Canon SELPHY CP1500 review

The Canon SELPHY CP1500 is a portable 6x4” printer with a brand-new look and some minor changes, but has the brand done enough to make it the mini printer you should buy?

Image shows the Canon SELPHY CP1500.
(Image: © Dan Mold.)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

The Canon SELPHY CP1500 is a portable printer that produces quality 6x4" prints. However, with the cost of paper and a battery to make it truly mobile, the cost-per-print is quite high.

Pros

  • +

    Large, clear LCD screen

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    Fast print times

  • +

    Great print quality

  • +

    Compact power adapter

  • +

    Easy and intuitive app

Cons

  • -

    Screen can’t be tilted

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    No USB-A or USB-mini ports

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    Paper and peripherals are expensive

  • -

    Optional battery comes at extra cost

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    Maximum 6x4” prints can be limiting

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The Canon SELPHY CP1500 is the updated version of the CP1300. The new model gets a fresh look with a more boxy appearance, as well as a textured top face, simplified button configuration and new larger and fixed LCD display. 

Like its predecessor, the CP1500 is available in black, white and pink colorways and overall the cosmetic changes to the new iteration give it a more stylish and cleaner appearance. Changes aren’t just in the design though, as the CP1500 also boasts faster print times and a new USB-C port, though we’ll dive into how it performed and look more closely at its full set of features to assess whether it earns a place in our best compact printers (opens in new tab) guide.

Canon SELPHY CP1500: Key specs

Type: Compact portable printer
Print speed: 41 secs for a 6x4” print
Color: Yes
Connection type: WiFi, USB-C, SD, SDHC, SDXC memory cards
Screen: 3.5-inch LCD 230k-dot
Dimensions: 7.2 x 2.3 x 5.2-inch
Weight: 30 oz
Warranty: 1 year 

The best portable printers (opens in new tab) such as Canon’s SELPHY CP1500 is handy if you want to print on the move. It has a maximum print size of 6x4” which could be a limiting factor if you need to make larger prints.

It comes boxed with a wall charger and users also have the option of powering it from a NB-CP2LI battery pack which is sold separately at an extra cost, though provides truly mobile printing - handy if you’re going to places where you can’t rely on mains power.

A common issue with inkjet printers is that print head nozzles can get clogged when not consistently used. The CP1500 uses dye sublimation technology so you never have to worry about this problem with this printer.

This mini printer’s portability and small print size make it a good option for scrapbooks, projects, children’s homework or even as a fun and novel centrepiece at a party so your friends and family can print their own pictures off. Let’s put it through its paces to see if you should buy one…

Canon SELPHY CP1500: Setup and usability

Setting up the Canon SELPHY CP1500 is pleasantly simple and straightforward. To begin, you’ll need to decide whether you’re powering the printer with the stock wall charger, which has been redesigned and is about 30% smaller making it more portable (it has a slightly longer cable reach too which is nice), or whether to use the NB-CP2LI optional battery, which costs $199.99 and lasts for about 72 prints from a full charge. The CP1500 is notably quieter on startup than the CP1300, however noise levels are similar to the CP1300 during printing.

Like its predecessor, the CP1500 takes an identical 21 seconds to boot up from pressing the power button. While we would have liked to of seen a bit peppier starting time, it is very snappy and quick to get printing once it’s booted up. We also found print speeds to be improved by about 10%, with the CP1500 taking on average 57 seconds to print a 6x4” postcard size photo. 

Image shows the Canon SELPHY CP1500.

(Image credit: Dan Mold.)

To begin printing, you’ll need to insert the paper cassette. Different cassette options are available for different paper sizes such as 2.1x3.4” cards, though it comes with a 4x6in cassette which is the largest compatible paper type. The included cassette has had a bit of makeover and is made of white and semi-transparent clear plastic material, giving it a much cleaner appearance. One improvement we would have liked to have seen would have been to simplify the cassettes and create a single cassette that would be compatible with all of the different paper types, to save on clutter, confusion and extra peripherals you need to spend more money on.

