone bring home a keepsake from a memorable day. Small square photo labels let you print your favorite, or most ridiculous, photos and stick them anywhere you want.

We found the Photo Booth mode the most entertaining. Even as times change, there’s something nostalgic about the strips of tiny photos. In Photo Booth mode, you can select 4 images which will duplicate onto two strips. Simply cut them in half and you can share with a friend. Adding a few costume props and a background is a great way to liven up any party.

Together these features do bring a great deal more to the experience than just printing photos and ID cards. They allow the SELPHY to function well as both a useful business tool and a fun party experience.


While printing ID cards and photos may serve a purpose, it’s the social features that make the SELPHY CP1300 stand out as something more special. In the day of constant social media, it’s refreshing to have something personal that doesn’t need to be shared with the entire world. Also, we really enjoyed hiding humorous sticker pictures in unexpected places.

The SELPHY isn’t a perfect device. The extended battery, replacement ink, and photo paper do run on the expensive side, and the battery life leaves a bit to be desired. Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that the older Polaroid supplies were quite expensive as well.

The biggest test will be to see if people willingly spend what amounts to a fairly significant cost for printed photos. While some of us get a feeling of nostalgia from the “photo booth” style strips and the instant prints, there’s no doubt it’s now a digital world. There’s no doubt it is fun, but it has a novelty that could wear off for many. The convenience of simply posting to social media could win out once the costs of additional photo paper, replacement ink, and portable batteries starts adding up.

The name SELPHY obviously tips a cap to the self-photography phenomenon, and while social posting was one the realm of younger generations, these days everyone has social media accounts of some form or another. From preteens to grandmas, everyone loves connecting online, and we have to wonder if the notion of printed pictures remains a relic of the past.

Regardless of larger social trends, if you’re looking for mobile photo printing today, the Canon SELPHY CP1300 provides a versatile solution. The instant dry, durable printing means that it can handle anything from ID cards to stickers, and the Photo Booth and Party Shuffle modes are sure to entertain at your next event.

1 thought on “Canon SELPHY CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer Review

Having had a Canon Selphy CP1300 bought for me as a xmas gift from my son living abroad and mainly to print off pictures of my grandaughter, I was disappointed to find that the product didn,t come with even a basic ink and paper supply,whats more the company that it was purchased from (curry’s) didnt stock the required ink/paper products. The net result is that I am now searching around for items which has taken the edge off the initial pleasant surprise.So at this moment in time I am unable to tell if the product is worth the £115 it cost, or would I have been better taking my SD card to ASDA and developing them for less than 25p for even larger sized photos Reply

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