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Anycubic Photon S Review: Is It Right for You?

Our Anycubic Photon S review is going to show you everything you need to know about this budget-friendly 3D printer.

While the original Photon is very popular, we will explore if the Photon S offers enough for you to upgrade.

We will look at the core features of the Anycubic Photon S, its pros and cons, and also if there are any alternatives you should consider. In the end, we will discover if the Photon S is really worth the money.

Table of Contents

Key Specifications of Anycubic Photon S

Printer typeResin
Build volume115mm x 65mm x 165mm
Overall dimensions230 x 200 x 400 mm
ConnectivityUSB
SoftwarePhoton Workshop
Print speed20mm/h
Warranty12 months (3 months for LCD screen)
Latest priceClick here for the latest price

Core features of Anycubic Photon S

The Anycubic Photon S might not be the most expensive 3D printer on the market; however, it comes packed with many great features.

Print quality

Even though the Anycubic Photon S is firmly in the affordable category for 3D printers, it still offers high-quality prints.

This is a resin printer, so the quality of the print layers is higher than its FDM counterparts. In addition, it is compatible with 405 nm photosensitive resins, which gives you a good amount of choice.

The quality of the prints is great with the Photon S.

For the price, you aren’t going to find much better on the market. Many 3D printers that cost a similar amount of money don’t offer anywhere near the print quality of the Photon S. Even though it isn’t perfect, for what you pay, the quality to cost ratio is fantastic.

The build volume is decent at 115mm x 65mm x 165mm, and this is just the right size for printing objects such as miniatures.

Ease of use

This is perhaps the most significant overall feature of the Anycubic Photon S – it is perfect for beginners.

Much of this comes down to the LCD screen that makes 3D printing a lot more straightforward. If you are completely new to 3D printing or have little experience, the Photon S is a safe bet as the workflow isn’t complicated. It doesn’t take a genius to work out how to use this printer, and you can start printing high-quality 3D objects in no time.

The printer comes with easy-to-use plug-and-play software. Photon Workshop, the software you get with the printer, is easy to manage and operate for beginners, but you’ll probably want to upgrade to more advanced slicer software as time goes on.

Assembly

Another good thing about the Photon S is the lack of assembly that is required to get this 3D printer up and running.

It won’t take you a long time to get this 3D printer assembled, and if you are looking for an easy way to get started with 3D printing, this printer is definitely worth your consideration.

Compared to some other 3D printers on the market, the Photon S can be unboxed and ready to start 3D printing in no time.

Connectivity

We should say straight away that there is no WiFi connectivity with the Photon S. The connectivity options are limited to a USB port.

In some ways, we are pretty disappointed as we have come across 3D printers in a similar price range that does offer WiFi connectivity. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but we would like to have WiFi for the Photon S as it would give it a real edge over the original Photon.

Air Filtration System

The air filtration system on the Photon S is a noticeable upgrade from the original Photon.

3D printing uses various chemicals, and this can result in multiple unpleasant odors emitting from your printer. With the new air filtration system on the Photon S, the majority of unwanted smells are eliminated.

This system doesn’t eliminate the odor completely, but it does an excellent job of cutting it down. As long as you use the Photon S in a well-ventilated room, the odor that comes from 3D printing materials shouldn’t cause much of an issue.

Warranty

You get a 12-month warranty with the Photon S, although the LCD screen only carries a three-month warranty.

There isn’t too much to say about this other than it would be nice to have seen a longer warranty, but we can’t complain a lot. We have come across 3D printers with a shorter warranty period and others with a much longer period. The Photon S is well-built, so it is unlikely you will encounter many problems with its operation.

How does Anycubic Photon S perform

Overall we like the performance of the Photon S.

You have to weigh this 3D printer up with the cost. Is it going to compete with a 3D printer that costs thousands and thousands of dollars? Not really, but it certainly holds its own, especially with its affordable price.

The 3D models that we printed with the Anycubic Photon S are very good, and if your goal is to print miniatures or jewelry, you can do a lot worse than this 3D printer.

