Anycubic Photon Zero Vs Photon S Vs Mono SE Vs Mono X – Comparison Review


Anycubic is a game-changer in the field of 3D printing. The Shenzhen-based company has dished out a series of affordable and efficient resin 3D printers, especially the Photon series.

However, with the addition of several top-notch machines, it can get quite overwhelming to decide which one should someone get.

This article will focus on comparing four of the best-selling Photon printers to help you come to a definite buying conclusion. I’ll do my best to highlight the major differences between them and point out the major pros and cons.

The Anycubic Photon Zero, S, Mono SE, and the Mono X are all great printers, but if I am to cherry-pick the best out of the bunch, it’s undoubtedly the Anycubic Mono X with tons of stellar features.

The Photon Mono X has all the qualities one would look for in a resin 3D printer, save for a few minor exceptions. It is also priced accordingly however and is by no means, a budget-friendly machine.

If you still want high quality but at a more reasonable price, the Anycubic Photon Mono SE is the choice for you, which actually has the highest printing speed of all these models.

For the cheapest model which provides fairly good quality but does take a lot longer to 3D print, the Photon Zero is an easy choice.

Right in the middle of all these models, the Photon S is gives you great quality, at a good price, and prints a lot faster than the Photon Zero.

Continue the read as I review each Anycubic printer and then go on to compare their most fundamental aspects. I’m hoping that by the time you reach the end of this article, you’ll have a much better idea of the differences, and know what to get for yourself.

Anycubic Photon Zero Review

The Anycubic Photon Zero is a cheap MSLA 3D printer with many benefits, but with quite a handful of compromises.

I’d like to start off by saying that this resin 3D printer is perhaps perfect if you’re looking for something that won’t break the bank, and will introduce you to the world of resin 3D printing to a fine extent.

There are features to love about it, such as its design and build quality. To my surprise, this is a very sturdy and compact machine that shows how well it has been constructed.

There’s the trademark orange UV-blocking lid, and for a sub $170 price tag, there’s no complaining here. Assembly is also the bare minimum since it comes fully arranged out of the box.

Next, Anycubic decided to go with a linear rail alongside a lead screw for enhanced stability and steady printing through the Z-axis.

While facets like these are great for newcomers and beginners, the Photon Zero takes quite a beating when it comes to print resolution and the quality of the print.

The resin printer uses a 854 x 480 pixel LCD screen that attributes to lower resolution prints. This can also lead to fuzziness when printing highly detailed parts.

That said, Anycubic knew of this lackluster aspect, and thus introduced “Anti-Aliasing Technology” with the Photon Zero that claims to mask low resolution up to 16 times.

While that can get you fairly detailed prints, the resolution is still one of the weakest areas of this resin 3D printer, right alongside a small build volume that measures up to 97 x 54 x 150mm.

At this point, I guess, a few sacrifices are expected from this budget machine. Prints might not be as detailed as you want, but there are higher chances of print success because of the linear rail and lead screw combination.

Moreover, there’s a lid-removal sensor that stops printing automatically when the printer’s lid is out of its place.

To talk about leveling the bed—a crucial part of a 3D printer—the Photon Zero takes away the typical four-screw adjustment and relies on a single grub screw for leveling the bed. Rest assured, the process has now become upright effortless.

Specifications of the Photon Zero

  • Build Volume: 97 x 54 x 150mm
  • Layer Height: 10+ microns
  • XY Resolution: 0.115mm (854 x 480 pixels)
  • Z-axis Positioning Accuracy: 0.01mm
  • Printing Speed: 30mm/h
  • Bed-Leveling: Manual
  • Display: LCD Touchscreen
  • Third-Party Materials: Compatible
  • Materials: 405 nm UV resin
  • Assembly: Fully Assembled

Check the price of the Photon Zero at:

Amazon Anycubic Official Store

Anycubic Photon S Review

The Anycubic Photon S is just like that popular, cool kid in high school whom everyone loves and wants to be friends with. Of course, this is not without a good reason.

For one, the Photon S comes at an affordable price point, especially when you factor in its value for money, number of features, and overall quality.

