Smartphones have completely revolutionized photography. With almost everyone now considering himself/herself to be a photographer, there is no better way to complete the experience than to be able to print those photos. That’s why the market for portable photo printers is expanding every day. Today we are reviewing the new HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer 2nd Edition.
Introduction to HP
After Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard established the company in 1939, Hewlett Packard, popularly called HP, became a company that provides technology solutions to consumers, businesses, and all forms of institutions worldwide, HP introduced its first-ever laser printer in 1981. This large system printer performed well, but it didn’t set any sales records. Not until the company introduced its remarkable “LaserJet” printer in 1984 did everyone start learning the HP name.
The Sprocket Portable Photo Printer 2nd Edition
HP introduced the Sprocket Portable Photo Printer line to meet the need in the market for instant photo printers. We will be testing the new HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer 2nd Edition, which utilizes “ZINK” technology (basically meaning “Zero INK”). This is a full-color printing technology that does not require ink cartridges and that prints in a single pass. Pretty awesome, right? So, let’s jump into the review.
Right from the start, when you hold the package, you feel that you have bought something special. I would say that HP nailed the design with its two-layer packaging. The outer layer contains graphics that tell you what’s inside, while the box that holds the printer itself mimics the printer skin. The design is not so crowded with information that you don’t know what the package is for, while the faded printing of the graphics makes it easy on the eyes.
You can order this portable printer with two types of paper. I got both of them: regular photo paper and sticky paper. The packaging for the paper works pretty well with the printer package, as it has the same feel and look.
The package content is very basic. However, it comes with a sticky back paper sample so that you can try it out.
- USB charging cable
- Installation instructions
- 10 sticky paper samples
This Sprocket portable printer comes in four different colors: Noir, Luna Pearl, Blush, and Lilac. I got the Noir.
I have to say that I love this design. It is almost the same size as most of the other portable printers on the market, but this one doesn’t feel so bulky in the hand.
It has a height of just 11.7cm, a width of 8cm, and a thickness of only 2.5cm.
It has a marble-like finish, which makes it look like a luxury product, with only one button at the back, a USB charger port, and only one light at the front. It feels awesome in the hand.
One thing: The power button is a bit hard to press, especially if you have huge fingers.
I hope to see HP integrate the power button into the LED light in future models.
The back of the printer can be removed so that you can insert the paper into it. It has a capacity of 10 sheets of paper. One other thing to mention is that the paper comes with a blue “Print Quality Card” that you have to load facing down with the paper. Once you close the lid, it will be ejected
Installation was a straightforward process. You need to download the app and then follow the on-screen instructions. They will guide you through the process, including enabling the Bluetooth, charging, loading paper, and connecting the device.
The length of time from when I opened the package to when I was ready to print my first photo was about six minutes.
When I first installed the HP Sprocket app, I thought it was pretty basic. It can pull photos from your camera roll, Instagram, Google, or Facebook account. Because it also has access to your camera, you can take a photo of anything you want to print.
However, my thoughts changed when I clicked on the Edit button. That’s where all the fun starts. There are lots of features, such as tapping on the pencil icon to edit your image; applying filters, stickers, text, and other extras; using two fingers to zoom, rotate, or resize your photo; and tapping on the print icon to print the photo. You can also save, share, or print multiple copies.
One awesome feature is Tiles Printing, which allows you to print your photo on a pattern of either 2×2 or 3×3.
I also loved the option that allows me to order paper for my printer from within the app. That means I don’t have to search the internet for which papers to use for my printer, as the app already knows this information.
How Easy Is It to Use?
The printer itself is very easy to use, with a one-button design. In addition, the paper is easy to load; once you start the printer, it automatically ejects the blue paper quality card that is used to align the printer.
It is very easy to print photos from the app; it takes only 26 seconds to fully print a photo.
This is an easy, portable printer to carry around. However, I still can’t see carrying it around for a full-day trip, especially because the battery will run out after around 30 prints.
HP sells some accessories for this portable printer, including:
- Carrying sleeve
- Wallet case
- Studio bag
The printer quality is very good, and it doesn’t look cheap. However, it is built entirely from plastic. As a matter of fact, it feels like a luxury product with its marble-like design. Still, I’m not feeling confident about dropping it.”
The overall print quality was extremely good, with reasonably true colors. The Sprocket Portable Printer did well in preserving detail in very bright areas and dark areas. The print quality was slightly better than other portable printers; however, you can’t still compare the prints to professional prints.
Lastly, I have to mention one thing that I didn’t like about the prints. After they’re printed, they tend to curl from the outside.