The button layout has been simplified, losing the Home, WiFi, Print and Zoom buttons, leaving just the core menu, directional buttons, OK and power button. This works well as the streamlined interface makes it a bit more user-friendly.

Image shows the Canon SELPHY CP1500.

(Image credit: Dan Mold.)

You can print through the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app from a smartphone which allows you to print images stored on your smart device, you also have options for Photo Print, Document Print, SELPHY Photo Layout and Smartphone Copy which allows you to take a picture through the app and print it.

Alternatively, you can use the memory card reader, compatible with SD, SDHC and SDXC cards, or MicroSD, MicroSDHC and MicroSDXC with an SD card adapter. You can also use the new USB-C port to connect cameras, computers and flash drives with a USB-C type connection, or pair to old USB devices with an adapter, though sadly one isn’t included.

Canon SELPHY CP1500: Features

The maximum print size remains the same as the prior model at 6x4” with a max resolution of 300x300dpi. However, Canon claims the CP1500 promises print speed of 41 seconds for 6x4” prints, compared to the CP1300’s claimed 47 second print speeds. In our testing we timed the duration between pressing the button to start printing and stopped our stopwatch when the print was completed and found the CP1500 to take a total of 57 seconds on average to produce a 6x4” print, while the CP1300 took about 63 seconds. This is still a 10% improvement, but the actual printing times are longer than Canon claims.

Image shows the Canon SELPHY CP1500.

(Image credit: Dan Mold.)

Like its predecessor, the CP1500 features an SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card slot for easy printing directly from a camera’s memory card (microSD, microSDHC and micro SDXC cards can also be used via an adapter). It also boasts the same WiFi connection allowing you to print through the Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY app and has Apple Airprint and Google Mopria compatibility.

One notable change is that the CP1300’s USB-A and USB-mini ports have been swapped out for a more modern USB-C connection. While a USB-C is certainly a more modern port that helps future-proof the CP1500, Canon have perhaps overlooked the fact that many users will still be using those older devices with USB-A and USB-mini ports, so we’d have rather seen this as an extra add-on rather than a replacement. You could of course use an adapter to convert USB-C to one of those older ports though one isn’t included.

Image shows the Canon SELPHY CP1500.

(Image credit: Dan Mold.)

One of the biggest physical changes comes from the LCD screen, which is about 10% larger than the one on the CP1300, though unlike its predecessor it is fixed in place and can’t be tilted upwards. This makes it more difficult to see the screen when you’re sitting down as you have to lean forward to look directly down at it and seems like a bit of a step backwards to take a good feature away. On balance, one upside to having a fixed screen is that the build feels a bit more robust as there’s one less moving part that could potentially get damaged over time.

Dimensions are very similar to the CP1300, though it’s a little bit wider and shallower with dimensions of 7.2 x 2.3 x 5.2 inches and is also 0.35 oz lighter. The CP1500 is compatible with PCP-CP400 and PCC-CP400 cassettes and has paper size options of postcard, credit card and credit card stickers, square stickers and mini stickers.

Canon SELPHY CP1500: Print quality

Conventional inkjet printers use ink cartridges and if you don’t print on a regular basis the wet ink can dry up inside of the ink nozzles, causing clogs. If you’ve ever owned an inkjet printer you’ll likely be all too familiar with this problem. One neat feature of the CP1500 is that it uses dye-sublimation technology and heat so you never have to worry about blocked print heads. The three yellow, cyan and magenta inks are built-up gradually with each pass of the printer, with a fourth and final pass giving each print a protective coating. Canon also claims the prints are good for 100 years.

Image shows the Canon SELPHY CP1500.

(Image credit: Dan Mold.)

Each colour has 256 shades for 24-bit color depth and 16.7million colours for true to life prints and realistic skin tones. The maximum print size is 6x4” with a maximum resolution of 300x300dpi.

