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Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer Printer Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Dec 23, 2021 at 12:26 pm
Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer Picture
3.3
Family
2.7
Small/Home Office
1.1
Student
2.0
Black & White
5.2
Photo
Type Portable
Technology Inkless
Wireless Yes
Color Yes
SuperTank
No

The Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer is a compact printer that doesn't require any ink cartridges. Instead, it uses ZINK photo paper sheets which already have the necessary colors within the paper itself, and rely on heating elements within the printer to expose the final print. They're also water-resistant, smudge-proof, and have an adhesive backing, so prints work great as decorations or in a collage. Unfortunately, there aren't any scanning features, and you can only print from iOS or Android devices. It's only compatible with 2" x 3" photo sheets, so it's best used as a casual printer. It also produces poor-quality photos with lots of banding and red pixelation, and it can't produce smooth gradients between colors.

Our Verdict

3.3 Family

The Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer is a poor printer for family use. While it's primarily meant for use as a compact photo printer, it prints poor-quality photos that aren't suitable for detailed family photos or professional-grade graduation portraits. It doesn't have any scanning features, and you can only use Android or iOS devices to print using the dedicated Canon Mini Print app.

Pros
  • Extremely compact and easy to bring around.
  • No moving parts or consumables to worry about.
Cons
  • Poor-quality photos with lost details and red pixelation.
  • Lots of banding within color gradients.
  • Can only print via iOS or Android devices using the dedicated app.
  • No scanning features.
2.7 Small/Home Office

The Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer isn't designed for small or home office use. It's limited to ten 2" x 3"–format sheets at a time, requires calibration for each new refill pack, and takes almost a minute to finish printing a single sheet. There aren't any scanning features, and you can only print photo files through the dedicated app using Bluetooth on an iOS or Android device.

Pros
Cons
  • No scanning features.
  • Very slow to print overall.
  • 2" x 3" ZINK photo paper unsuitable for documents.
1.1 Student

The Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer is awful for student use, although it works well for recreation, like when casually printing out snaps with friends. Unfortunately, it's slow to print, it doesn't have a scanner, and you can't directly print most commonly used files other than photos.

Pros
  • Extremely compact and easy to bring around.
  • No moving parts or consumables to worry about.
Cons
  • Can only print via iOS or Android devices using the dedicated app.
  • No scanning features.
  • Very slow to print overall.
  • 2" x 3" ZINK photo paper unsuitable for documents.
2.0 Black & White

The Canon IVY Mini isn't designed to print black & white sheets. Its 2" x 3"–format ZINK photo paper sheets don't have any dedicated black ink, so it can't print pure, deep blacks to begin with. It takes a long time to print a page, it doesn't have any scanning features, and you can only print using an iOS or Android device using the dedicated app.

Pros
Cons
  • No scanning features.
  • Very slow to print overall.
  • 2" x 3" ZINK photo paper unsuitable for documents.
5.2 Photo

The Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer performs poorly overall as a photo printer. Since the sheets are so small, it loses fine details that would be present on larger prints. There's also lots of banding in gradients and transitions between colors, as well as red pixelation most visible in darker areas. Colors are passably accurate, but the tone could make faces look off. However, it's designed to be a portable printer for recreation, so it's great for printing casual snapshots while on the go.

Pros
  • Extremely compact and easy to bring around.
  • No moving parts or consumables to worry about.
Cons
  • Poor-quality photos with lost details and red pixelation.
  • Lots of banding within color gradients.
  • Can only print via iOS or Android devices using the dedicated app.
  • Compatible only with 2" x 3" ZINK sheets.
  • 3.3 Family
  • 2.7 Small/Home Office
  • 1.1 Student
  • 2.0 Black & White
  • 5.2 Photo
  1. Updated May 27, 2022: We changed the Drum Unit result from 'None' to 'No Drum Unit' to be consistent with our other reviews.
  2. Updated Feb 23, 2022: Fixed issues with displaying the correct color page yield and cost-per-print values.
  3. Updated Feb 14, 2022: Retested the Color Accuracy test.
  4. Updated Dec 23, 2021: Review published.
  5. Updated Dec 21, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Canon IVY Mini has decent build quality. You can easily access the paper tray by taking the top cover off. Unfortunately, the output tray is exposed, so it's easy for dirt to get inside if you're bringing it around with you. Additionally, the plastic feels a bit cheap and bends when you apply pressure.

