Canon Compact Photo Printer CP-330
At a Glance
Canon's snapshot printer is petite and has some unique features that impressed us, but they come at a steep price. The CP-330 costs $269, which is $70 more than the Epson PictureMate and $89 more than the Sony DPP-EX50, two other snapshot printers we reviewed at the same time. Also, it has no control panel to help you print from a camera, and its print quality didn't overwhelm us.
In its favor, the CP-330 prints to three paper sizes (4-by-6-inch, 4-by-8-inch, and credit card size) as well as to labels in two sizes (credit card and postage stamp). Speaking of stamps, the back of Canon's 4-by-6 paper has an outline box for one, along with a line running down the middle, just like the markings on the backs of store-bought postcards.
A 36-sheet pack of 4-by-6-inch paper plus ink ribbon costs $20, or about 56 cents a print. (The Epson PictureMate's 4-by-6 prints cost just 29 cents each.) A 4-by-8-inch print or a credit card-size label costs about 83 cents; the 4-by-8-inch paper comes in packs of 24 sheets for $20, and the 18-pack of credit card-size labels costs $15. All paper packs include an ink ribbon, which is consumed at the same rate as the paper.
Folded up, the CP-330 is 6.5 inches wide, 5 inches deep, and 2 inches high. And it can operate on a battery, which Canon includes with the printer. Canon says that one battery charge is good for about 36 prints. An extra battery is expensive, at $140; and if you want to charge it without connecting it to the printer, you'll need a recharge kit ($40 extra). Together, the printer and battery weigh about 2.5 pounds. The CP-330 can communicate with a camera that supports PictBridge or Direct Print, but it has no memory card slots, and it lacks a control panel. Canon's Windows driver includes a number of basic image editing controls--such as sliders for adjusting color levels--that other snapshot printers do not have.
The CP-330 requires a separate paper cassette for each paper size. That means increased clutter and extra cost, but on the other hand you don't have to empty the cassette to switch paper sizes. Canon provides cassettes for 4-by-6-inch and 4-by-8-inch media at no extra charge; and the cassette for credit card-size prints costs $13. When you swap cassettes, you also have to swap ribbon cartridges.
Dye sublimation print technology generally imparts an uncanny luminance to images, but the CP-330's prints had a somewhat earthy look. Details weren't as sharply focused as we had expected from our prior experience with dye-sublimation prints, though overall they were still lovely. We clocked the unit printing a 4-by-6-inch photo in 1 minute and 45 seconds, 16 seconds slower than the Sony DPP-EX50 took.
The CP-330 is a good choice if you want to print while on the road--as long as you're comfortable with your camera's menus.