This resin 3D printer is actually an upgrade over the base model Anycubic Photon that was released back in 2018. Thanks to its overwhelming success, the manufacturer doled out a newer, improved model – the Photon S.

This machine, unlike the Photon Zero, comprises a dual-rail system that says goodbye to wobbling and enhances the printer’s precision. As for the print surface, this hefty upgrade also makes it more stable.

Another difference I observed is the addition of a dual-fan based filtration system. The Photon Zero, on the other hand, has a cooling system where only one fan does its job.

Next is something that literally gives us all the reason to purchase this 3D printer – print quality. The Photon S’s LCD projection-based UV printing packs a 2K resolution (2560 x 1440) screen for sensation quality prints.

To compare this with the Photon Zero, the former only offers a 854 x 480 pixel LCD screen which is simply no competition for the Photon S.

Then, there’s also the advertised “matrix UV lighting” for even distribution of light energy so every print turns out precise and full of details.

Although leveling the bed still remains a manual process, it’s easy, just like the Photon Zero. What’s not like the Photon Zero, however, is the build volume that attributes to 115 x 65 x 165mm – a typical setting for decent resin printers.

There is one thing though, that the Photon Zero just manages to beat the Photon S in. This is the sturdiness of the 3D printer, and many have reported flimsiness about the latter. Zero, on the other hand, is very firmly built.

Of course, not everything is perfect about the Photon S. The printer sports plastic housing, but not many will care for that. You do need to handle this 3D printer with caution, however.

Furthermore, the Photon S is a significant upgrade over the Photon Zero in terms of the power of the LCD system. Zero packs a 30W LCD while the Photon S has a 38W LCD, allowing it to print faster with stunning resolution.

Specifications of the Photon S

  • LCD: 5.2-inch 2K (2560 x 1440)
  • Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 165mm
  • Z-Layer Resolution: 10 microns (recommended)
  • XY Resolution: 47 microns
  • Display: 2.8-inch Touchscreen
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Bed Leveling: Manual
  • Materials: 405 nm resins
  • Printing Speed: 20mm/h
  • Assembly: Fully Assembled

Check the price of the Photon S at:

Amazon Anycubic Official Store

Anycubic Photon Mono SE Review

Having its price point below the Photon S, the Photon Mono is a 2020 release and a remarkable SLA 3D printer that combines good features and great quality prints in equal measure.

It hosts a 6-inch 2K (2560 x 1620) LCD screen which is a bit bigger than the Photon S. Moreover, what’s unique about the LCD system of this resin printer is its monochromatic nature.

It turns out, that a monochrome LCD makes it possible to reduce curing times, ultimately allowing models to be printed quicker than ever.

It’s more proficient than the RGB LCDs slapped on the Photon S and the Photon Zero. The Photon Mono SE takes as low as 1 second to cure standard resins along with boosting print times, as compared to the 10 seconds and over for the printers above.

When you look into the differences in the printing speeds due to exposure times, you’ll hear about the Mono SE 3D printers being 3x faster than the Photon and Photon S, although the Photon S is faster than the Photon.

Another benefit of the monochrome LCD is less power consumption since the UV light doesn’t have to stay on all the time. Additionally, you get a longer life span – one that stretches as far as 2000 hours.

This is a big difference compared to standard LCD screens which are known to last around 600-700 hours of printing, but are at least cheaper to replace.

The Photon Mono SE’s build volume 130 x 78 x 160mm is the biggest on the list so far, beating the Photon Zero with a decent margin, and just barely coming out on top against the Photon S except for the Z axis.

The maximum printing speed of this printer can also a massive 80mm/h, which currently is the fastest printing speed out of any resin 3D printer out on the market as far as I know.

This is yet again thanks to the 2K monochrome LCD screen.

Bed-leveling is still manual, but still easy – something that’s becoming a norm in almost all Anycubic SLA 3D printers.

The machine also arrives fully assembled, just like the previous two printers, so experts and beginners both can have no trouble in the initial setup.

