The new Canon IVY CLIQ+2, also called Zoemini S2 in the UK, is a digital compact camera with a printer built-in to create instant 2x3” physical images. It’s a modern take on vintage instant film cameras like a Polaroid or Fujifilm Instax, and we think it's one of the best photo printers out there.
Film is known for being pricey, about $0.70 for a single Fujifilm Instax 2.1x3.4” (1.8x2.4” actual image size), or a steep $2 per classic Polaroid Color 600 print. The IVY CLIQ+2 however uses heat-based printing rather than film so its prints are notably cheaper at about $0.44 per 2x3” print, so if you’re considering an instant camera this could be one to consider.
Type: Compact mobile printer
Print speed: 50 secs
Maximum resolution: 2x3” @ 314x600 dpi
Connection type: Bluetooth 5.0, Micro USB, Micro SD
LCD preview screen: No
Warranty: 1 year (US) 2 years (UK)
It combines an 8Mp digital camera with a built-in printer, all housed in a single compact unit. You also have the added benefit of storing your digital JPEG files on a MicroSD card so you can back photos up, share them or print duplicates - an advantage you don’t get with the classic instant film cameras. As with retro Polaroid and Fujifilm Instax photos, the CLIQ+2’s prints make great keepsakes for friends and family, the back can also be peeled off every print turning them into fun stickers so you can decorate items like phones, laptops, fridges or easily add them to a scrapbook.
The CLIQ+2 utilises ZINK (Zero Ink) technology which uses heat to create its prints so you don’t have to worry about replacing ink cartridges, clogged printhead nozzles or even worry about film expiration dates, though because the paper is heat sensitive you will need to make sure it’s stored between 32ºF and 77ºF and also keep the paper out of direct sun. Each piece of ZINK paper integrates all of the dye crystals needed to produce a full color print. This is then brought to life when the CLIQ+2 heats the paper up in a specific way to activate the color crystals and produce your instantly dry 3x2” print which is all said and done in less than one minute.
In the US, the IVY CLIQ+2 is available in Matte Black, Pink, Turquoise and Charcoal. In this review we put it through its paces to find out if you should buy one…
Canon IVY CLIQ+2: Features
Canon’s IVY CLIQ+2 is the very definition of a compact point-and-shoot camera, and it's small enough to easily fit inside of a jacket pocket. Controls and options have been kept simple with much of the legwork being done by the camera’s automatic ISO that ranges between 100 and 1600 as well as autofocus with no manual focus option.
You have three lighting options, landscape with no flash, portraits with a flash or portraits using the ring light. The flash has a range of 0.5m to 1m, while the ring light has a range of 0.3-0.6m, so you need to be holding the camera at an arm’s length to get the benefit of either lighting. You also have a button to change between color or black and white, and another button to print with or without a simple white border (more border options are available through the app).
On the bottom of the camera you’ll find the Micro USB charging port, a slot for a MicroSD card (not included) and a reset button. On top you’ll find the power button, an LED indicator light that shows the printer status, and also a shutter button. During testing we found the shutter button a little too easy to press - on a few occasions we accidentally triggered it while grabbing the CLIQ+2 to pick it up which led to an image of the floor being printed and once you’ve taken a shot there is no way to cancel the print - a confirmation or cancel button would have been a godsend and helped cutdown on wasting the pricey paper as well as saving time as you have to wait a minute before you can take your next shot.
To take its photos the CLIQ+2 features an 8Mp sensor and can produce prints at a maximum size of 2x3” borderless with a resolution of 314x600 dpi. It’s a fun size comparable to Fujifilm Instax, though admittedly we’d have liked prints to be a little larger, and more imoportantly a little thicker too as the thin photo prints did have a tendency to curl up over time, it’s not so much of an issue if you peel them off to use them as stickers where they’ll be kept flat, but if you don’t want to use them as stickers they tend to curl up a little.
The CLIQ+2 has an ISO range spanning from 100-1600 which is selected automatically for you and has a 2.6mm wide-angle lens (25.66mm 35mm full-frame equivalent) and a bright f/2.2 aperture. The wide aperture doesn’t deliver the same shallow depth-of-field effects you’d see on a full-frame camera at f/2.2 as the CLIQ+2 uses a much smaller sensor, though it still lets in lots of light for fast exposure times.
Canon IVY CLIQ+2: Setup and usability
The CLIQ+2 uses a Micro USB cable to charge and takes about two hours to be fully powered, A Micro USB to USB-A cable is included but no there’s no wall plug adapter, not too much of an issue as pretty much everyone has at least one in their home. It’s slightly annoying that yout can’t print from the CLIQ+2 while plugged in, though from a full charge it will be able to produce about 25 prints.
There’s a port for a MicroSD card (also compatible with MicroSDHC and MicroSDXC up to 256GB), though one isn’t provided so you’ll need to supply your own. While you don’t have to use a memory card, you can just take images and instantly create 3x2” prints, you definitely get the best experience by using one. It’s great to be able to backup your shots to the memory card so you can keep and share JPEG files, or to print multiple copies for friends and family members using the Canon Mini Print app. Using the app you can also take pictures with your phone’s camera, or print out images saved on your smart device, opening up more creative possibilities.
The ZINK paper comes in packs of 10 and you can either use the standard 2x3” prints or pre-cut circular stickers which have two 1.3” stickers per sheet. These have a ‘Smart Sheet’ included which has a barcode on it and processes this first to optimise the printing. You also have border and effects options within the app as well as brightness, contrast and color adjustments.
