Silhouette Portrait 2
The Silhouette Portrait 2 is known for being tiny and versatile. In fact, some simply refer to it as the smaller brother to the Silhouette Portrait 3. And so if you’re looking for something that can cut over 100 materials and uses PixScan technology despite being tiny (and, therefore, highly portable), the Portrait 2 would probably be worth adding to your shopping list. Let us take a closer look at its key features in the next few paragraphs.
All About The Silhouette Portrait 2
A closer look at this machine reveals that it is a great improvement compared to the Portrait 1. That’s because it packs the latest Cameo 3 technologies among them Bluetooth connectivity and AutoBlade. And despite being feature-packed, it still manages to remain highly portable and light in weight.
In fact, the only downside with its minimalistic size is that it only provides an 8-inch cutting width which can be highly limiting. So, if you’re looking for something you can comfortably use to handle larger materials, this might not be the best choice to settle for.
However, if you’re after a portable machine that’s designed to provide you with good value for money, the Portrait 2 might just be worthy of your attention. In fact, we think that this is a really incredible machine for small craft studios or classrooms.
But as with any other purchase, it always makes perfect sense to want to know what features are available on offer. Are those features worth the money? How futuristic are they? How different are they from the rest of the competition? Well, to answer those and more of your questions, we’d now like to take a closer look at the machine’s key features.
This is one of our favorite features here. In fact, it adds to portability because you don’t need any cables to connect your laptop or phone to use it. Simply activate the Bluetooth and you’ll be able to send your files and have them printed remotely.
What’s more? This feature gives you the freedom to handle your designs in the Silhouette Studio software or any other design software you might be comfortable using. Then once you’re done, you’d simply need to send the artwork to your device for printing with just a few quick clicks.
Yet another benefit of this kind of connectivity, is that it helps you complete the design process from your comfort. You can have everything done even when you’re sitting on a comfortable sofa – in other words, you don’t have to limit your workspace unlike when using power cables instead.
The Autoblade is an intuitive feature that goes a long way in helping you attain the correct settings no matter the kind of material you might be using.
Now, the reason we really like this feature is that it takes the guesswork from the process of determining which material is best for you and why. And as you can imagine, this can be such a timesaver. For newbies, the Autoblade can really help in improving one’s quality of cutting – so no more wasting of time on bum cuts.
The best part is that this blade comes alongside the machine and you, therefore, don’t need to order for it separately or at an additional cost.
What on earth is PixScan? You might be wondering and well, it’s an advanced piece of technology which is patented by Silhouette America.
And the reason we believe that this is such a cool piece of technology is that it actually turns hand-drawn sketches into precise cut jobs.
In our view, this is the only license you need to be bolder and more creative in your line of work. The best part is that you only need a camera or scanner to get the job done. And, therefore, this advanced piece of technology would also be perfect for tasks that involve digitizing stamp collection.
The PixScan technology works in three simple steps.
- Step One: You begin by placing your sketch or art-work on the provided mat.
- Step Two: You capture an image of the material using your smartphone or any other digital camera (or scanner).
- Step Three: Once that’s done, you simply need to import the image into the Silhouette Studio and also add the cut lines.
Can Accommodate Thick Materials
Yet another thing we really loved about the Portrait 2 is that it provides you with a 2mm clearance which enables you to handle thicker materials. This seems like a major milestone that helps overcome a weakness commonly reported by Portrait 1 users.
And for that reason, you can bank on this machine to function effectively on the usual thin materials such as vinyl, card, and paper. At the same time, you can comfortably give it some challenging tasks such as ones involving leather and craft foam.
Once again, this translates into greater convenience and value for money. Ultimately you don’t want to end up stuck with a machine that struggles with any of the sturdier materials. Indeed, the Portrait 2 seems to be a bold and sturdy machine which is built to punch significantly above its weight.
The Cutting Power
The Portrait 2 may struggle due to its limited cutting size but it still seems to excel in most tasks. In fact, it has the potential to cut 10 feet long although its width cutting capacity is limited at 8-inches.
As far as the cutting force is concerned, we genuinely feel that the machine still has some ground to cover since it provides a 210-gram force. So, it clearly would struggle to cut through some of those resilient materials such as balsa wood.
Yet another thing you need to note about the Portrait 2’s cutting power is that it has the capacity to accommodate different kinds of blades. Typically, it is the AutoBlade that the machine comes with and you’d, therefore, need to order the others separately if you need them.
Deep Cut Blade: This blade gives you the freedom to attend to materials that might be up to 2mm thick. As such, this is your go-to machine when dealing with thicker materials such as craft foam and leather.
The Standard Blade: Also known as the ratchet blade, this was the most common type of blade before the AutoBlade took over. And don’t let its name fool you, it actually is made from Carbide meaning that it’s quite long-lasting. All the other blades are made from Sintered Tungsten Alloy.
The Fabric Blade: Although this one is almost similar to the Standard blade, it is specifically meant to handling fabric. And, therefore, if your cutting tasks involve lots of fabric, this would be your best bet especially if you want something that lasts longer.
Drawing works in pretty much the same way cutting does expect that instead of a sketch, you instead get a cut. So, in place of a blade, you use a pen. This feature can come in handy especially when you’re faced with tasks such as ones involving creating drawings or preparing wedding invitations with a personal touch.
One thing we really like with the Silhouette Portrait 2 is that it provides you with two ways to sketch. One way is by purchasing the Sketch Pen Starter Kit from Silhouette. The second option is by purchasing a Pen Holder from the same company.
Please keep in mind that the Sketch Pen Starter Kit provides you with 24 colored pens. And to use those pens, you simply need to swap out the blade and also insert the correct pen. As you can imagine, this is a rather simple and straightforward process.
The Built-In Software
Just like all other machines from Silhouette, this one comes fully equipped with the Studio Designer software. And unlike the kind of software provided on the competing Cricut machines, this one doesn’t require the internet to function.
Yet another thing we liked about this software is that it is relatively straightforward to use. You may need a few days to get comfortable using it, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that it’s actually highly flexible.
Also, if you’re planning to build your image designs right from scratch, this software would go a long way in helping you deliver some decent results.
The basic tier of this software is available entirely free of charge. However, if you’re looking for some of the advanced features e.g. SVG files, layers, advanced eraser & knife features etc, you’d need to pay for an upgrade.
And in that case, you’d have to tiers to choose from namely the Designer Edition tier which goes for $50 and the Business Edition that retails for $100.
- This machine is tiny but powerful
- Easy to pack up, store and/or transport
- You can always use the AutoBlade for the features to be adjusted automatically
- You don’t need the internet to use the Silhouette design software
- The machine is Bluetooth compatible meaning it cuts wirelessly
- Easy-to-use software
- It has a limited cutting width
- Limited cutting force of 210 grams
- You have to pay up to access the advanced design software features
Whichever way you look at it, the Silhouette Portrait 2 seems like a well-built machine. It may not be the most powerful electronic die cutter on the market but it certainly has its share of unique benefits.