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HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer Review – Best Portable Printer

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer, Print Social Media Photos on 2×3″ Sticky-Backed Paper – Blue (Z9L26A) – Best Portable Printer

Most photos taken from the smartphone never get their way to print. Since, photos jog your memory for your precious moments; they should be seen besides staying in a device’s memory. HP Sprocket photo printer is The Best Buy Printers choice for portable instant printer that prints photos from your smartphone or tablet. It works as the best companion of Android and iOS apps to let you easily create sticker-type photographs. This wallet-size printer is rechargeable using a micro USB that is connected to your phone via Bluetooth, and needs HP Zink photo paper to function. Since, it uses Zink printing technology to print that is capable of setting crystals on all sheets that reveal as exact colors when they are heated up.

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer Review

Design

With 2.95 x 4.57 x 0.91 dimensions, the HP Sprocket photo printer is one of the smallest printing devices available out there. It is tremendously portable and can be easily fit in any large pocket. It has one power button and a small light on the side of the printer that blinks during printing process and goes red in case if there’s something wrong either with paper or the device itself.

The printer is as lightweight as 0.379 lbs and somewhat smaller than most smartphones you will be printing from. It comes with a smooth plastic cover that has either white or black color. Like the size, the printer has minimal controls with a few buttons for power, battery indicator light and a USB port for charging.

The Sprocket looks like a box about the size of a compact camera without the lenses placed on its front. The printer has a small opening at the front from where the printed photos land. Also, there is a micro USB slot at the backside which is used to connect to the supplied charging cable to recharge the built-in batteries. Usually, the printer takes about 90 minutes to get fully recharged, and can print 30 photos in a single charge.

The printer offers easy connectivity for you to begin instant printing. Also, HP provides a well-organized app that helps you go through the basic steps to connect to the device. Plus, you get the option to synchronize to your different social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram in order to access them in the app. The painter can print photos or images from the web in as short time as five minutes.

Setup

The Sprocket has a very easy setup for instant use. It just requires you to charge its battery and connect it to your smartphone or tablet through NFC or Bluetooth 3.0 technology. Next step is downloading the HP Sprocket app which goes compatible for devices running on Android and iOS. Once done, you can straightaway print photos from your mobile phone or use your different social media accounts to print your favorite images.

Performance

Available under $140, the sprocket uses zero ink technology to produce average quality photos. Time wise, it takes 40 seconds to print each wallet size photo. The printer is compatible on HP Photo paper or similar. One of the best things about HP photo papers is that they come in adhesive form in order to let you use them as photo stickers.

Testing print quality of this unit shows up washed out photos including portrait photo that appeared really pale. However, it produces fine quality of landscape prints with vibrant colors

Since the printer is very small in size, it doesn’t offer lots of printing options and allows you to print only one size. Also, there are few editing choices in the relevant apps so you cannot make any changes in settings and connectivity options.

Given that, it has a compact size; it can hold up to 10 sheets of papers at a time. The photo paper costs a little expensive because of being used in small printers only. However, with the HP Sprocket printer, you do not need to purchase ink which makes it a good valuable deal when compared to other photo printers.

This inkless paper is also known for its speed. Numerous tests shows the sprocket printer producing a photo print in an average of 40 seconds, which is the fastest speed recorded for Zink printers so far.  Plus, it has the ability to print about 30 snapshots in every charge. There is a USB power cable given in the package for your convenient to charge the printer whenever needed.

Connectivity Options

The HP Sprocket can only connect to a smart device including smartphone and tablet through Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. Furthermore, other connectivity options include CD card, USB and wireless network.

Zink Technology

This portable printer uses Zink technology to produce pictures on heat active photo papers. It has a quite easy setup as there is no requirement of loading a cartridge so you can simply open the input tray and put in the paper. This technology was initially developed by Polaroid, and later was taken by Zink Imaging Inc. (i.e. the byproduct).

Zink technology employs paper smeared with numerous coatings of transparent dye in the production. Such dyes are activated within the HP sprocket printer through pulsates of heat of diverse intensities and lengths as of a thermal print head. These dyes then are tuned into cyan, yellow and magenta to give a full color image with a single sheet of the photo paper using the printer.

This wallet size gadget works great for a novelty photo printer, but, its photo quality doesn’t measure up to those outputs we get from photo-only printers. This is perhaps because of the colors that aren’t as vibrant as an inkjet or dye-sublimation technology can produce.

Printing Cost

Though very small and compact in size, the printer goes costly in term of printing. It only uses original HP Zink photo papers which are available at a slightly expensive rate. Usually, the pack of 10 and 20 sheets give an ongoing cost of about 50 cent per print which is considerably high than what you pay for typical inkjet prints for much larger images. However, the sprocket is meant to provide you the convenience of instant printing during events, parties, home and on-the-go.

The Accessories

Each package of the HP Sprocket photo printer consists of a setup card, micro USB cable, HP Zink sticky backed photo paper set of 10 sheets, a regulatory sheet, and a warranty card.

