The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Canon selphy square QX10 review: A portable photo printer that stands the test of time

Prints from the almost pocket-sized device stay just as vibrant for 100 years... apparently

<p>You can even edit your snaps on the selphy photo layout app, with everything from frames to filters and text </p>

You can even edit your snaps on the selphy photo layout app, with everything from frames to filters and text

It can sometimes feel like Instagram and other image-based apps have spoilt the magic of photography.

With everything at the tips of your scrolling fingers, and affirmation a tap away, the tactile connection with our photos isn’t what it used to be. However, the world of portable photo printers can offer you the best of both worlds.

Almost a modern Polaroid camera, they let you pick a photo from your phone, frame how you like, and watch it print in seconds, an almost-immediate way of making your Instagram feed a physical reality.

Canon’s selphy square QX10 is one of the market’s leading portable photo printers, with the brand claiming that its high-quality prints will retain their vibrancy and colour for 100 years.

We trawled our Insta feed for any photos with more than 15 likes to put Canon’s selphy to the test.

Read more:

How we tested

We tested the selphy for its print speed and quality, ease of setting up, tech specs, ink usage and general look and feel. We always test our products with one main question in mind: will we still approve of the product in a year’s time, or will we be on the lookout for a replacement?

Canon selphy square QX10

Buy now £139, Currys.co.uk

  • Print/scan/copy: Print photos
  • Dimensions: 102mm x 143mm x 31mm
  • App printing: Selphy Photo Layout
  • Printing speed: 43 seconds/photo
  • Input capacity: 10
  • Connectivity: Wifi, USB
  • Rating: 8/10

Design

The selphy is almost pocket-sized: a little bigger than some other pocket printers on the market, it would still fit comfortably in the pocket of a pair of cargo shorts (if that’s your style). Available in four colours – black, white, pink and (blue-ish) green – the slimline, portable printer is designed to look as fun as it is to use. It’s a little on the heavy side, so don’t expect to be able to chuck it in your pocket and forget about it, but it would be ideal as a one-stop photo printer to take with you on holiday. The Selphy has a decent battery life (around 20 minutes at full pelt), and feels sturdy enough to store in a rucksack. It also works exclusively with mobile devices, meaning there’s no printing from your computer.

Read more: 10 best mirrorless cameras: Perfect for budding photographers

The partner app, selphy photo layout, is a clean piece of software that gives you a decent range of editing options for your photos, including frames, filters, text and extra design elements such as collages, for any last-minute airbrushing or alterations (don’t bother, you look great). It’s easy to import imagery from your phone’s internal storage or via the Cloud, and cropping these images into the selphy’s square format is simple.

Performance

The selphy could very easily slip into novelty territory, turning your £140 investment into something you lose in the back of the wardrobe. However, while it looks quite pricey on the surface, it’s a sophisticated machine: the quality of the prints, coupled with how easy it is to use, means that there’s no chance of this being forgotten after an initial rush of usage.

Unlike other pocket photo printers, the selphy uses dye sublimation (or dye-sub) technology, instead of the more common Zink (zero ink). Zink heats colour crystals present in the paper, while the selphy runs over the photo paper four times, using heat to transfer dye onto the page. This results in a technically superior image, and one that Canon says will last a century without fading.

Read more: Camera buying guide to choose the best model for you

This has been tested in the Canon labs using an accelerated ageing technique that seemingly involves placing the photos in a particularly hot and humid sauna scenario, then measuring the level of yellow discolouration and contrast and extrapolating this over prolonged time periods. The prints passed the sauna test with flying colours: it all means that you should make sure you like your photo before printing, as it could outlast the photographer. The dye-sub approach certainly creates vibrant and deep image reproduction, with the Canon app giving you the option to brighten your shots and add your preferred filter.

Canon’s XS-20L square photo paper provides the perfect canvas for dye-sub prints, but this comes at a premium: £15.99 for 20 sheets.  Each ink cartridge holds enough ink to finish a pack of paper with maybe a sheet to spare, meaning a little forward planning if you’re in the mood for a glut of photo printing. Shots are printed at pretty much exactly Canon’s claimed 43 seconds, which is a quick performance compared with most other portable printers.

The verdict: Canon selphy square QX10

The Canon selphy square QX10 is an undeniably fun portable printer. It offers a nice mix of old-school Polaroid aesthetic with the shape and editing possibilities of Instagram. It feels like a premium product, which is to be expected at the price, and feels worth the money when looking at the end result: bright, vibrant images that won’t fade for many years to come.

There are at-home all-in-one printers that can produce fantastic photography, but the selphy’s portability is a strong selling point, and its sophisticated look and tech make it a solid investment for anyone wanting quality pocket photography that rivals anything professionally developed.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on cameras and other tech offers, try the links below:

Looking to upgrade your vlogging game? We tested the Sony ZV1 compact camera to see if it’s worth buying

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in