Silhouette Portrait 3 Review
Ease of use
If you are a beginner or need a cutting machine for your DIY projects, Portrait 3 is for you. If you run a business, you need a machine with more cutting force and size, Like Cameo 4 or Cricut Maker.
Do you want a portable vinyl cutting machine?
Are you looking for a small cutting machine for personal use?
Well, Silhouette Portrait 3 has been made specifically for you.
The Silhouette Portrait 3 is the newest model released by Silhouette in 2020. It is more compact as compared to full-sized models like Cameo 4. It allows you to cut fabric, paper, and even vinyl materials.
I used Portrait 3 for 22 days to find the strengths and weaknesses of this machine.
In this review, I will cover everything about the Silhouette Portrait 3. You will learn about its features and compare it with other cutting machines on the market.
Crafty? Need a portable device that won’t take up a lot of space? The Portrait 3 is your answer! It’s great for beginners, too!
The Silhouette Portrait 3 is the smallest model from the Cameo family. It can cut all the same materials, but it is about 30% smaller and 1/3 of the weight of the Cameo 3.
The small size of the Portrait 3 makes it great for crafters looking for a portable cutting machine or those with limited space. It’s also a great option for beginners looking to get started on different materials.
It uses the same auto blade as used by cameo 4. The Portrait 3 has many of the same features as the Cameo 4 but is cheaper and has a narrower cutting area. It also uses Silhouette Studio software, which is the same software that all Silhouette machines use.
|Dimensions||17 x 5.5 x 4.25 inches|
|Cutting size||8 inches|
|Adaptive tool system||Yes|
|Recommended for||Beginners, Ocassional crafters, Frequent use|
There are many bundles of Portrait 3 available on Amazon and Swing Design. I did not buy any bundles as I already have most of the accessories. So, I selected just the machine.
It came in a sturdy box. The package included:
- 1x Silhouette Portrait 3
- 1x auto blade
- 1x Pen adapters for sketch pens
- 1x USB cable
- 1x Power cable
- 1x Blade adjustment tool
I had to select the classic white color as it is the only option. After unboxing, one thing I observed was that with a small footprint, it looks sleek. The buttons are located on the right side and make a half-circle. A big logo is available on the left side. The USB cable can be attached to the port located at the backside.
The power cable can also be attached to the backside. So, you do not need to worry about the wires while working.
I placed it on my heat press table and started to put it to test immediately.
In short, It looks sleek, small, and lightweight, so you can carry it around with you and place it anywhere you want.
Size and weight
This personal cutting machine is just 41.1cm in length. 14 cm in-depth and 11.2 cm in height. Moreover, it weighs only 3 lbs.
I was disappointed with the fact that it does not come with built-in storage.
While it is not the smallest cutting machine, it is smaller and lighter than cameo 4, Maker 3, Cricut Explore, and Brother Scan n Cut 2.
As I mentioned earlier, it came with a USB cable. I used this cable to connect this vinyl cutter to my laptop. It hooked instantly.
Since it also supports Bluetooth connectivity, I removed the cable and turned on the Bluetooth option. It took a couple of seconds to pair with the laptop. You can use this connectivity feature to connect it to your phone, I pad, Tablet, PC, or Macbook.
Silhouette recently released the Silhouette Go app. This app has all the features, so you can use it to connect with your Portrait 3. The app is user-friendly, and a beginner can use it instantly after installation. However, you can not use it to create or edit your designs.
I prefer big screens, so I did not use the app much.
With Bluetooth and USB cable connection options, you can attach it to your phone or computer in no time.
All silhouette cutting machines use Silhouette Studio. I was able to download it easily. Moreover, the basic version is free. However, it would be best to upgrade to the Designer Edition for advanced functionalities.
I’m not too fond of the Cricut Design Space, as I mentioned in other reviews. I love the Silhouette Studio as it does not require an internet connection. A little learning curve is involved. However, you can use it easily if you already know how to use Canva, Windows Office apps, or the Windows Paint app.
You can not use this software on your mobile phone. The mobile app is avaialbe. However, it does not support design functionality yet. It is just for connecting your vinyl cutter machine to your mobile phone.
Silhouette Studio is easy to use and does not require an internet connection. However, you will be required to upgrade if you want to use the advanced functionalities.
Cutting force and size
Portrait 3 comes with 210g cutting force and 8 inches cutting size.
The cutting force and size might not seem good compared to other machines. However, I was able to cut common materials like vinyl and paper perfectly. It can cut compatible materials that are A4 in size.
It also supports matless cutting. I used 9 inches wide and 60 inches rolled materials for matless cutting, and it did the job perfectly.
It gave amazing Kiss cuts, and I was surprised to find out that it also supports pop-up cutting. It is a bit noisy though.
When we consider the price and size of this machine, it offers superior cutting force and size. If the cutting power and size do not impress you, it supports matless cutting and pop-up cutting. Exceptional. Right?
Portrait 3 can cut several materials. With 210g cutting force and 2mm clearance, it can easily cut thin materials like paper, cardstock, fabric, Iron-on, and vinyl.
I tried to cut the thicker materials. As a result, the blades went dull after some time. However, I was able to cut the thicker materials by passing them several times.