The fact that it is designed for resin printing is also a significant advantage. Resin snd curing with UV light offers higher-quality prints and quicker print speeds. So even though at 20mm/h, this isn’t exactly the fastest 3D printer, it isn’t going to take weeks to print off small models either.

Pros of Anycubic Photon S

There is a lot to enjoy about the Anycubic Photon S, and these are the best bits of this 3D printer.

Great for beginners

This 3D printer is aimed at anyone, but it is a great machine to get started on for beginners. You don’t require an intricate or expert knowledge of 3D printing, and if you want to begin creating miniatures, jewelry, or other models, this is the ideal printer to get. Some aftercare is involved with resin printing, but it doesn’t extend beyond wiping down your models with paper towels.

Little assembly required

There aren’t many assemblies needed with the Photon S. You don’t need to fiddle about to get this 3D printer up and running, and while it isn’t quite ’start printing right out of the box, it is close.

Air filtration system

The air filtration system is a new addition to the Photon range and a handy feature of the Photon S.

It helps eliminate unwanted odors that come with the chemicals and material used for 3D printing. You still need to operate the Photon S in a well-ventilated area, and it doesn’t eliminate smells completely, but it cuts down on odors well.

Print quality

The print quality with the Photon S is excellent, and you can print off high-quality models in no time.

It isn’t going to rival many of the high-end 3D printers, but there isn’t much to match it in the budget range. We have found that the models printed with the Photon S to be a lot better than some of its competitors, and when you weigh up quality with the price, you are getting great value for money.

Well-built

The Photon S is a well-built machine.

We would have preferred a slightly better warranty – you get 12-months on the 3D printer and just three months for the LCD screen – but we don’t have many complaints. It is unlikely to run into any problems. It is durable and well-constructed (although there are some issues with the plastic casing), which is ideal for beginners or 3D printing enthusiasts on a budget.

Cons of Anycubic Photon S

There are some things we were disappointed with when we got our hands on the Photon S.

Manual Leveling

Even though this is a beginner-friendly 3D printer, you still need to level the bed manually. This isn’t any different from the original Photon, but it does increase the chances of making mistakes.

Overall, it isn’t particularly complicated to operate, but there is the chance of messing up with the manual bed leveling system. Calibrating the bed and how to do it is clearly laid out in the user manual, and it can be carried out with a piece of paper, but the Z-movement buttons will take some time to get used to.

Isn’t a massive upgrade on the Photon

The Anycubic Photon is still a very good 3D printer, and it isn’t true to say that the Photon S doesn’t have any significant upgrades (air filtration system, for example).

However, it just doesn’t feel like a massive upgrade. The print quality is very much the same, as is the power supply, although we aren’t complaining as the prints are high-quality on both the Photon and Photon S.

The Photon S has a higher print speed (20mm/h compared to 10mm/h) and some other upgrades like the air filtration system, but not as much as we expected.

You can read our full Photon vs. Photon S comparison here.

Software is quite basic.

You get access to Photon Workshop, which is a slicing software when you buy the Photon S.

There isn’t anything wrong with it; it is just a bit basic. For beginners, which this 3D printer is predominately aimed at, this is fine. It allows you to get to grips with 3D printing, but more experienced users will look elsewhere for something a bit more advanced.

Are there any alternatives?

Anycubic Photon

As the saying goes, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” and this does sort of ring true with the original Photon.

As we mentioned above, the Photon S does offer some upgrades that the original Photon doesn’t have, but is it enough for splash out for a new machine? If you are on a particularly tight budget, you can pick up an Anycubic Photon a bit cheaper than a Photon S.

The Photon still offers high-quality prints, although the print speed is about half of the Photon S, so the Photon S offers faster printing. There is a handy LCD screen, and overall the Photon is as easy to use as the Photon S. It does have a very slightly smaller build volume, but it is worth looking at the original if you want to save some money.

If you want to know more about the Anycubic Photon, read our full Anycubic Photon review.

