According to ribbon listings (which are not always reliable), this Canon S-16 portable electronic typewriter (made in Japan, circa 1986) is one in a series of four (S-13, S-14, S-15, S-16) portable electronic typewriters.

(I’ve yet to see an example of an S-13. If such a thing exists, I assume it’s identical to the S-14 but without 15 pitch.)

The S-16 has bells and whistles that the others don’t have.

An LCD display, for example, which, together with a Character mode/Display mode switch, and other display and memory-related keyboard shortcuts, differentiates it from the S-15, which appears to be otherwise identical …

SE-15 (above and below)

Dedicated Left and Right Margin keys, and Tab Set and Clear keys, set the S-16 and S-15 apart from the S-14, which only allows the margins and tabs to be set using a CODE key combination.

The S-16 is also smart enough to automatically raise the ribbon guide (ready for ribbon extraction) whenever you lift the lid. Again, the S-14 only allows the ribbon guide to be raised manually using a CODE key combination.

I know this because I have a Canon-S-14-Instruction-Guide (see PDF link below) but don’t have a guide for this Canon S-16.

A fully-featured, smart, portable electronic typewriter in executive grey. How can you possibly go wrong?

Problem is, the S-16 typewriter has a lot of features you could do without. FOR ONE THING, the bulky power adapter …

Canon S-14 (above)


… which you’re probably going to need because the optional Canon NiCd Battery Pack-30 and charger (both of which I don’t have) are discontinued, and therefore no longer an option.

Likewise, if you don’t have the memory card (I think?) which slots into the front left-hand side of the S-16 is going to be hard to find (should you want one).

And, thanks to that big bulky power adapter, you’ll also need a big bulky case …

Which is a nice case, but when it boils down to it ….

… overkill.

Yep. It’s all too much for a typewriter that’s actually not that pleasant to type on.

The S-16 isn’t a patch on the much simpler, albeit slower (not that you’d notice) Brother AX-10 (I like to think of the latter as the electrical equivalent of a Lettera 32).

In the case of the AX-10 (you don’t need a case for it) there’s no need to raise the ribbon guide in the first place. The ribbon cassette is easily removed and snapped into place.

Furthermore, you can swap the print wheel without having to remove the ribbon cassette at all.

But don’t get me wrong: the Canon S-16’s not all bad. For instance it has a Calculator function.

Press a CODE + C key combination and the typewriter transforms itself into this …

Now that is impressive!