Portable zero ink (Zink) photo printers not quite match the image quality of dye sublimation models, but the output of the original Canon IVY reviewed here in June 2018 was poor even compared to its Zink competitors. Canon’s new IVY 2 mini photo printer produces better small-format (2 x 3-inch) prints at equally low running costs, making it good value for money, especially at a current discount of 129 $.99 to $99.99. Our only real complaint about this IVY is that, even with the discount, it costs $30 more than the Kodak Step Instant Mobile Photo Printer which just won an Editors’ Choice award among Zink smartphone companions.
One pass, zero ink
Instead of ink, Zink photo printers use special paper infused with colors released by the printer’s application of heat, producing images in a single pass. Canon claims that with proper storage, images from the IVY 2 should last up to a century. In contrast, sublimation or sublimation devices like the Polaroid Hi-Print 2×3 Pocket Photo Printer and the Kodak Mini 3 retro portable printer make four passes to lay down cyan, magenta and yellow ink and a clear coat that helps colors stand out and protects images from dust and fingerprints.
As for the IVY 2 Mini, it comes in two colors, white and pink, as pictured below.
As I have already pointed out, the size of these pocket cameras is mainly determined by the size of their print media. The IVY 2 Mini, for example, measures 0.8 by 3.3 by 4.7 inches and weighs 5.6 pounds, almost identical to the previous IVY and close to many competitors. Like many of them, this Canon uses 2 x 3 inch paper, as does the aforementioned Kodak Step and Polaroid Hi-Print, as well as the HP pinion (not to be confused with the Sprocket Selectionwhich uses 2.3 x 3.4 inch paper).
All pocket printers require you to load consumables: only paper for Zink printers, paper and an ink cartridge for colorants. You load paper into the IVY 2 Mini by sliding its lid to reveal a media compartment.
Like its predecessor, the IVY 2 Mini contains 10 blank sheets. Printed photos exit through an exit slot on the left edge of the machine. On the opposite edge, you’ll find a USB-C port for charging the printer’s battery, a charging status light, a reset pinhole, and the power button.
As mentioned, the Canon prints 2 x 3 inch photos with adhesive backs, as well as small circular stickers. (We’ll take a closer look at consumables and costs per print in a minute.) Connectivity is limited to peer-to-peer Bluetooth wireless protocol, and the bundled software only supports iOS or Android handheld devices. Neither this nor the original IVY can connect to a laptop or desktop computer.
You can, however, access several cloud and social media sites, including Facebook, Google Cloud, Instagram, and OneDrive. You pair the IVY 2 Mini to your phone or tablet via the latter’s Bluetooth control panel. Print resolution is 313 x 512 dots per inch (dpi) and photos are borderless.
The Canon Mini Print app
Canon’s Mini Print application is a comprehensive print driver and photo editing and enhancement program. With it, you can print from your phone’s photo album or your favorite cloud and social media sites.
As well as letting you crop images, fix flaws such as red-eye, and adjust contrast and brightness, the app lets you add decorative text, frames and borders, as well as other improvements. A unique feature of the Mini Print app is the tiling or joining of multiple prints along their edges to create larger pictures or collages. To compose these larger images, the software simply cuts the image into four or nine 2 x 3 inch pieces that you glue back together after printing.
As I said of the original IVY (which only offered four-tile images) back in 2018, tiling is a feature that helps the Canon stand out from its competitors.
IVY 2 Mini review: reasonable speed, better-looking Zink
Canon says printing a photo with the IVY 2 Mini takes 50 seconds or less, which matches the minute or less taken by almost any 2 x 3-inch (or thereabouts) pocket photo printer that I tried recently. The first IVY averaged 44 seconds per print, which is actually quite a bit faster than the 48 seconds I averaged with the newer model.
Frankly, anything less than 60 seconds is fine in this category; 48 seconds is actually relatively fast, although the Kodak Mini 3 Retro wins the race at 43 seconds per print. (I ran my tests from a Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone running the latest version of Android.) It’s important to note that many things, including image resolution and size, and speed of your phone and its Bluetooth connection, may affect the performance of the Pocket Printer.
As mentioned, one of our complaints about the first Canon IVY was that its print quality was not up to par compared to its rivals of the time. Fortunately, the IVY 2 Mini delivers brighter, more intense hues, not to mention better color accuracy and improved detail. Zinc technology has improved considerably in recent years; Image quality from this Canon, while still not as impressive as prints from similarly sized dye-sublimation devices, is on par with most of its competitors.
And like I said, the unique mosaic feature lets you create collages, larger images, or both by dividing an image into four or nine pieces. I don’t know of any other pocket photo printer that can do this.
Affordable and admirable images
At the time of this writing, the IVY 2 Mini’s discounted $99.99 price includes the printer, a USB Type-A to C charging cable, and 10 sheets of 2 x 3 sticky-backed Zink paper inches. Since the printer hasn’t been on the market for long, I haven’t found many bundles with extra paper and other scrapbooking materials like the Kodak Step deals, although I did find a few good deals. For $12.99 you can get 20 sheets with two round stickers per sheet and additional 2 x 3 inch backings – whether you buy 20, 50 or 100 sheets at $9.99, $24.99 or 49.99 $ respectively – will cost you 50 cents per photo. Shopping around could save you pennies; I found a pack of 50 papers for $22.99 instead of $24.99, for example.
Our only complaint about the Canon IVY Mini 2018 was that its prints showed muted or somewhat inaccurate colors and blurrier details compared to rivals from HP, Liene, Kodak and others. When it comes to imaging, it’s highly unusual for Canon to miss the mark even narrowly, so it’s good to see the IVY 2 Mini catching up to its competitors. That just leaves the issue of the gadget’s slightly higher list price, which you can consider outweighed by its image tile option. Either way, you won’t go wrong with the IVY 2 Mini if you’re looking for small, quick prints from your phone.
Canon IVY 2 Mini Photo Printer
Canon’s improved IVY 2 Mini prints beautiful photos and stickers at competitive running costs, making it a great smartphone companion for small photos on the go.
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