A really cool feature that this 3D printer has is WiFi connectivity through the Anycubic Remote Control App on your phone. You can control  print operations, monitor your print progress, and even adjust your print settings.

What you won’t like about the Mono SE is a lack of air filters so it doesn’t help with absorbing those resin fumes that many complain about.

If you want to get yourself a low odor resin, I’d recommend going with the Anycubic Eco Plant-Based Resin from Amazon.

Like the Photon S, silent drivers equate to noiseless printing. Combine this with the user-friendly operation of the Photon Mono SE, and you have a fine specimen at your disposal.

Specifications of the Photon Mono SE

  • LCD: 6-inch 2K (2560 x 1440) LCD Screen
  • Minimum Layer Height: 10 Microns
  • Build Volume: 130 x 78 x 160mm
  • Max Printing Speed: 80mm/h
  • Compatible Materials: 405nm UV Resin
  • Z-Axis Positioning Accuracy: 0.01mm
  • XY Resolution: 0.051mm
  • Assembly: Fully Assembled
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Third-Party Materials: Yes

Check the price of the Anycubic Photon Mono SE:

Amazon Anycubic Official Store Banggood

Anycubic Photon Mono X Review

The Anycubic Photon Mono X dangles on the premium end of Anycubic’s resin printer lineup, and this is by far, one of the best SLA 3D printers I’ve come across personally.

Immense build volume, stunning print resolution, and fast printing speeds – you name it. This is undeniably the best out of the four Anycubic printers.

This MSLA 3D printer boasts an 8.9-inch 4K (3840 x 2400) monochrome LCD which is upright unparalleled by the rest of the Photon printers on this list.

Monochrome means that you’ve got lightning fast print and curing times, lesser power consumption, and amazing quality prints while providing 5o microns of the XY pixel size.

The maximum print speed can reach 60mm/h – the highest out of the four Photon printers. In fact, the Mono X is about three times faster than the Photon S.

This monochrome display allows much better UV light permeability that allows it to reduce curing times down to 1.5 seconds, a significant difference compared to the Photon and Photon S, reaching exposure times as high as 12-16 seconds.

Furthermore, Anycubic added a neat new feature that can make it possible to extend the lifespan of the Mono X. There’s an adjustable intensity control that can decrease UV light intensity to prevent it from extensive deterioration.

The manufacturer advises keeping the strength to about 70-80% to prolong the lifecycle even more. Features such as these make the Mono X a top-tier 3D printer. I’ve seen recommendations to keep the UV power to 50% for transparent resin prints too.

It features a 3.5-inch color touchscreen for an interactive and fluid user-interface.

The Mono X has a dual linear rail with an antibacklash nut, and both of these attribute to a stable and accurate printing experience.

Assembly is still effortless with this entry in the Photon series, and unfortunately, bed-leveling is also manual. An automatic calibration would be much welcome here.

Another great feature that is found on the Mono X and not on some of the previous printers is Wi-Fi functionality and a dedicated app for remote control. The main method of connectivity is a standard USB which comes with the delivery.

The price tag of this 3D printer is what truly makes us think of it as a high-end machine – a premium price for a premium product.

Specifications of the Photon Mono X

  • Build Volume: 192 x 120 x 245mm
  • Layer Height: 10+ microns
  • XY Resolution: 50 microns (3840 x 2400 pixels)
  • Z-axis Positioning Accuracy: 0.01mm
  • Printing Speed: 60mm/h
  • Bed-Leveling: Manual
  • Display: 3.5-inch Touchscreen
  • Third-Party Materials: Yes
  • Materials: 405 nm UV resin
  • Assembly: Fully Assembled

Check the price of the Photon Mono X at:

Anycubic Official Store

Amazon

Banggood

Differences Between the Photon Zero, S, Mono SE, Mono X

Let’s now venture into the key differences between the Photon printers. This section is solely for you to have an easier time deciding the best Anycubic 3D printer for you to purchase.

Features – Photon Zero, S, Mono SE, Mono X

Photon Zero: The Photon Zero being the cheapest of this group does have a number of features that make it a respectable MSLA 3D printer. It packs a single linear rail with a lead screw to keep stability through the Z-axis while printing.

