In-Depth QIDI TECH iMate vs QIDI TECH iMate S Review
QIDI have long been known for labeling their printers with confusing names. The trend continues with their newest releases, the iMate and the iMate S. These two printers look almost exactly the same and share almost identical specs, so what IS the difference between the iMate and the iMate S? We aim to clear up the confusion in today’s iMate vs iMate S comparison review. Learn the similarities and differences between these machines.
QIDI TECH iMate Specs
The iMate’s 10.2” x 7.8” x 7.8” build volume sits inside a semi-enclosed build area. Models print onto a removable, magnetic metal build plate that reaches temperatures up to 120C. The iMate is compatible with PLA, TPU and PETG, working well with flexible filaments thanks to its precise direct drive extrusion. Models can be printed with layers as small as 50-microns or as large as 200-microns.
This 3D printer comes full-assembled and ready to print after using the assisted 3-screw bed-leveling. Use any slicer you like, though the iMate includes a copy of QIDI’s branded slicer with a pre-loaded slicing profile. Connect to the printer using either a USB thumbdrive or WiFi, and manage prints using the color touchscreen interface.
QIDI TECH iMate S Specs
The iMate S share a lot of specs, including the 10.2” x 7.8” x 7.8” build volume, removable magnetic build plate, and 50-200 micron layer resolution. One difference, however, is that the iMate S is capable of printing in ABS as well as PLA, TPU and PETG. While technically the iMate could be modified to print in ABS, the iMate S comes ready with ABS compatibility out of the box.
Another difference is that the iMate S also comes with an additional extruder fit with a 0.2mm nozzle. This extruder is designed for high-detail printing. Having two extruders means it’s easier to switch between nozzle sizes. You’ll also have a back-up extruder in case the original ever breaks.
QIDI TECH iMate vs QIDI TECH iMate S Similarities
As you can tell from the sections above, the iMate and iMate S share many of the most important 3D printer specs. They both share the same build volume, are roughly the same exterior size and weight, they both reach resolutions up to 50-microns, and they both feature the same interface options.
When it comes to print results, these two printers also perform identically. That’s because they use the same extruders, build plate, and axis structure. Functionally, these are virtually the same 3D printer.
QIDI TECH iMate vs QIDI TECH iMate S Differences
So, you may be thinking, what are the differences between these two 3D printers? Well, to start, the iMate S is about $100 more expensive than the iMate at the time of this article. To account for this difference, the iMate S comes with a protective door, removable side panels, and top cover to help control the temperature inside the print chamber. This seemingly small difference allows the iMate S to print successfully with ABS, unlike the iMate.
Additionally, the iMate S comes with bonus hardware for the most commonly replaced components, including an extra extruder, an extra magnetic build plate, and extra PTFE tubing. These life-saving extras can save you days of downtime if one of these components breaks or gets damaged.
QIDI TECH iMate vs QIDI TECH iMate S Verdict
There’s one simple question to answer here: do the differences between the iMate and iMate S justify the price difference? In our opinion, yes they do. Even if you never intend to print in ABS, the extra extruder, build plate, and PTFE tubing make this printer worth it to us.
That said, the iMate is still a fine printer, especially for beginners. Plenty of people print exclusively in PLA, and for them there’s no reason to upgrade to the iMate S.
Our top recommendation for this comparison is definitely the iMate S, but know that the iMate is also a good investment. Overall, we’re impressed with these two recent releases by QIDI. Both printers are awesomely beginner-friendly and offer a premium experience without premium price tags.