Last Updated on January 1, 2022 by Daniel
For years, printer manufacturers have been trying to get photographers to print the images they share on social media. In contrast, the images we upload to Instagram, Facebook, and other sites tend to be fun and spontaneous, while printed photos can be anything but. Those who grew up in the Instagram era probably think that printing out mobile photos is as antiquated as dialing a rotary phone.
While printer manufacturers don’t like to admit it, the analogy does have some validity. You probably know what we mean if you’ve ever tried to replace a clogged ink cartridge on an inkjet printer. But what if printing could be more like Instagram and less like Ma Bell? This is the idea behind the Canon Selphy Square QX10, a mobile printer I recently tried and enjoyed printing photos I had “trapped” on my iPhone.
How well does the Canon Selphy Square QX10 turn the social media masses onto the joys of holding a real photo print in their hands? Although it’s unlikely, it may bring in a few converts, which is impressive since many products have tried and failed.
Canon SELPHY Square QX10: Design & Features
With a design that is borderline cute, the Canon Selphy Square QX10 should appeal to Instagram users. With dimensions of 4 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches (L x H x W) and weighing about a pound, the QX10 isn’t small enough to fit into a pants pocket, but should fit into a large coat pocket or, certainly, a backpack or laptop bag.
Is the Canon QX10 too big for me? Yes, but I loved the simple elegance of the printer’s design, including its textured finish and four different colors of its exterior: pink, green, black, or white.
As opposed to many other mobile photo printers which use Zink (or Zero Ink) thermal printing technology, the Canon Selphy Square QX10 uses dye-sublimation, which requires you to insert a dye-sub color cartridge and paper into the printer. The paper also needs to pass over the ribbon multiple times to create a color print with dye-sub. In contrast, Zink tech requires no ink cartridges, just chemically treated paper, and prints color photos in just one step.
However, I’ve found Zink printers to produce inferior photo prints compared to dye-sub printers, which was certainly the case with the Canon Selphy Square QX10, which I’ll discuss in the performance section below. Besides the dye-sub cartridge, the QX10 includes ten square sheets of photo paper, which you can place in a flap on the back of the printer. This set will run out pretty fast, so you’ll want to buy an ink and paper package ($15) that will let you print 20 photos. These little printers can be quite expensive when it comes to consumables.
You can also attach your square prints to different surfaces with Canon’s peel-off, sticky photo paper for the QX10. It’s popular with kids.
With the Canon Selphy Square QX10, a USB cable is included in the box for charging. Apart from that, the printer only has a power button on the front.
Because the Canon QX10 is a truly mobile printer, you must print from your smartphone or tablet computer via WiFi. Bluetooth cannot be used to connect the QX10 to your device.
Additionally, you can’t connect a Mac or Windows computer directly to the Canon QX10. However, there are some benefits as well. The photos on my phone were really the only things I could use, so I focused on those one-off moments for my creativity with the printer.
However, I wish Selphy Photo Layout, which is your main interface for printing wirelessly to the QX10, was a bit better. A few layout options are available in the app, including the ability to position an image in a square format, some cheesy virtual frames, and a few largely uninspired graphics that you can stamp on your images, but nothing like what you’ll find on most social networks. Additionally, there are some barebones editing features, as well as a way to create a print layout by using multiple shots, but the features are fairly basic.
However, the Canon QX10’s print quality was surprisingly good. The QX10 produced good skin tones in portraits, unlike most Zink printers I have used. Often, Zink printers oversaturate colors, resulting in unnatural-looking photos. In portraits printed by Zink printers, people can also look plasticky at best and alien at worst. The QX10’s dye sub-based three-ink (cyan, magenta, and yellow) provided shots with just the right amount of pop.
2.7 x 2.7-inch photos printed by the QX10 took around 43 seconds each to print, as advertised by Canon. Although it’s not super-fast, I sort of enjoyed watching the Selphy printer create color prints of my photos in three passes, reminiscent of watching a Polaroid instant photograph develop.
|Great design||A bit bulky|
The Canon Selphy Square QX10, a cute little printer that produces high-quality photos you’ll want to share in person instead of on social networks, could change how mobile photo printing is viewed by the Instagram crowd.