Compared with the Canon PIXMA mini 260, which is also a portable postcard printer, the CP720 is half the size and less than half the weight. However, once you add the paper tray and leave enough room for the paper to exit and re-enter the back of the printer, the CP720's footprint is actually larger that the mini 260's.

The exit and re-entry slots are needed because the CP720 is a dye-sub printer rather than an inkjet. The special paper needs to pass through the printer four times in total. During the first three passes, different colours of dye are fused on to the paper and the fourth pass adds a highly effective glossy, protective sealant. Even with all this 'to-ing and fro-ing' going on, 10x15cm prints take only one minute flat to produce.

The CP720's standalone image enhancements aren't anything like as sophisticated as those built in to the PIXMA but you do still get a 1.5-inch LCD, which makes printing from flash memory cards a doddle, using the built-in multi-format card reader. As you'd expect, there's also PictBridge support for compatible cameras and a handy pull-out mini-USB cable for direct connection to your camera.

For high-contrast, vividly coloured shots, the image quality of the CP720 wasn't quite as good as the PIXMA. Dye-sub printers make durable prints but not as vibrant ones as an inkjet.

For instance, with skin tones the dye-sub produces rather greyish, lifeless colours which were far less flattering than the PIXMA's 10x15cm print. The cost is also slightly higher at 33p per print. On balance, the Selphy CP720 would definitely be our second choice of the two.