Additionally, it has a lid-removal sensor that pauses printing automatically whenever you remove the lid. Then, there’s the easy bed-leveling that asks for adjusting a single grub screw for perfect calibration.

To compensate for its relatively weak LCD screen, you can make use of “Anti-Aliasing Technology” to masks print resolution up to 16 times. For a price of $100-150, this resin 3D printer is very worth it for beginners.

Photon SE: The Photon S is an impressive budget option that has a lot of necessary features for its price point. It has a dual-rail system that makes sure no wobbling will trouble 3D printer users during printing.

Next, it has a 5.2-inch 2K (2560 x 1440) LCD screen that produces prints of great quality, at least a lot better than the Photon Zero.

It also has a dual-fan filtration system for keeping the heat to a minimum and protecting printer parts from damage Adequate cooling also helps to increase print quality. The Photon Zero only has a single fan in this regard.

The Photon S also features matrix UV lighting that spreads to all parts of your print for even distribution of light energy. This is a function that’s unique to the Photon S.

Photon Mono SE: The Photon Mono SE comprises a 6-inch 2K (2560 x 1440) monochrome LCD screen that does a great job of producing top-quality prints – thanks to its XY resolution of 51 microns.

From here on out, you’ll observe monochromatic screens only. These provide a longer service life, faster printing times, and of course, a better resolution for making prints. They also consume less power as compared to RGB LCDs on the Photon S and Photon Zero.

It does lack air filters, however, unlike the Photon S. What’s present however is an all-new feature called “Matrix Parallel Light Source” that’s consistent in exposing the model to a steady beam of a high-resolution laser.

Photon Mono X: The Mono X is simply top-of-the-line, featuring an 8.9-inch 4K (3840 x 2400) monochrome LCD that sees produced prints of the finest quality. This machine is an absolute killer.

With an XY resolution of 50 microns, print quality is simply matchless if we were to compare it to the rest of the Photon printers.

It also features Wi-Fi connectivity through Anycubic’s companion app. This is totally new, and the previous Photon printers had only USB-A as an option.

The user-interface of this MSLA 3D printer is also a cut above the rest. It’s much more refined, and the 3.5-inch touchscreen is useful for controlling your prints.

Build size is definitely the biggest feature that differentiates the Photon Mono X from the others, being significantly larger.

Quality – Photon Zero, S, Mono SE, Mono X

Photon Zero: To measure the Photon Zero with respect to its price, this 3D printer is a steal. This is especially when you consider its current sale price on Anycubic’s official store.

When you compare the quality of the Photon Zero to the others, you definitely aren’t getting the best quality, but its a very high level with respect to 3D printing, where the top resolution for FDM printers fall in the 0.1mm or 100 micron range.

It’s not the best, but it does in you inside the vast field of resin 3D printing, nice and smooth.

  • XY Resolution: 0.1155mm (115.5 microns)
  • Z Axis Resolution: 0.01mm

Photon S: Much higher up the quality is the Photon S, costing somewhere around $250 and packing a heavy punch at it.

The Photon S is known to produce prints of great quality, give you a decent build volume, and offer simple operation for what it’s worth.

While its design won’t leave terrific impressions, its print resolution sure will, and that’s what makes the Photon S a worthy entry-level MSLA 3D printer.

  • XY Resolution: 0.047mm (47 microns)
  • Z Axis Resolution: 0.01-0.2mm

Photon Mono SE: The Photon Mono SE has similar quality to the Photon S since the XY resolution and Z-axis resolution are the same, but there are other significant changes which we’ll see in the next section.

You’ll be thoroughly pleased with the print quality that you get out of this 3D printer, especially with miniatures and figures where you can see almost every detail when oriented correctly.

Creating models on the Mono SE is a great experience for most users and if this is your first resin 3D printer, thee usual reaction is amazement at how great the quality is.

  • XY Resolution: 0.051mm (51 microns)
  • Z Axis Resolution: 0.025 – 0.1mm

Photon Mono X: To talk about the Mono X, is to talk about the utmost deluxe-quality MSLA 3D printer.