Design
Dimensions
Height 0.7" (1.9 cm)
Width 3.2" (8.2 cm)
Depth 4.6" (11.8 cm)
Height When In Use
0.7" (1.9 cm)
Width When In Use
3.2" (8.2 cm)
Depth When In Use
4.6" (11.8 cm)
Weight
0.4 lbs (0.2 kg)

The Canon IVY Mobile Mini Photo Printer is extremely compact. You can easily slip it into your purse or even stow it in your pocket.

8.0
Design
Expected Maintenance
Ink Related Maintenance
Not Needed
Drum Unit
No Drum Unit

The Canon IVY doesn't require any traditional print maintenance, like cleaning out printheads or replacing drum units. Instead, every time you replace the pack of ZINK sheets, you need to use the included blue SMART SHEET to recalibrate the printer for use with each new pack. That said, it's very easy to open the lid and fill the printer with paper. Since the sheet roller is also in the paper tray, you can easily clean it.

0
Design
Display Screen
Display Screen No
Display Screen Size
N/A
Touchscreen No

The Canon IVY Mini has an LED light that indicates whenever it's powered on. It turns red when the battery runs low, but the only way to check the exact level is by using the mobile companion app.

9.2
Design
Cartridge
Photo Cartridge
No
Number Of Color Cartridges
N/A
Black Cartridge Model
No Cartridges
Tested Black Page Yield
N/A
Estimated Black Page Yield
N/A
Color Cartridge Model
No Cartridges
Tested Color Page Yield
50 prints
Estimated Color Page Yield
50 prints
Third Party Cartridge
No Cartridges
Ink Type
No Ink
High Yield Cartridge
No Cartridge

Update 02/22/2022: Initially, the 'Tested/Estimated Color Page Yield' results were empty. Values have since been added that express more realistic "page yields", which denote the largest pack of ZINK photo paper you can buy.

The Canon IVY Mini uses special water-resistant, smudge-proof, adhesive-backed ZINK photo paper sheets, which don't require any ink or toner to print. Instead, each color of ink already exists within the paper itself, sandwiched in its own layer separate from the other colors. The colors themselves are dye crystals that become visible when exposed to different intensities of heat for different lengths of time and can be exposed independently of the other colors. It gives the printer fine control over mixing the cyan, magenta, and yellow color layers to obtain the desired color. The print head on the printer itself contains the heating elements necessary to expose each color.

You can get regular ZINK photo sheets in packs of 20 or 50. The special, pre-cut circle sticker paper is available in packs of 20.

0
Design
Scanner Features
Scanner
No
Scan Flatbed
No
Flatbed Extendable Hinges
N/A
Automatic Document Feeder
No
ADF Capacity
N/A
Scan Speed
N/A
Duplex Scanning
No
Flatbed Scan Size
N/A
Fax
No
Copy
No
OCR Included
No Scanner
0
Design
Scanning Resolution And Color Depth
Max Scan Resolution
N/A
Max Scan Color Depth
N/A
Design
Printing Size
Letter (8.5" x 11") No
Legal (8.5" x 14") No
Tabloid (11" x 17") No
A6 (105mm x 148mm) No
A5 (148mm x 210mm) No
A4 (210mm x 297mm) No
Photo (2" x 3") Yes
Photo (4" x 6") No
Photo (5" x 7") No
Photo (8" x 10") No
Max Paper Weight
N/A

The Canon IVY printer only accepts 2" x 3"–format Canon ZINK photo paper. There's no other way to get it to print wider or longer sheets. In addition, the paper itself has strict storage temperature requirements due to the ZINK technology it uses — between 1–25°C (34–77°F) — so you need to be careful where you put spare sheets. You can also get special pre-cut circle sticker packs you can peel and paste. If you want a model that prints 4" x 6" photos, check out the Liene Amber M100.

Design
In The Box

  • Quick start guide
  • USB-A to Micro USB charging cable
  • 1 pack of Canon ZINK photo paper:
    • 10 sheets Canon ZINK photo paper
    • 1 blue SMART SHEET for calibration

Design
Battery
Advertised Battery Life
~20 prints
Tested Charging Time
75 min

Canon advertises that the IVY's battery lasts long enough to print two packs of ZINK photo sheets, although your mileage may vary depending on the types of photos you print. It takes a while to charge, but fortunately, you can continue printing while it charges.

