Canon made two distinct ES series of portable electronic typewriter: A Korean-made series introduced in late 1989, and a Mexican-made series released a year later in September 1990. Dates are approximate based on advertising.
ES Series (Korea)
Model numbers of the Korean ES series include but may not be limited to ES-3, ES-5, 10, 15, 23, 25 (internal/secondary model numbers range from V008 to V018).
Naming anomalies include the MX-100 (AKA ES-10) and the Nakura Alpha ST (AKA ES-25) in Japan.
The body of these ETs are a light grey beige (sadly often becoming nicotine beige due to a gradual yellowing of the ABS plastic) with charcoal grey keys, however a few models have a black body which makes them less affected by yellowing.
E.T.s of this series have a top speed of 15 cps which, for the portable category, is a high benchmark.
A nice feature which Canon carried across all of its portable and compact E.T.s was its use of colour-coded Code and Mode keys …
The keyboard is as good as it looks.
The top of the range ES-25 weighs 16.5 pounds, has a 60 character LCD screen, and an 800 character multi-line correction memory.
A nice feature of the ES-25 is the ability to see the text on the LCD screen while the typewriter is in Character-by-Character mode (not just when its in Line-by-line mode).
On the downside (unlike Brother E.T.s), you have to remove the ribbon cassette before you can change the print wheel. And rather than have a drop-in cassette wheel, the Canon print wheel is one you have to manually clip on and clip off. But at least (like Brother) the print wheels used in Canon’s Office, Compact and Portable E.T.s are all compatible (the wheels used in mini-wedges are smaller though, as you might expect) …
A bugbear is the narrow and cramped power cord compartment on these E.T.s. If there’s a knack to fitting the cord and plug easily, I’ve yet to master it!
ES Series (Mexico)
A different ES-series emerged in September 1990, only two years after Canon transferred the production of its AP-prefixed office electronic typewriters from Japan to Costa Mesa, California, a move which allowed Canon to not only move its manufacturing capability closer to its biggest market, the United States, but also access cheap labour across the border in Mexico.
Indeed, these cheap and cheerful E.T.s were (mostly) assembled in Mexico …
Model numbers include but may not be limited to ES-3, 3 II (AKA UTAX T2200), 13, 23, 23 II, 33, 33 II (AKA UTAX T2600). Internal model numbers range from V008, V0082, V0083 and (in the case of the ES 3 II and the ES 33 II) U072.
Naming anomalies in this series are the MX-70 (above) and the XS-30.
A distinctive feature (on those models that don’t have an LCD screen) is a channel that runs across the breadth of the typewriter above the keyboard. Again, the ABS plastic body is not that attractive, especially when it yellows, but I like the flatter profile of these E.T.s, which have a noticeably cheaper build quality and a slightly slower (14 cps) speed than their Korean counterparts. Paper bails have been dispensed with, as has one platen knob.
One disconcerting characteristic is the way the print carrier hesitates and then moves right before returning to the left margin.
Also, the power cord compartment is even more cramped and inaccessible than it is on the Korean models. Stowing the power cord and plug easily is one problem – opening the compartment door without breaking it is another!