Before you read our Portrait 2 review, please note:
The Portrait 2 is Silhouette’s compact and cheap craft cutting machine.
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
The Deep Dive
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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||Cameo 3 |
|Max Cutting Width||8"||12"|
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.
|Portrait||Portrait 2 |
|Max Cutting Width||8"||8"|
The Portrait 2 has plenty more functionality than the original Portrait and is only slightly more expensive.
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.
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
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
- A huge upgrade on the original
- Somewhat expensive
- No dual carriage