Wanhao D7

The Wanhao D7 is a solid alternative to the Photon S, although it will set you back a couple more hundred bucks.

For the extra money, you do get some great features. This includes a bigger build volume of 120 x 70 x 200mm, and a layer resolution of 35 microns. We do like the quality of prints that the Wanhao D7 offers, and anything we have printed on this 3D printer has been of excellent quality.

Again, you won’t have the option of WiFi connectivity with the D7, although it tends to be a problem with 3D printers in this price range. It doesn’t have its own dedicated software like Anycubic (Wanhao printers used Creation Workshop); however, it works very well.

If you are looking for a slightly bigger build volume, the Wanhao D7 is a good place to look. It isn’t without its faults (including the fact that the website can be challenging to navigate to find what you need), but it is a rival to the Anycubic Photon S.

If you want to find out how the Wanhao D7 and the Anycubic Photon match up, have a look at our Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7 comparison article.

Creality LD-002R LCD Resin 3D Printer

The last alternative to the Anycubic Photon S is the Creality LD-002R LCD Resin 3D Printer.

As an entry-level 3D printer, it is difficult to argue against what the Creality offers. The build volume is good (119 X 65 X 160mm), and the LED screen with touch-sensitive buttons makes printing straightforward.

This is another 3D printer that is very much aimed at beginners and novices. If you haven’t had much experience with DLP printing, the Creality LD-002R is a popular place to start. Not only is it very budget-friendly, but it is easy to use too.

Like the Photon S, this Creality 3D printer has an active carbon air filtering system. This addition helps to cut down on some of the more unpleasant and unwanted smells that the printer emits. Like the Photon S, it won’t eliminate them, but it works very well.

If you want an alternative to the Photon S that is closer in price to the Photon, the Creality LD-002R LCD Resin 3D Printer is one place you should definitely look.

The Creality LD-002R appeared on our list of the best resin 3D printers, which you can find here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is the Anycubic Photon S beginner-friendly?

Answer: Yes. The Anycubic Photon S is made for people who either want to get started with 3D printing and don’t have much experience or are on a very tight budget. It still offers detailed and high-quality prints, but its overall design means it is easy to use and operate.

Question: Does the Anycubic Photon S have WiFi?

Answer: No. The Anycubic Photon S doesn’t have WiFi, instead, it offers USB connectivity.

Question: Does it take long to assembly the Anycubic Photon S?

Answer: No. One of the big advantages of buying the Anycubic Photon S is that it doesn’t take long to assemble it. While it isn’t ‘straight out of the box, there is little assembly required, and you can have it up and running in no time.

Question: Do I get a warranty with the Anycubic Photon S?

Answer: Yes. Anycublc offers a 12-month warranty on the printer; however, you only get a 3-months warranty on the LCD screen.

Question: What is the build volume of the Anycubic Photon S?

Answer: The build volume of the Anycubic Photon S is 115mm x 65mm x 165mm. This isn’t massive, but it is ideal for printing small objects such as miniatures and jewelry.

Question: What is the print speed of the Anycubic Photon S?

Answer: The print speed of the Anycubic Photon S is 20mm/h. There are much faster 3D printers available, but for the price, this is a pretty good speed.

Final thoughts – the Photon S does offer a lot of good features but isn’t quite the upgrade we wanted

When we first got our hands on the Anycubic Photon S, we were expecting a bit more.

It isn’t fair to say that this is a bad 3D printer; it is far from it. The Photon S packs a powerful punch and comes with many features that you often don’t see in other printers in the same price range.

We love how easy it is to use, especially with the LCD screen, and beginners will enjoy getting to grips with this 3D printer. The bed leveling system does have the potential for mistakes, but that is all part of the learning and printing process.

We were just left a bit underwhelmed when compared to the original Photon. There are upgrades (quicker print speeds and the air filtration system), but we aren’t sure if it is enough to replace the original.

If you don’t have a Photon or need a new 3D printer, then we definitely recommend looking at the Photon S. It offers excellent print quality, has minor assembly, and is an all-around excellent budget machine.

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