The carrying handle on this tiny dye sublimation printer is quite unnecessary as the bare unit only weighs 1.2kg. However, the sticky-out paper tray and external power brick do rather detract from the slick appearance.

The printer actually measures 316mm deep with the paper tray installed and you have to allow space behind the printer for the paper to move back and forth.

On the supplied CD you'll find the printer driver and Picture Motion Browser (aka the Sony Picture Utility), which is photo album software that arranges your pictures in a calendar layout based on 'date taken'. It's not much help and is no better than Google's Picasa.

If you want to print photos from a memory card you have to first disconnect the USB cable. Insert the card and the pictures pop up on the 3.6 inch TFT screen immediately.

Navigate to the photo you want and you have the choice of using the Auto Touch Up function which worked very smoothly and efficiently on red-eye, but didn't have any effect on an image that was washed out and over-exposed. After that you hit the Print button. It's as easy as that.

It's clear to us that the Sony works better as a standalone printer with a PictBridge camera or memory cards than it does when connected to your laptop, as the USB 1.1 interface is relatively slow and the Sony software is rather poor. You're well advised to choose the DPP-FP90 with its larger screen over the DPP-FP70 with its 2.5 inch TFT at £119.

The other aspect of cost relates to the Sony media packs which include 40 postcards and one film cartridge. A single pack costs a scary 37.5p per photo, while a double or triple pack costs 25p per photo.

Print times are decent at 52 seconds; however, print quality lacks the fine degree of sharpness and clarity that we would want.