There are two commercial ways of printing high-quality photographs directly from your digital cameras. You can spray tiny drops of coloured ink at the paper, as inkjets do, or you can heat tiny dots of wax until they transfer from a coated sheet, as dye sublimation does. The PrintEasy 110 is Sagem’s take on dye sublimation and claims to offer high print quality at low cost.
Although small, the PrintEasy 110 is a chunky little unit, coloured in cream and chalky blue, with a round, green button on top, three sockets on the side and a flap which folds down from the front to take the paper cartridge. This cartridge can be filled with up to 25 sheets of glossy photo paper, designed as postcards with small perforated strips at either end, which can be torn off once the print is complete.
A release lever on the right-hand side enables you to hinge the top cover up and reveal the two dye film rolls, typical of this type of dye sublimation printer. We've previously looked at similar machines from Canon and Samsung, but at £70, the PrintEasy is substantially cheaper than either. The Samsung machine is close to £200.
To install the two dye-sub film rollers, you lift the top cover and clip them into holders front and back. This is quite a delicate process and it would be easier if the printer used a self-contained cartridge, like others of its type. You only need to do this once every 75 prints, though, so it's not too taxing.
Paper feeds from a cartridge which slides in at the front, effectively doubling the footprint of the printer, and makes four passes through the machine, as it picks up yellow, magenta and cyan dye and finally a transparent covering layer which protects the image.
At the side is a low voltage input for the black block power supply, a USB 2.0 port for connecting the printer to a PC and a PictBridge socket for linking it to a camera. This socket also doubles as a connection for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi cards - both are available as options.
The PC software supplied with the printer, known as Companion Print, includes the necessary printer driver and is a very simple affair, enabling the print of images up to 15 x 10cm, borderless.
Sagem claims that you can get a print out of this machine in 60 seconds. We couldn't match this time, either printing from a PC or direct from a PictBridge camera, but at 68 seconds for the former and 66 seconds for the latter, it wasn't far off. It's certainly a lot quicker than an equivalent ink-jet print.