Silhouette is silent when guiding the customers about the materials that the Silhouette portrait can cut. On the other hand, Cricut excels in this field.
In short, you can cut the normal thin material easily. Thick materials might require repeated cuts. However, Silhouette should guide the customers more about the compatible materials.
Print and cut
I can cut the design that I already printed through my printer. This feature is common in almost all die-cutting machines.
To do this, I uploaded the same design to the Silhouette studio and sent it to my printer. It printed the design with a black outline.
I then loaded this [rinted design to Portrait 3. It used a black layout to cut the design perfectly.
This feature in Silhouette machines is known as PixScan, and it is a feature that Silhouette proudly advertises. However, it requires a pixscan cutting mat.
With the Print and Cut feature, you can cut your already printed designs in no time.
Blades and Adapters
It comes with an auto blade, also known as a Type B blade. It also supports the premium blade, Rachet Blade, deep cut, and kraft blade. However, they all are sold separetly unless you buy a bundle.
Four types of adapters are also available for Portrait. These include a black adapter, blue pen holder, gray deep cut adapter, and white Kraft blade adapter. However, the only blue adapter comes with the standard purchase. You will need to buy them separately or through a bundle.
The Portrait 3 can detect the blade automatically as it comes with an autodetection feature.
The auto blade looks of very high quality as it is made up of tungsten alloy. It has a length of 0.1mm-1mm depending upon the material you cut. I used it to cut paper, vinyl, and Iron-on, and it did not disappoint.
In short, Portrait 3 is compatible with various blades and adapters. However, most of them are sold separately.
Write and draw
I was able to write and draw with Portrait 3, and I liked the results pretty much.
I removed the blade and installed the blue pen adpater that came with this cutter to write. It was pretty straightforward.
You can use pens to write and draw. It won’t disappoint you!
The price of the Silhouette portrait 3 is $179. You can get a discounted bundle in the $170-$250 price range.
Portrait 3 has a rating of 4.5/5. Mostly, customers are happy with the size, weight, cutting force, and software.
Some users complained about the high price point, slight learning curve, and accessories-related issues.
A good alternative to Silhouette portrait 3 is Cricut Joy. It comes in the same price range and can cut perfectly. All other vinyl cutters are geared toward more experienced users.
Difference between Portrait 3 vs Cameo 4
|Portrait 3||Cameo 4|
|Dimensions||17 x 5.5 x 4.25 inches||22.44 in. x 7.68 in. x 6.69 in|
|Weight||3.5 pounds||10 lbs 6.4 oz|
|Colors||Classic white||White, Black, Pink|
|Cutting force||210g||5 kg|
|Cutting size||8 inches||12 x 24 inches|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, USB||Bluetooth, USB|
|Software||Silhouette Studio||Silhouette Studio|
|Adaptive tool system||Yes||Yes|
|Recommended for||Beginners, Ocassional crafters, Frequent use||Business owners, Experienced crafters, Frquent use|
Difference between Silhouette Portrait 3 and Cricut Explore Air 2
|Portrait 3||Cricut Explore Air 2|
|Dimensions||17 x 5.5 x 4.25 inches||36.83 x 10 x 0.5 inches|
|Weight||3.5 pounds||14 pounds|
|Colors||Classic white||Rose, Mint, Black, Raspberry, Fuschia, Gold, Lilac & Blue|
|Cutting size||8 inches||11.5 X 23.5 inches|
|Cutting speed||Normal||2x faster|
|Software||Silhouette Studio||Design Space|
|Adaptive tool system||Yes||No|
|Recommended for||Beginners, Ocassional crafters, Frequent use||Hobbyists, Small businesses|
Silhouette Portrait 3 vs Brother Scan N cut 2
Here is how portrait 3 differs from Brother Scan and cut 2.
|Portrait 3||Brother Scan nCut 2|
|Dimensions||17 x 5.5 x 4.25 inches|
|Weight||3.5 pounds||8.6 pounds|
|Colors||Classic white||Aqua, Grey|
|Cutting size||8 inches||12″ x 12″ inches|
|Cutting speed||Normal||2x faster|
|Software||Silhouette Studio||Canvas WorkSpace|
|Built in Scanner||None||Yes|
|Adaptive tool system||Yes||No|
|Recommended for||Beginners, Ocassional crafters, Frequent use||Beginners, Small businesses|
What can you do with a silhouette portrait 3?
You can cut fabric, paper, and vinyl with portrait 3. It also supports print and cut. Moreover, you can use it to write and draw.
How to use Silhouette Portrait 3?
- Download and install Silhouette Studio.
- Power on the Portrait 3.
- Connect it to your computer through USB or Bluetooth.
- Import or create your design in Silhouette Studio.
- Load the tool and cutting mat in Portrait 3.
- Change settings according to requirements.
- Cut your design.
When did the Silhouette portrait 3 come out?
Silhouette Portrait 3 was introduced in 2020.
Where to buy silhouette portrait 3?
You can buy this machine from Amazon or Swing Design.
Why is my silhouette portrait 3 not cutting?
If you are a beginner or need a cutting machine for your DIY projects, Portrait 3 is for you.
If you run a business, you need a machine with more cutting force and size, Like Cameo 4 or Cricut Maker.
I’ve been in the printing business for 25 years. I love to share my experiences and knowledge.