Maybe this is one of the only downsides to this small portable printer. HP claims that the Sprocket will print 35 photos per charge. However, in my case, it ran out of battery power after only 29 prints. It took me an hour and a half to charge it back to full power.
What Do People Think of It?
If you are looking for a portable photo printer, you have probably already read a lot of reviews to see what other people are saying. Here are some of the reviews for the HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer.
“My hubby bought this as a gift for me for mother’s day. I journal and memory plan so these cute pics are perfect for this purpose. [The] quality of [the] picture[s] is decent but not the best. If I want quality prints I have my cannon selphy for that. This cute little printer is great for travel since it’s portable and light weight. Love it! The photo paper refills are cheap on Amazon and are delivered next day with Amazon Prime. Happy with purchase.”Amazon Reviewer
“Love the product, loading paper is easy and simple. Turning it on, connecting via Bluetooth on your phone and getting printing is a simple process. I would recommend downloading the HP app first to preview using it to mark up photos as this is the main way you will interact with the printer. If you don’t like the App you won’t like the printer! Size is easy to fit in a jeans back pocket, [and the] charge lasts as long as advertised. Print quality was good and the paper is relatively easy to acquire and well priced.”Amazon Reviewer
“I watched many reviews before purchasing. The price was very reasonable. I’m having so much fun with it. The app is super easy to use, the photos are pretty good; just make sure you edit and filter your photos on your phone before you print them so they come out the brightest possible. No mini printer is perfect but I’m really happy with this and have encouraged friends to grab one. I love the cute things that come in the app to add to your photos, like text, themes and more. The overall quality feels great in your hands and it prints quietly and fairly quickly. This would make a great gift for teens or crafters. The sticker photo paper is so much fun!”Amazon Reviewer
“This was purchased as a gift, however I have been an avid user since setting it up. The first thing to recognize is that this is not [a] professional photo printer, so if that is the use case you are purchasing for, it would be best to look at other products. As a fun and convenient gadget (I don’t want to use the term “toy”) it’s pretty great. Out of the box it’s about the size of a cell phone (a bit more thick). Set up is straight forward, simply plug it into a USB outlet and let it charge. Photos are printed via the HP Spocket downloadable app, which has an easy to use interface. After downloading the app, it will automatically connect to your printer and there you go! All ready to print! The two by three photos that print have a bit of color washout (think old Polaroid photos) but print in less than 30 seconds. The fact that the printer is portable and photo paper refills aren’t very expensive are great features. My mother (whom this was bought for) brings it with her and prints and shares photos with her friends! I would certainly recommend this to anyone looking for a cool photo printer to print quick snapshots on the go!”Amazon Reviewer
What Are My Other Alternatives?
Kodak Mini 2 Instant Photo Printer
EASY PRINT TECHNOLOGY – Mini Smartphone Printer Lets You Print 2.1 X 3.4” Photos Direct from Android or iOS Device; No Cables or Buttons Necessary. WIRELESS CONVENIENCE – NFC One Touch for Android Launches Kodak App to Print in Seconds; Also Compatible With iOS/Android Via Bluetooth
Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 Mobile Printer
Select the best shots from your smartphone and get Instax prints just by transferring the shots from the app to SP-3 via a Wi-Fi connection. You can also print images to your Instagram, Facebook, Google Photos, Flickr, and Dropbox accounts.
Polaroid ZIP Instant Photo Printer
SMARTPHONE MEMORIES MADE REAL – Using the Polaroid ZIP is fast and easy! Just connect a smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi and watch your portraits, selfies, and social media photos transform from digital images to physical pictures in an instant.. STUNNINGLY VIBRANT PRINTS – ZINK ZERO INK printing technology eliminates the need for film, ink, toners, cartridges, and ribbons. The premium 2×3ʺ sticky peel-back paper prints are not only colorful, bold, and lifelike, but also water-resistant, tear-resistant, smudge-proof, and dry to the touch.
Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer
The Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer is a fun, compact, and interactive wireless printer that lets users print photos instantly on Instax Mini film, from any smartphone or tablet. With a motion sensor, the printer is intuitive and seamlessly connects with the app through Bluetooth.
Canon Selphy CP1300
With Canon’s dye sublimation printing process, the CP1300 produces outstanding 4×6” photos in less than a minute at a crystal-clear 300×300 dpi resolution. The CP1300 features Wi-Fi connectivity for printing from a computer or mobile device. It also prints directly with Apple’s AirPrint, PictBridge, or Canon PRINT.
Should I Get the HP Sprocket 2?
I would definitely recommend this small printer if you are looking for a portable printer. With its slick design and high-quality prints, this is one of the best choices out there. The only downside is the battery life. However, remember that you don’t have to invest in ink.
One more thing I have to mention: I really love this small touch from HP.