Good Read

Spoonfeedin WOrld

Tech – Worth It? A Talking Printer

By WILLA PLANK
In a push to make digital photo printing easier, Canon launched a portable talking printer – the Selphy ES40. In theory, the printer should talk you through any complications you might encounter while printing.

But at first glance, it wasn’t clear why the voice guidance was necessary. The buttons on the printer are labeled in a clear, simple manner and the menus were easy to navigate. I wasn’t sure I was going to need any voice guidance.

But I turned it on anyway.

Immediately I was annoyed by the loud and syrupy sweet voice. However, I had to admit the voice was helpful in letting me know when a photo had finished printing. At first, I almost grabbed photos out of the printer before they were finished, not realizing the printer was going to suck the paper back in to add a new layer of color. The entire printing process takes about a minute.
The voice talks most when using the creative print option, where you can print out photos with frames, clip art or as photo calendars or multi-photo prints. But the voice didn’t help me with other general questions that I had: how to trim or jump through photos.

I tested the creative print option with my Peru vacation photos off my SD card. I stacked photos to print on the 4-by-6-inch postcard paper I had. Although the screen can show nine photos at once, it was cumbersome to flip through my photos to pick certain ones. I also had trouble figuring out how to make sure the photos in the multi-photo prints were all horizontal or vertical.

Despite my frustration with the voice guidance, I liked the Selphy. I had a lot of fun making instant prints of photos I’ve had sitting in my camera. I also took photos with a cell phone and printed photos off of its microSD card. To my surprise, the quality was pretty sharp, unless I zoomed in on the image.

The printer can print photos from a memory card, from a computer or a camera with PictBridge capability (which includes Canon cameras produced since 2003). From a memory card, choose how many copies of each photo you want or all photos, and press print. It is as simple as that.

Printing from my Canon was also easy. But printing from a computer (through a separately purchased USB cable) requires installing software that is included in the Selphy kit. Beware, there is also voice guidance with the computer program.

Other than the voice controls, however, my biggest complaint with the Selphy was its portability claim. At 4.8 pounds and with no battery capability, its portability is limited.

So, is it worth it? Overall, I enjoyed my experience with the Selphy.

The price is fairly reasonable: The product costs $149.99 and the ink-and-paper cartridges range from $12 to $31.99 depending on the ink color and number of paper sheets. But I would only recommend it for someone who won’t mind its lack of portability and annoying voice.

Write to Willa Plank at willa.plank@dowjones.com

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September 28, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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