Document
7.1
Document
Cost-Per-Print
Black Cartridge Price
0 US$
Color Cartridge Price
0 US$
Black Only Printing
N/A
Color Printing
N/A
Photo Printing
0.500 US$/print
Ink Subscription
No

Update 02/22/2022: Initially, the website wouldn't let the 'Black Only Printing' result be empty, so the value in there was incorrect. The issue has since been fixed, so the results accurately reflect the printer's cost-per-print.

The Canon IVY printer is designed to print photos. Because of its unique printing technology, every single print, whether a photo or document, costs $0.50 USD, as that's the price of each ZINK sheet. To get the most out of each print, we recommend you only use it to print photos since doing so exposes the greatest amount and variety of ink in each sheet. Additionally, it's cheaper to print photos than some inkjet printers.

1.3
Document
Printing Speed
Black Only Text Document
N/A
Color Document
N/A
Photo Printing Time
55.0 s
Single Page Out Time (Black Only)
N/A
Duplex Printing
No
Input Tray Capacity
10 pages

The Canon IVY can print photos at a good speed. However, it isn't designed to print anything else. You can add photos to a queue, so you don't have to wait to manually print each one, and its input tray supports up to ten sheets at a time. However, you still need to insert the included blue SMART SHEET to calibrate the printer for each new pack, which takes a few seconds to print before the printer can produce a photo.

Document
Document Sample
Color Ink Needed for Black & White
No

The Canon IVY photo printer isn't designed to print documents since it only accepts small, 2" x 3" glossy photo sheets. You might be able to print some sheets of text, but you won't be able to fit very much on them since the print resolution is low (314 x 400 DPI).

Photo
4.5
Photo
Photo Printing Quality
Borderless Printing
Yes

The Canon IVY Mini is a dedicated compact photo printer, but it prints poor-quality photos, especially compared to typical color inkjet units. Because it only accepts 2" x 3"–format sheets, it loses many fine details that would otherwise be present on larger photo prints. There's lots of banding present, as well as red pixelation that's particularly visible in darker sections of images. Also, the tone of colors is off, which could make faces look off.

However, if you enjoy making casual prints, especially while on the go, or enjoy a certain visual style and don't expect printed snaps to have the highest visual fidelity, then the above might not matter to you very much. If you want a similar instant photo printer with much better quality, check out the Canon SELPHY Square QX10.

6.1
Photo
Color Accuracy
Average Color dE
8.08

Update 02/11/2022: Since the color squares are very small, the color scanner struggled to get a proper accuracy reading. The photo was divided and reprinted as four photos so that each square would be much bigger. The review has been updated to reflect the results of the second test.

The Canon IVY produces acceptably accurate colors. It's fine for everyday use, but most colors look a bit off from the originals. However, it isn't good enough for professional-grade prints that require precise color reproduction.

4.5
Photo
Color Gamut

The Canon IVY has a poor color gamut. It has a hard time producing very light colors, which end up looking too dark, while dark colors look practically black. It also can't print very bright colors, which end up looking dull. Additionally, there's a lot of banding in gradients and transitions between different colors.

Mobile App And Connectivity
1.0
Mobile App And Connectivity
Connectivity
Ethernet
No
USB Input To Computer
No
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi via Router
No
Wi-Fi Direct
No
External Storage Support
No
Apple AirPrint
No
Mopria Print Service
No

The Canon IVY printer uses Bluetooth to connect to iOS and Android devices that support the Canon Mini Print app. There isn't any other way to connect to the printer to print, as you only use the Micro USB port to charge.

4.7
Mobile App And Connectivity
Mobile App
Mobile App Yes
App Name Canon Mini Print
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Photo (JPEG, PNG)
Android and iOS
PDF
No
Microsoft Office Files
No
Text Files (TXT)
No
Webpages (HTML)
No

The Canon IVY Mini Printer is compatible with the Canon Mini Print app on Android and iOS. You can use it to print from saved photos on your phone, take a photo to print right away, create a photo collage, and add photos to the print queue. You can also select the "Pre-Cut Sticker" option, which lets you print photos compatible with ZINK paper sheets that have a pre-cut circle sticker. You can also use the app to check the printer's battery level and update its firmware.