The Canon Mini Print app for iOS and Android was a joy to use. It’s very easy to connect a smartphone to the CLIQ+2 via Bluetooth 5.0. The app was great for creating multiple duplicates of prints for several people - handy for group shots where everyone would like a copy. While the CLIQ+2 has no LCD screen, instead using a fairly vague viewfinder or 2” mirror on the front of the camera to compose selfies, you can connect your smartphone to see exactly what the camera sees, for more accurate compositions and controlling the CLIQ+2 remotely.
Also in the app you can set a 3, 5 or 10 sec self timer, you can also toggle the auto power off between 3, 5 and 10 mins, check the battery life as well as see print queue and print history. It’s possible to create collages or choose a colorful border. For pictures already on your smartphone you can tweak core settings such as brightness, contrast, saturation and color balance as well as add borders, text, stickers, filters, rotate or draw over images.
With prints being able to be made in under a minute, the CLIQ+2 is comparable to a Polaroid or Fujifilm Instax camera. However, while the retro instant film cameras print the photo instantly and then take a while to develop, with the CLIQ+2 it’s held up printing for about a minute so you can’t continue taking photos, it’s not really a drawback but a point of difference worth taking note of.
If you run out of paper you can continue to take pictures and save them to the MicroSD card and then print them out at a later date when you’ve stocked up on ZINK paper.
We were very impressed by the built-in 700mAh lithium polymer battery which lasted on average for 25 prints from a full charge which was more than enough to have fun with at a party and print multiple copies of group pictures for all of your friends over the course of an evening. It takes about two hours to achieve a full charge from 0%.
Canon IVY CLIQ+2: Print quality
At 50 seconds per print, it takes a little while to create your print but it’s not unreasonable. It’s also relatively quiet when printing. The only time we ran into issues with the print speed was when a photo was taken accidentally as you then have to wait a minute before being able to try again - a cancel or confirm button on the camera would have really helped here.
With instant film cameras you can continue to take pictures while you wait for the previous one to be developed, whereas your CLIQ+2 is effectively out of commission for the duration of the printing process which is a minor drawback of the system.
The CLIQ+2 implements ZINK (Zero-Ink) technology, which uses heat to create its prints on special photo paper containing dye crystals. This means you don’t have to worry about ink cartridges running low and also means its prints come out instantly dry, smudge-free and are also water and tear-resistant.
The image quality isn’t the best we’ve ever seen, but it was perfectly fit for purpose and while the colors weren’t completely accurate this did help it mimic the retro charm of the old instant film cameras. The CLIQ+2 absolutely nails the lo-fi vintage look and creates fun keepsakes, and we found it to be perfectly fit for purpose.
One downside we found with the CLIQ+2 was that prints tended to curl up slightly over time, so we put some heavy books on them to flatten them out again. That said, the ZINK papers have sticky peel backs so this wouldn’t be an issue if you peeled the image off and stuck it onto say a laptop or fridge, or kept it flat underneath a clear phone case.
Canon IVY CLIQ+2: Price and warranty
In the US, the Canon IVY CLIQ+2 retails for $99.99, though we found it on sale for as little as $69.99 which is very good value and brings it into the sweet spot for Christmas gifts and birthday presents.
We found a pack of 20 2x3” ZINK for $12 which works out at about $0.60 per print, or a pack of 100 for $45 which works out better value at $0.45 per print. As such, there are some substantial savings to be had compared to $0.70 for a single Fujifilm Instax Mini 2.1x3.4” print (1.8x2.4” actual image size), or $2 per classic Polaroid Color 600 print.
The CLIQ+2 is comparable to Polaroid and Fujifulm Instax instant film cameras and while you don’t get the ‘true’ retro experience, using film chemicals and processing to create unmistakable vintage colors and hazy tones, the CLIQ+2 is a novel product that brings great fun to parties and family gatherings particularly with children that love to take pictures and selfies, creating keepsakes they can take away, put in a scrapbook and cherish forever.
In the US, you get a 1-year warranty as standard, while in the UK you get a 2-year guarantee.
Canon IVY CLIQ+2: User reviews
User reviews were largely positive for the Canon IVY CLIQ+2, though some users gave low scores due to connection issues, which wasn’t a problem we came across during testing, in fact we found the app really easy to use and get connected to our iPhone 13 Mini.
Some customers weren’t happy with the picture quality, though we felt image quality was reasonable and comparable to the hazy retro quality you’d see with instant film, plus you can always take a picture on your phone if it has a better camera and print that off through the app instead.
Another issue users complained about was that there’s no way of cancelling or confirming a print before it starts printing it out. This was also a problem we came across and we agreed that this was an issue we’d like to see Canon remedy to help cut down on paper waste.
Should you buy the Canon IVY CLIQ+2?
We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Canon IVY CLIQ+2. It would be a great birthday or Christmas present for children and adults alike and is reasonably priced too. The cost per print works out much notably cheaper than its film-based competitors and every print also has the option to be turned into a sticker which adds to the fun. We would like to see Canon make some subtle enhancements, such as a cancel button to stop unwanted images from printing which is wasteful and also can be a costly mistake at about $0.50 per print.
We were particularly impressed with the battery life which lasts for about 25 prints and the lo-fi image quality which nails the look of vintage retro instant films cameras. The Canon Mini Print app was also a joy to use, provided loads of extra border and effects options as well as allowing you to print images stored on your smartphone. We’ve seen the IVY CLIQ+2 on sale for $69.99, at which price it’s a steal!
If you’re looking for a fun centrepiece to capture memories and create keepsakes at parties and family gatherings then look no further than Canon’s brilliant alternative to traditional instant film cameras!