Main Features

The HP Sprocket Photo printer is a perfect printing gadget for on-the-go fun. It enables you directly print from your mobile phone or other devices running on Android or iOS.

Let’s look at its main features below

  • Portable and Compact Design

This portable printer comes with a size of a smartphone. It’s very light in weight and portable enough to fit into a backpack or even a pocket.

  • HP Sprocket – The Technology

It’s one of smallest printing devices you would have ever seen. This is a perfect gift for those who are looking for something to blend the flairs of your phone with the charisma of physical instant photo printing. Surprisingly, this printer doesn’t use any inks for applying powder or liquid to the paper. Also, it prints no photo paper bigger than 2 x 3-inches.

  • HP Sprocket App

This portable printer is compatible with a free HP Sprocket app which allows you to print and even edit your photos with various effects like borders, graphics, filters, captions, frames, and text before you take the prints. Moreover, this app lets you to share your photos through email or text messages from its platform. In other words, this free app is a great fun that is also handy in elevating your images above their usual standard.

  • Wireless Printing Through Bluetooth 3.0

The Sprocket only supports wireless connectivity through Bluetooth 3.0 – the latest cohort of Bluetooth technology. It ensures faster connectivity speed and consumes less power to function. Wireless printing is also a great way to set up the sprocket printer at different events or parties where everyone can access it from their phone and print their snapshots easily (HP Sprocket App and Bluetooth connectivity required).

  • Social Media Convenience

With such a compact printing gadget, you can connect any of your social media accounts like Facebook, Flicker, or Instagram to HP Sprocket app and instantaneously print any of your snapshots.

  • Customization Tools

This instant photo printer works with the HP Sprocket App to let you create customized photos by means of emojis, drawings, filters and borders fashioned within the app. You can churn funky stickers all over your photos before sending them to print. It also allows you to scan in printed snapshots and view the entire collection.

  • HP Photo Papers

Each box of the HP Sprocket photo printer comes with 10 sheets of HP Zink photo papers. Each paper doubles as an instant sticker once peeled off the back. These papers are meant to ensure vibrant and glossy snapshots   Additional papers can be obtained for $10 per pack of 20 sheets.

  • Borderless Printing

The HP Sprocket is capable of borderless printing. It’s a useful method to print large images like pop-up displays. Borderless prints are produced without a white margin around the content (text or image).

Pros & Cons at a Glance

Why to Buy HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer

Pros

Pros

  • The Sprocket is extremely easy to use.
  • It allows you to print 2×3 inch photos from your phone or tablet running on Android and iOS by a simple tap.
  • It lets you connect your social media accounts and instantly print any of your online snapshots.
  • It is inkless, and so saves you on money for purchasing inks.
  • The gadget is very portable and can be carried in a large size pocket or purse.
  • The image editing tools of the free sprocket app are designed to print with fun on-the-go.
  • The device also capable of printing borderless images.

Cons

Cons

  • It has high purchasing price. Also, it goes pricey with ongoing prints because of the costly photo paper.
  • The output quality of photo printing is not as good as other portable printers.
  • It lacks on touchscreen display.
  • It doesn’t allow saving images to a SD card.
  • It can quickly cost you a little extra for replacement photo papers.
  • Due to its compact size, you can only obtain one size for your photo printing.
  • It comes with one year limited hardware warranty.

Specifications

General Specifications 
Battery Life (photos per charge
30
Dimensions
4.53 x 2.95 x .87 inches
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth
Proprietary App
HP sprocket
Weight
0.38 lbs.
Snapshot Print Quality
C-
Print Language
None
Media Type
HP Zink (R)
Max Media Size
2 x 3
Large Format Print Quality
Snapshot only
Max Resolution
313 x 400 DPI
Snapshot Print Speed
40 seconds
Ink Type
Inkless
Total Media capacity
10 sheets
Print Technology
Zink Inkless Media
Borderless Printing Enabled
Yes
Standalone Printing
Yes
Network ready
None
Minimum System Requirements
No
Minimum System Requirements for Macintosh
No
Compatible Operating Systems
Android 4.4 or above, IOS 8.0 or above
Memory card compatibility
No
Memory
512 MB
Maximum Memory
512 MB
Power consumption
Standby 0.9 W, power consumption per paper (25ºC) Max 34.49 W; Avg 15.91 W (based on first print)
Operating temperature range
5 to 40ºC
Operating humidity range
5 to 70% RH

Final Verdict

The HP Sprocket photo printer is all about fun with super easy printing. It has a simple and elegant design with powerful internet connectivity. It’s a good option for an instant printer which is small enough to fit to any large pocket or bag. The printer frees you from the hassle of ink cartridges while its internal battery enables you to print your photos anywhere, anytime. Even though, this portable photo printer produces average-quality photo at a high price. It is The Best HP Printer for those users who stay socially active on various social media sites and want to share their fun moments with friends and family members in forms of pictures.

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