Print quality is very good with natural and accurate colours printed without dots. The dye sublimation technique means ink is transferred as a vapour from the backing film to the paper, so you get a ‘continuous tone’ print, very similar to a classic, silver halide photograph.
The printer lays three different colours onto the paper: yellow, magenta and cyan in that order, and then it lays a clear transparent layer over the top to protect the printer from light and ozone attack. The cover layer also gives the print an attractive, glossy coating. Even with only three-colour prints, black is well reproduced.
The print film is divided into strips of each colour, just long enough to print a complete 6 by 4 print, so you always know exactly how many prints you will get from a given ribbon. In Samsung’s case, this is 40.
As with most dye sublimation printers, working out the costs of printing is very simple. Samsung supplies packs containing both ink ribbons and 6 by 4-inch photo blanks in either 40-print or 120-print versions. Not surprisingly you get better economy from the 120-print pack and using this to calculate print costs gives 27p per photo. This is marginally better than Canon’s cost and compares well with typical inkjet prices.
Samsung only provides a 10-print ‘starter’ pack with the SPP-2040. It’s worth saying we see no reason why somebody investing in a brand new printer shouldn’t be given standard consumables. Samsung is not alone in this practice, but more and more printer companies are shaving costs by forcing purchasers to go out and buy extra consumables, almost as soon as buying a printer.
We could only find one online source, Disking, currently selling the SPP-2040, and it appears to be selling the printer for eight pounds over the recommended retail price. This will presumably change, once the machine is more widely available. Running costs are slightly cheaper than the Canon Selphy CP-500 and the Samsung machine is more flexible, with its memory card readers and colour display. However, it’s also twice the price, so for a simple set-up, you might want to consider its smaller Samsung sibling, the SPP-2020, at around £110… or the Selphy.