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White, rounded, portable, and armed with a scroll wheel, the Canon Pixma mini260 is reminiscent of Apple’s iPod. And like the popular music device, this printer is a good companion to any Mac. This modestly priced compact printer produces high-quality 4-by-six-inch snapshots quickly and quietly. It also includes a few extra perks that make it appealing to more discerning shooters.
The mini260 prints best on several different types of Canon photo paper including matte, glossy, and pro varieties. Canon offers a $28 package that includes 100 sheets of its glossy 4-by-6 photo paper and a three-color cartridge, for a cost per print of 28 cents.
Thanks to Canon’s ChromaLife100 system, the mini260’s prints look excellent: the colors are accurate; the images are crisp and clear; overall, the photos look professional. We noticed during testing, however, very faint scratches on some of the prints—likely made by the printer’s roller. You can see these scratches only when you look very closely in bright light. For most people, this won’t be a problem.
If you’re really picky about colors, the mini260 features a special Color Balance mode, which prints a 3-by-3-inch preview containing numbered thumbnails of your selected photo with nine numbered color settings. After choosing which color setting you like best, just punch in the number and hit the Print button.
Customizing your prints is easy with the mini260’s scroll wheel and bright LCD screen. In addition to color and quality options, you can easily use the scroll wheel to trim photos by width or height. One option that the printer lacks, surprisingly, is black-and-white printing. You can make such changes in an image-editing application by connecting the mini260 to your Mac via USB—but that would defeat the purpose of purchasing a portable photo printer.
If you connect the mini260 to a Mac, the printer can easily import images into iPhoto. Whatever photo card or camera you plug into the printer mounts on the desktop as a drive, from which you can copy the files to your computer. Printing borderless 4-by-6 photos can be somewhat confusing if you’re trying to use iPhoto with this printer because that program’s print options overlap with those included in the mini260’s driver. Unless you need to print in black and white, we’d recommend using the printer as a standalone unit without your Mac.
The mini260 supports a range of camera memory cards, including CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, and Secure Digital, but it lacks built-in support for xD picture cards. Many Fujifilm and Olympus digital cameras are xD-compatible, meaning those users will have to purchase an xD-adapter (available from a variety of vendors for about $30) to take advantage of the mini260’s card reader. Otherwise, they have to connect their cameras directly to the printer with USB.
Adding to its portable convenience, the mini260 includes a built-in handle for carrying. Canon also offers an optional rechargeable battery pack called the Canon NB-CP2L, which can be purchased from online vendors for about $70.
|Five 4x6-inch Photos||6:58|
Scale = Minutes: Seconds
|Color Photo quality||Very Good|
Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor
|Number of inks||3 inks, 1 cartridge|
|Cost per 4x6-inch print||28 cents—100 sheets glossy paper and ink for $28|
|Inputs||USB 2.0, Direct Print Port (not included), lrDA, Bluetooth (optional), Memory stick slots|
|Printer resolution||9600 x 2400 dpi|
|Special features||Color balance printing; scroll wheel; LCD|
Macworld’s buying advice
The Canon Pixma mini260 produced some of the best 4-by-6 borderless photos of all the portable printers we tested and is a strong competitor to Epson’s top-of-the-line PictureMate Flash PM 280 ( ). Though it lacks a few desirable features, this easy-to-use, full-featured printer does its job well.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The review of the Canon Pixma mini260 states that the printer has no red-eye removal function. In fact, there is an option to remove red eye via the printer’s Advanced menu.
[ Brian Chen is an assistant editor for Macworld.]Canon PIXMA mini260