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Silhouette Portrait 2 Review

Before you read our Portrait 2 review, please note:

This is an archived review.

Originally published after the launch of the Portrait 2, this machine has now been surpassed by the Silhouette Portrait 3 — which you can read all about in our review here.

Whilst the 2nd generation Portrait is still a useful small cutter, it has been improved in nearly every way by the updated Portrait 3 model. You may still be able to pick up the original in local stores, or used on eBay. But for the best cutting technology from Silhouette, head on over to our Portrait 3 review or our most recent analysis of the best vinyl cutters.

We have kept our original write-up of the Portrait 2 below, but please note that a lot has changed since the time of its initial release!

The Portrait 2 is Silhouette’s compact and cheap craft cutting machine.

It was released towards the end of 2017 and has proved popular with Silhouette fans across the world (available to buy on Amazon or Swing Design).

It’s a huge improvement on the original Silhouette Portrait and combines elements of the more sophisticated Cameo 3. In terms of competitors, it could be compared to the Cricut Joy — although as a more recent release, we’d say that the Joy is the better buy right now.

Silhouette Portrait 2 Review


  • Bluetooth compatible
  • AutoBlade technology for automatically calibrated material settings
  • Compatible with Deep Cut Blade and PixScan
  • 2mm clearance
  • Can cut 100+ materials
  • Max cutting width 8″

The Deep Dive

The Positives
It's a HUGE upgrade on the original Portrait

If you’re a fan of the original Portrait, we know that you’re going to love this second edition.

Essentially, Silhouette have taken some of the best functionality from the Cameo 3 and repackaged it into the cheaper, lighter and smaller framework of the Portrait.

We’ve already covered the brand new features of the Portrait 2, but basically you can expect such things as the AutoBlade, Bluetooth compatibility, PixScan compatibility and a nice 2mm clearance.

While it’s more expensive than the original Portrait, this is definitely the superior machine.

Good, Precision Cutting

While we wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is the most precise and accurate desktop cutter on the market (our top marks go to the Cricut Explore Air 2 for that honor), the Portrait 2 is more than capable of tackling simple and more elaborate designs.

Silhouette claim that the machine is able to work with over 100 different materials and, while we haven’t tried them all, we found it to perform well on everything we tried — particularly paper, cardstock, vinyl and magnet paper.

The new AutoBlade compatibility is certainly a real pro — it will automatically calibrate its settings to the material you’re using, taking any guesswork out of the equation.

Plus, with a bumped up 2mm clearance, the Portrait 2 is theoretically able to handle thicker and heavier materials than the original machine ever could.

Handles Designs up to 10 Feet Long

The maximum cutting width for the Portrait is 8 inches, which is a little restrictive, but we do love the fact that it is capable of a maximum cutting length of 10 feet.

That’s truly remarkable for such a small machine — and it puts the Cricut machines to shame considering they’re only able to go up to 24 inches.

Excellent Portability

One of our favorite aspects of the original Portrait was the fact that it was the perfect machine to take with your on your travels.

Small and light, this can easily fit into hand luggage or even your handbag — and this is even more true for the Portrait 2.

It weighs in at just under 6 pounds and is only 12 inches wide.

Plus, the fact that it’s now Bluetooth compatible means that you don’t need to set up a huge wired operation to start work — you can design and port your creations across to the machine totally wirelessly.

The Negatives
No Dual Carriage

One area where we think Silhouette missed an opportunity was not including a dual carriage on the Portrait 2, allowing you to write and cut, write and score or score and cut at the same time.

While this would have made the unit a little heavier, without it it’s missing some excellent functionality, and a real time-saving feature.

Only a Little Cheaper than the Cameo

Our major bug bear with the Portrait 2 is the price. Not that it’s too expensive — we actually think it represents fair value for money considering what you get.

But it’s only marginally cheaper than the Cameo. And when you’re spending this much money on a machine like this, why not spend a little extra to get additional functionality, more cutting space and a more powerful machine?

As such, we’re not really sure who the Portrait 2 is for.

When the original Portrait came out, it was priced low enough to be a perfect fit for beginners and those on a strict budget. This second edition is almost a little too flashy for that audience now — and certainly more expensive.

We honestly think the Portrait 2 is a great machine — and definitely a step up from the original — but we also think that the Cameo is better. And, if your budget is flexible, we’d recommend the Cameo over this one.

Portrait 2 Details

Silhouette announced the imminent launch of the Portrait 2 at their annual meeting back in May 2017.

You might remember reading the Silhouette School announcement just after the fact.

They really started ramping up the anticipation in early October, where they released the machine for pre-ordering on their website and it finally shipped on November 10th.

Plus, they gave us a sneak peek with this launch video:

How cool does that llama party look?!

Owners of the original Portrait will see that not much changed looks wise — it’s perhaps a little sleeker and chicer.

But the fundamentals are the same — this is a smaller, cheaper version of the Cameo. A perfect choice for beginner craft cutters or people on a budget.

Silhouette describe it as their “most compact DIY machine” — if you’re looking for something portable and great for smaller projects, this could well be the machine for you.

What's in the Box?

When you order the Portrait 2, you’ll receive the following inside the delivered package:

  • Silhouette Portrait 2 electronic cutting machine
  • Silhouette Studio software
  • 50 exclusive cuttable designs
  • Power cable
  • USB cable
  • 8-inch cutting mat
  • Autoblade
  • 1 month free subscription to Silhouette Design Store
  • Bluetooth adapter

silhouette cameo 3 vs portrait 2

Silhouette Portrait 2 Features

While it may look very similar to the original Portrait, it won’t take you long to realise that this is a definite step-up.