When you increase the size of a resin 3D printer, the standard compromise or sacrifice is a significant decrease in quality, but Anycubic made sure to combat this by introducing a serious 4K monochrome screen.

This is a machine that boasts an 8.9-inch highly potent 4K monochrome LCD that makes prints of top level layer resolution, which compares to the smaller Photon S and Photon Mono SE quality even though the build volume is significantly higher.

It has an immense build volume of 192 x 120 x 245mm, easily out-competing the Photon Zero, Photon S and Photon Mono SE.

Then, there’s the Wi-Fi connectivity and the companion app for the Mono X and this is something that’s novel to this 3D printer. You can’t change the layer resolution here, but you can change exposure times.

Design-wise, the Mono X occupies a sizable footprint and looks sleek and catchy, even from afar. A removable top cover means that you can reach the insides of the printer and carry on with easy print removal and clean up.

There are 3D printers that pack more features and are of better quality, but they cost almost double the Mono X, and this is where this printer gives us a convincing reason to purchase it.

  • XY Resolution: 0.050mm (50 microns)
  • Z Axis Resolution: 0.01mm

Speed – Photon Zero, S, Mono SE, Mono X

While it’s no surprise that the best quality 3D prints come from printing slower, these 3D printers can get quite fast when it comes down to it. Here are their maximum printing speeds.

Photon Zero: 30mm/h

Photon S: 20mm/h

Photon Mono SE: 80mm/h

Photon Mono X: 60mm/h

You’ll observe that the Photon Mono and Photon Mono X are able to print much faster. This is because of their monochrome LCD screens, making it possible to cut down curing times to less than 2 seconds and being able to print very quickly.

Exposure times are very significant when it comes to overall printing speed because it requires a certain amount of seconds of exposure for every layer of a print.

When you think about a resin 3D print that is 2,000 layers, a mere 2 second change in exposure times would equate to almost 70 minutes extra.

When you look through the Anycubic Photon Resin Settings Doc for normal exposure times, then compare it to, let’s say, the Anycubic Photon X Resin Settings Doc, you quickly see the large differences in exposure times.

You get an average normal exposure of around 10-12 seconds and some a lot higher for the Anycubic Photon, while the Anycubic Photon X has insanely quick normal exposure times of 1.5-3 seconds.

That’s about a 9 second difference between these two resin 3D printers, which translates to an extra 5 hours (9 seconds x 2,000 layers = 18,000 seconds) of printing for a 3D print of 2,000 layers.

You’d either have to sacrifice on print quality and increase the layer height, or just print smaller models to balance these factors out.

Speed wise, you’re gonna wanna go with the Anycubic Photon Mono SE or the Anycubic Photon Mono X for sure.

Ease of Use – Photon Zero, S, Mono SE, Mono X

All of these Photon printers are quite easy to use, and everyone calls them user-friendly. There are some differences, however, that set each of them apart.

Photon Zero: The Photon Zero is also user-friendly, and features the easiest of bed-leveling by far with just a single grub screw.

It also requires little to no assembly and comes ready for action out of the box. With an accessible print area, the top lid comes right off, allowing you to easily make your way to the inside of this resin 3D printer.

There’s also a lid-removal sensor that prompts you whenever the lid is out of place.

Photon S: One of the Photon S’s best pros is that it’s simple to operate. With easy bed leveling and trivial effort for assembly, this MSLA 3D printer is a breeze to work with.

Anycubic ships handy tools with all Photon printers, such as a scraper, latex, and paper funnels to help you on your printing journey. This makes processes such as print removal and cleaning up afterward much easier.

The 2.8-inch color TFT touchscreen promises a good experience with navigation and set-up. However, the fact that the Photon S does not have a removable lid makes it hard to see what’s happening on the inside.

Some users also complained that print removal can get quite difficult because of this design.

Photon Mono SE: Using the Photon Mono is a fairly uncomplicated procedure. There’s easy bed leveling with a four-screw system, and minimal effort for assembling the machine together.

