We don’t print physical photos that often anymore since the digital lifestyle of sharing photos on social media became the norm. However, the Fujifilm’s Instax manages to be a hit in the world of digital photography because of its unique characteristic of being instant-ready and portable. That is a big advantage compared to fully utilizing a roll of film and send to a shop for developing.

Then today we have the rivaling product from Canon. This is the PV-123 mini photo printer that you can slide it in your bag and carry around everywhere.


Here’s our video review showing you how the Canon PV-123 works.

Canon PV-123

Review - Canon Mini Photo Printer (PV-123) 1

Enter the PV-123 mini photo printer. Canon is looking to recreate a similar experience where one can immediately print a photo taken on a smartphone. Utilizing the ZINK (Zero Ink) technology, the thermal paper contains all the color pigments and will only be activated when it passes through the printer’s heating element.

That eliminates the requirement of ink cartridges on the slim printer unit. Besides, you don’t have to manage the ink levels. Of course, the downside is the added cost to the paper itself. For RM38, each box of the Canon ZP-2030 contains 20 sheets of 2×3-sized ZINK photo paper, separately packed in individual pack per 10 sheets. That goes for RM1.80 per print, ouch. On the bright side, the photos are sticker-backed if it is still a thing.

User Experience

Connecting the printer to a smartphone is just like how you connect any other Bluetooth accessories. Pairing them through the operating system then fire up the Canon Mini Print app (Android / iOS) and you’ll be able to select PV-123 as the default printer.

At first glance, the app seems to be pretty functional with all the fancy photo editing tools. As you use the app, you will start to complain about how the app looks like an undergrad’s final year project, cheaply developed and poorly maintained. Yes, it works just fine at editing and printing photos. However, I expect better user experience from a big international corporation like Canon.

Review - Canon Mini Photo Printer (PV-123) 2

The printer has its own color characteristic to it. Much like how polaroid cameras have a permanent filter applied to the photos.

Review - Canon Mini Photo Printer (PV-123) 3
Left to right: Photo printed vs Canon PV-123

Don’t expect the colors to be as saturated like regular prints. The colors tend to shift towards the warmer tone while the shadows have a shade of red cast to it.

Review - Canon Mini Photo Printer (PV-123) 4

It takes roughly 30 seconds to print a photo. If you continuously print many photos at once, you will notice a couple of minutes gap in between each print. We assume it is to prevent overheating which might deteriorate the print quality. That said, a full charge would allow you to print 10 photos before the low battery warning comes up. Since it charges easily through the micro-USB connector, you can connect it to a power bank for a longer printing operation.

Wrapping up

Before we wrap up our review of the Canon PV-123, the retail price of RM499 is a big hurdle to overcome. One would need to commit at printing these small prints or else it becomes a half-a-grand paperweight. Looking at the positive side, printing, collecting or giving away physical prints is still a meaningful gesture which I, as a photographer, is hoping more people would appreciate.

There’s just something indescribably different about physical prints of pictures compared to sending digital pictures through the internet.

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