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This article was published on November 22, 2019

Review: The Selpic S1 quick-drying handheld printer made me want to label all the things

You might call it the label-maker 2.0

Review: The Selpic S1 quick-drying handheld printer made me want to label all the things
S1 Printer
Tristan Greene
Story by

Tristan Greene

Editor, Neural by TNW

Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, politics, queer stuff, cannabis, and gaming. Pronouns: He/him Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, politics, queer stuff, cannabis, and gaming. Pronouns: He/him

The Selpic S1 is a bit of a niche gadget. It’s a handheld quick-drying smart printer that works a lot like a label maker. Instead of creating stickers that you can adhere to objects, the S1 prints directly on most surfaces. It’s surprisingly fun and easy to use, but there’s a few pain points to consider before purchasing.

First off, the S1 is a bit of an uproven commodity. As far as we can tell its Selpic’s first product – the company has another, the slightly larger S1+ on Kickstarter right now – but so far, there’s a lot to like. It’s a quality product that appears to have a solid, thoughtful design. It’s not much to look at, but the design is very functional.

Essentially, you grab the printer in one hand and hold the “P” button down as you drag it across whatever surface you intend to print on. This is incredibly intuitive. You move at whatever speed you want and the printer manages to spit out ink perfectly. And, as it’s a “quick-drying” printer, there’s little worry about smudging. The ink dries near instantly and it consistently impressed me with its ability to print smooth, clear text.

It only has a half-inch printing window, so you can only print one line of text per swipe. But there’s no limit on how long that text is, so you can print hundreds of words all in a row and even add your own sentence and paragraph breaks by hand if you’re savvy enough.

You’ll have to use an Android or iOS device in order to print and it requires setting up a local wireless network between your device and the printer. This is a bit of a bummer, it would have been way cooler if Selpic had just put a Bluetooth chip in the printer, but it works well enough.

The app is simple, intuitive, and bloat-free. You can change your text, font, and spacing and generally manipulate your message. When you’re ready to print you tap an icon to send the file to the printer and then you’re good to go. You can print the same message as many times as you like, and it only takes a few seconds to input another message and update the printer. This thing simply could not be easier to use. Honestly, those clicky label-makers that you create plastic sticker-labels with by hand are harder to operate than the Selpic S1.

Another thing I loved about the S1 was its portability. It lasts more than six hours on a single charge and print cartridges last for about 90 pages of text at five percent coverage (according to Selpic). Basically, you can charge the Selpic up and forget it needs power for days or weeks depending on your usage.

At the end of the day, aside from labeling all the things, you’ll have to figure out what exactly you’ll be using this for. Repetitive labeling tasks like addressing fan mail or approving paperwork are probably better served with a rubber stamp, and you can’t use this thing to print a mural on your wall unless you intend to do so using tiny lines of text as your medium.

Don’t get me wrong, you’ll probably find plenty of reasons to use the Selpic S1, and it’s a lot of fun. But the $250 price tag and $80 ink cartridges make it a tough purchase unless you’ve got a gaping hole in your life that only an innovative product such as this can fill or a lot of disposable income.

That being said, I’m a bit of a collector and I’m also a visual brainstormer. This is definitely something I’d buy. I’m the type of person who scribbles notes on random surfaces already anyway. If you can justify the purchase, the quality and user experience make it more than worth it.

I recommend the Selpic S1 to mad scientists, scrapbookers, and other people who often conflate organization and inspiration. It’s super easy to use, does exactly what it’s supposed to, and works perfect every time.

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