Differing from the Photon S’s up-swinging hinge design, the Mono allows you take to take the top cover off, attributing to a pleasant user experience.

Once you get around the ins and outs of this resin 3D printer, usability becomes undemanding. Replacing the FEP films on the Mono is also very easy – you just have to unscrew some nuts and then screw them back in place.

Photon Mono X: One of the major benefits of owning the Photon Mono X aside from its great build and stunning print quality, is its ease of use.

With a 3.5-inch HD color touchscreen, navigation of the UI is effortless and the printer is very easy to operate. All this comes from personal experience.

With great details, an awesome build volume, and a near-perfect user-experience, the Mono X is one of the bests when it comes to usability.

Design – Photon Zero, S, Mono SE, Mono X

Photon Zero: The Photon Zero might look cheap, but take it from me that it’s a very compact, sturdily-built machine that prints in a stable manner and remain that way.

Anycubic has slapped on the trademark tapered orange-colored UV-blocking lid and inside resides a plastic resin vat. The manufacturer ships extra FEP films when you purchase this 3D printer.

Moreover, the Photon Zero has a small-scale build volume, about  97 x 54 x 150mm so big projects are out of the question here. Still, the space is satisfactory for regular prints.

Photon S: The Photon S offers a plastic casing, rather than the fully metallic one on the original Photon. This may not make much of a difference, but it does not impress visually.

Next, the Photon S has a bigger build volume than the Photon Zero, about 115 x 65 x 165mm. The printer is also available in two colors – black and white.

Rather than having different colors for the base and the lid, the Photon S follows a continuous color scheme and that is either black or white.

Photon Mono SE: The Photon Mono SE looks very similar to the Photon S but comes in just one color. The design is very seamless, clean, and professional.

The print plate has a singular grub screw that you use for the easy leveling process.

For the Photon SE that doesn’t have a removable lid, some have complained that print removal is a little more difficult, but can still be done simply.

The Photon Mono SE is also very well-built, offering good sturdiness, and stable printing due to its dual linear rail that guides the Z-axis through a lead screw.

Photon Mono X: The Photon Mono X sports a yellow removable lid with a sleek chassis that grants comfortable access to the vat of resin inside. It probably has the classiest look out of the rest of the Photon printers.

Next, the feature that is one of its biggest selling points is its enormous build volume, stretching to about 192 x 120 x 245mm. The size is very spacious and allows worry-free printing for those of you claustrophobic out there.

Like the Photon Mono, it also has four screws that need calibration for the leveling of the print bed. The Photon Zero, on the other hand, has just a single grub screw for bed-leveling.

Additionally, the Mono X boasts not one, but two dual-liner rails that are steered by the Z-axis lead screw. This is a big 3D printer whose construction’s high quality is easily noticeable right from the get-go.

Price – Photon Zero, S, Mono SE, Mono X

In terms of pricing, all of the Photon printers are entry-level and budget-friendly, except for the Mono X which does cost a fortune more or less. At the time of writing this article, there’s an ongoing sale on Anycubic’s official store that has some really good deals. For reference, however, we’ll be listing down below the Amazon prices as well.

Photon Zero: The Photon Zero is currently unavailable on Amazon, but you can get it from the manufacturer for a very good deal of $100. Do note that this offer is only available for customers in the UK.

Check the price of the Photon Zero at:

Amazon Anycubic Official Store

Photon S: The Photon S costs just a bit above $300 if you order from Amazon. On the other hand, you can get it for $259 from Anycubic’s official store right now.

Check the price of the Photon S at:

Amazon Anycubic Official Store

Photon Mono SE: The Photon Mono costs about $300 if you get it from Amazon. On Anycubic’s official store, it’s currently on sale for $229.

Check the price of the Anycubic Photon Mono SE:

Amazon Anycubic Official Store Banggood

Photon Mono X:  The Photon Mono X costs about $900 if you order directly from Amazon. However, it costs significantly less—about $700—currently if you get it from Anycubic’s official store.

Check the price of the Photon Mono X at:

Anycubic Official Store

Amazon

Banggood

Recent Posts