SELPHY ES40 PERFORMANCE
Setting up the ES40
The Selphy ES40 will be used as a pc-free device by the majority of users so in that regard, setup can’t get much easier. Plug in the printer, take out the cleaning unit, insert the paper/ink combo cartridge, turn the printer on and you are ready to print.
I will point out the ES40 does not come with a starter ink/paper pack as you’ll realize when you read the Beginner’s Guide; users will need to purchase an ES Easy Photo Pack ink/paper combo cartridge during the initial purchase.
If you plan on using the ES40 with a computer, then you’ll also need to purchase a USB cable and download the drivers and software on the provided CD-ROM. You can also get the latest drivers and software on Canon.com.
Either way, the download is relatively painless and took only a short amount of time; the printer will need to be attached via USB during driver download.
Ease of use
I’ve found both Selphy products I’ve reviewed to be easy enough for a child to use and I think that’s sort of the point. The Selphy line is targeted at families on the go who want to be able to print instant memories.
But the ES40 has taken the ease of use to the next level with its voice guided prompts on both the printer and in the Selphy Photo Print software. They can be turned off if need be but kids really get a kick out of the pleasant voice instructing them. Check out our Selphy ES40 voice guided demo below.
Beyond the voice guidance, the Selphy ES40 also features Canon’s Easy Scroll Wheel for navigating the simple, easy to read menus. The Creative Print feature is the highlight of the ES40; it consists of seven different menu options including: frames, special effects, clip art, word bubbles, calendars, multi layouts, and id photos.
And thanks to the Selphy Photo Print software, users can access many of the creative features found on the printer through their computer. Print simple prints, decorative prints, calendars and add new decorations to the ES40.
Print settings – such as my color feature, trimming and display effects – can be accessed on the printer or through the Selphy Photo Print software.
Speed and quality tests
Canon does advertise a postcard size photo in under a minute but I found, on average, the ES40 took just over a minute to print a borderless 4×6 color print. Adding effects or decorations doesn’t slow down the Selphy ES40 print times from what I can tell and neither did printing multiple photos.
The photo quality on the ES40 was good; colors were bright and the images were sharp although there was some fuzziness in high contrast and out of focus areas which I’ve found to be common in dye sub printers. Overall, you’ll find that the ES40 prints photo lab quality images almost every time.
As I mentioned with the CP790, users should make sure to check the image size before you print from a computer. Often, if you aren’t printing the original image taken from a digital camera or memory card, somewhere along the way the image size was probably reduced. The photo will look totally normal on a computer screen but will come out fuzzy or pixilated. When using a memory card taken directly from a digital camera or the PictBridge function, users shouldn’t find too many pixilated images.
The Selphy ES40 uses Canon’s Easy Photo Pack which combines photo paper and ink in one easy to insert cartridge. Each photo pack gives a precise number of images so there wasn’t much to test in this regard.
Canon sells two different paper sizes: 4 x 6 inch postcard size or 2.1 x 3.4 inch card size. The postcard size is sold in two normal varieties: 50 sheets for $19.99 or 100 sheets for $31.99. That averages out to 40 cents a photo for the 50 sheet Easy Photo Pack or 32 cents for the 100 sheet Easy Photo Pack. Either way, it seems costly when you can get bulk photos for cheaper at most photo labs.
However, as I pointed out when reviewing the CP790, you get the convenience of taking a photo, editing it and then printing it immediately with the ES40. You can also add creative features for free that would cost extra at photo labs.