When we reviewed the CP1300, we were impressed by its print quality, due to the fantastic detail and bright colours, and we’re happy to report that it’s the same story with this new version. When we compared prints of identical images between the CP1300 and CP1500 the prints looked almost identical, though blue skies appeared to be slightly more vibrant on the CP1500 - this was the only noticeable difference we saw. Image Optimiser was enabled on both printers.

Image shows the Canon SELPHY CP1500.

(Image credit: Dan Mold.)

Canon SELPHY CP1500: Price and warranty

At the time of writing, the Canon SELPHY CP1500 was $139.99 and came with a one-year guarantee in the US. It also comes with the paper cassette, which is the plastic tray for holding your media, but it doesn’t come with inks or paper. This means it’s likely you’ll also need to purchase the RP-108 pack which comes with enough paper and ink to produce 108 4x6” postcard prints. The RP-108 pack costs $35.99, making each 6x4” postcard about $0.33 each, or $0.77 per 54x86mm label. The prints are quite pricey compared to a conventional inkjet printer, but obviously it has the advantage of being very small and portable. 

Our largest issue with the cost was the expensive $199.99 NB-CP2LI battery which really brings the value down if you need this for your photography. Changes from the CP1300 to the CP1500 have been fairly conservative, and the inclusion of a built-in battery feels like a missed opportunity that makes the CP1500 feel like a small step forward rather than a giant leap compared to the CP1300.

Canon SELPHY CP1500: User reviews

At the time of writing the Canon SELPHY CP1500 is very new out so reviews were hard to come by at this moment in time. That being said, the comments that we did find online were very positive.

“Excellent 4x6" printer! The prints from this are amazing with very good color, contrast and saturation. The app is easy to use. I'm looking forward to trying the stickers and hope to get the battery soon to make it fully portable. I already own the CP1200, which I also like, but this produces better prints in my opinion. And this uses the same trays, paper and cartridges that the CP1200 uses so I don't have to buy them. The printer is larger than the other portables like the Ivy, Instax and Sprocket which only print 2x3" photos.” - 5 star review, Best Buy

“Ordered this for family pics as well as passport pics. Delivered next day. This is tiny. A lot smaller than expected. Took a couple minutes to set up and connect to phone and camera. Prints very quick. Quality is incredible. Nice size screen makes editing pics from SD card super simple. Has option to crop and add border design/animations, as well as an ID feature to help with requirements for passports, ID cards, etc. Would recommend getting the battery to make it truly portable. The ink cartridge stays inside the printer, and the tray is smaller than the printer, so you can stack the tray and printer when not in use and it can fit in a mini backpack or a handbag. Only complaint is that the cost per picture is relatively high (around 30 cents a picture).” - 5 Star review, bhphotovideo

Should you buy the Canon SELPHY CP1500?

If you’re in the market for a portable printer and you don’t need to produce prints larger than 6x4” then the Canon SELPHY CP1500 is definitely one to consider. It produces fantastic image quality and the print speeds are very reasonable. The small size of the prints can be a limiting factor, though if you don’t need to print larger than this it’s ideal and fun for scrapbooking and creating prints at a party.

This new iteration sees subtle enhancements such as a larger display, simplified interface for better operability, and faster printer times. It feels like improvements are a small step rather than a big leap forward that we were hoping for. We’d have really loved to of seen a universal paper cartridge and a built-in battery, but for this model it’s no dice.

If you’re interested in the CP1500, it would also be worth considering the older but still very capable CP1300, which costs about $99 and has the same great print quality, so you’ll need to weigh up whether it’s best for you to spend a little extra money and get the latest model with a few extra better features and faster print times.

Dan Mold

Dan is Technique Editor on PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine magazine. With over a decade writing about all things tech he’s written for a variety of publications before joining Future in April 2019 in that time working across Top Ten Reviews, Digital Camera World, PhotoPlus, NPhoto, Digital Camera and Digital Photographer.