Mobile App And Connectivity
OS Compatibility
Windows No
macOS No
Chrome OS No

The Canon IVY printer is only compatible with smartphones and tablets running iOS 9.0 and up or Android 4.4 or later. You can't print on Windows, macOS, or Chrome OS, and if you try to search for the Canon Mini Print app on the Google Play Store on Chrome OS, it says the device isn't compatible with the app.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Canon IVY in the Rose Gold trim. It's also available in Mint Green and Slate Gray trims. You can see our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Printers

The Canon IVY is a compact photo printer that's much smaller than the already-compact Canon PIXMA TR150 or HP DeskJet 3755. It doesn't have any moving parts or ink cartridges, as all the colors are already within the 2" x 3" ZINK photo sheets, and it's great for printing casual photos for on-the-go recreational use. Although it's designed to print photos, prints only have poor quality and don't compare to photos produced even by regular color inkjets.

For more options, check out our recommendations for the best photo printers, the best cheap printers, and the best Canon printers.

Epson EcoTank ET-2760

The Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer is a compact, battery-powered photo printer for casual photo printing, while the Epson EcoTank ET-2760 is a supertank printer that's great for families or students. On paper, the Canon performs worse in almost every way, but it prints 2" x 3" photos in under a minute using special water-resistant, adhesive-backed paper and is great if you only need to print from your mobile device. On the other hand, the Epson has incredible page yields, an exceptionally low cost-per-print, a flatbed scanner, and great connectivity options that make it better suited for general, all-purpose use.

Liene Amber M100

The Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer and the Liene Amber M100 both use heat to print their images. The Canon uses ZINK paper that contains dye crystals within it, meaning colors show up when the crystals are exposed to different heat intensities. While you don't need to worry about a cartridge, the colors look much darker than they're supposed to. The Canon has a battery, so it's easier to carry around than the Liene that uses a power cord. On the other hand, the Liene prints nicer-looking photos with much more accurate colors. It prints larger 4" x 6" photos instead of 2" x 3" photos like the Canon.

Canon SELPHY Square QX10

The Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer and the Canon SELPHY Square QX10 are both instant photo printers. The IVY uses ZINK sheets, which contain dye crystals that become visible when exposed to different heat intensities. While you only need to worry about refilling the paper, its colors and photos are much darker and bluer than they should be. On the other hand, the SELPHY has a cartridge with dye transfer films for each color that transfer to the photo sheet once heat is applied. It has much more detailed photos, and its colors look much more vibrant and accurate.

Canon PIXMA TR8620

The Canon PIXMA TR8620 is a color inkjet printer that produces excellent-quality photos, while the Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer is a compact, battery-powered model that can print casual photos on the go. The PIXMA performs better as a traditional printer, as it has a far superior cost-per-print, prints significantly better-detailed, vibrant photos with much more accurate colors, and has an outstanding variety of connectivity options, including direct printing from SD cards. On the other hand, the IVY is a better option if you want a printer that can quickly and easily print casual 2" x 3" photos from a mobile device while on the go.

HP ENVY Photo 7855

The Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer is a compact, battery-powered photo printer suited for printing casual photos on the go, while the HP ENVY Photo 7855 is a traditional inkjet printer that's decent for family use and is alright for printing photos. The HP prints significantly better-quality photos with high contrast, its cost-per-print is lower, it has a flatbed scanner and automatic document feeder, and it has far more connectivity options. On the other hand, the Canon is a better option if you only need to casually print 2" x 3" photos from your mobile device.

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300

The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 is a professional-grade photo printer with a 10-cartridge system, while the Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer is a compact, battery-powered photo printer that easily produces casual prints from your smartphone. The imagePROGRAF is far superior for photo printing, as it produces superbly detailed photos with no banding, amazingly accurate colors, and an outstanding color gamut. Also, it has significantly more connectivity options. On the other hand, the IVY performs much worse on paper, but the quality of its 2" x 3" prints and its method of use might appeal to people who want a simple-to-use photo printer that you can bring along on the go.

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