Sure, it’s not on quite the same level as the Cameo 3, but it’s got a whole host of new features that puts it as the perfect compromise between the compact Portrait and the high-tech Cameo.

Plus, it’s hard to argue with that price point.

Here are the major features that we’re most excited about.

Bluetooth Compatible

One of our favorite things about the Cameo 3 is that we don’t need to plug it into our laptop in order to use it.

The Bluetooth compatibility ensures that you can design in Silhouette Studio — or whatever your chosen software is — from the comfort of your sofa, on your smartphone or tablet, and then easily send your design wirelessly to your machine.

Happily, the Portrait 2 now sports the same technology.

No more getting your wires tangled!


Another thing we love about the Cameo 3 is the intuitive AutoBlade.

The AutoBlade is able to automatically calibrate itself to the correct settings for whatever material you’re using.

That means no more fiddling about with blade depths and pressure, and hoping for the best!

It’s not only a huge timesaver, but a really sophisticated piece of technology that will immeasurably improve your cutting. Not to mention stop you wasting so much material on bum cuts…

The Portrait 2 is also blessed with the AutoBlade — and this is included when you buy the machine.

portrait vs portrait 2

Also Compatible with the Deep Cut Blade

This blade you’ll have to buy separately, but we know plenty of crafters that will be delighted that the new Portrait is compatible with Silhouette’s much loved Deep Cut Blade.

Suddenly, this will open up a lot more cutting opportunities as you’ll be able to work with much thicker materials than you could previously.

You can buy the Silhouette Deep Cut Blade on Amazon.

Large, 2mm Clearance

Another feature on the Portrait 2 that will enable you to start using thicker materials is the brand new 2mm clearance — the same as on the Cameo 3.

This is a significant improvement on the original Portrait. We only felt comfortable using thin materials like paper, card and vinyl as the machine feels quite delicate and simply doesn’t have the enhanced engineering of a sturdier machine.

But with the Portrait 2, we’re excited to try out materials like craft foam and leather.

PixScan Compatible

Another way that the new Portrait is comparable to the latest Cameo is the fact that you can use PixScan technology to scan and cut your own images.

This bad boy is also equipped with an optical scanner to allow you to create your own custom cuts using the Print & Cut feature.

Is this simply the more compact alternative to the Cameo 3?

silhouette portrait 2 review

Silhouette Cameo 3 vs Portrait 2

We thought it might be helpful to compare the specs of the new machine against the Cameo 3 so you can see which might be better suited to your needs.

 Portrait 2
silhouette portrait 2 review
Cameo 3
cameo 3 vs portrait 2
Max Cutting Width8"12"
Bluetooth Compatible?YesYes
PixScan Compatible?YesYes
Dual Carriage?NoYes

As you can see, the Portrait 2 is essentially a smaller, cheaper version of the Cameo 3 with a little less of the functionality of the more expensive model.

Silhouette Portrait vs Portrait 2

But how do the two Portrait machines measure up against the other?

Should you stick with your original Portrait or upgrade to the new model?

Let’s take a look.

Silhouette Portrait, cheap vinyl cutter 2016
Portrait 2
silhouette portrait 2 review
Max Cutting Width8"8"
Bluetooth Compatible?NoYes
AutoBlade?No Yes
PixScan Compatible?YesYes

The Portrait 2 has plenty more functionality than the original Portrait and is only slightly more expensive.

Overall Verdict

We think the Silhouette Portrait 2 is a great machine that works well, has lots of room for creative freedom, while also being small and light enough to be taken with you on all your travels.

It’s inevitably more expensive than the original Portrait, almost approaching the price tag of the superior Cameo, so we’re not sure that this is the best machine to buy if you’re on a budget or looking for the best Silhouette machine.

The Portrait 2 has never reached the same popularity of the original Portrait, despite it being a demonstrably better cutting machine.

We think this is because of the price — it’s almost as much as the Cameo 4, which is much bigger, more powerful and more versatile — and most customers are likely going to be tempted to spend just a little more to get a lot more with the Cameo.

Having said that, the Portrait 2 can often be found online with some juicy discounts, which we think makes it a great deal.

If you’re looking for a small machine that goes a long way, you could do much worse than the Portrait 2.

Where to Buy the Portrait 2

The Portrait 2 is available to buy direct from Swing Design (an official distributor) or via Amazon.

Check Price on Swing Design Website Check Price on Amazon

Are you tempted to buy the Silhouette Portrait 2?

Got your eyes on another machine instead? Our complete guide to the Best Vinyl Cutters can help you make an informed decision before you buy. There is also our Reviews portal for detailed analysis of the best machines. 🙂

Silhouette Portrait 2 Review

VCM Verdict

A huge upgrade on the original Portrait, the Portrait 2 takes everything you love in the Cameo 3 and repackages it into a smaller, lighter and cheaper package.

However, it is reasonably expensive — almost as much as the Cameo 3, which we think is the better machine.


  • Bluetooth compatible
  • AutoBlade technology
  • Comparable to the Cameo 3 in cutting tech
  • Portable
  • A huge upgrade on the original


  • Somewhat expensive
  • No dual carriage

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