Portable instant printers have with time replaced the once bulky and problematic instant cameras. As opposed to instant camera’s these type of photo printers offer more convenience and versatility not to mention they produce clearer and better photos from multiple electronic devices. Now, in the past instant photography was largely dominated by traditional photo brands like Kodak and Canon.
However, with the ever-evolving technology, other reputable electronics brands (like HP) soon joined the race. Today, photos are usually taken in printable digital formats. This means they can easily be reproduced in form of prints and then added to frames.
Contrasted with yesterday’s film-based photography today’s photos are cleaner, clearer and faster to produce. This explains why there are literally hundreds of portable printer models on the market today. Digital photography allows us to take photos using our smart devices or SLR cameras and print them within an instant.
One particular Instant photo printer that is extremely convenient for photo maniacs is the HP Sprocket. With this printer, all you need to do is take a selfie with your smartphone, connect your device with the printer and click print. Within moments you have a hardcopy photo of your selfie.
HP’s Sprocket printer is not the first hand-held portable printing device to utilize this technology. Actually, Kodak has several portable ZINK printers that run on the same system like the one under the hood of this HP printer. In this piece, we brush up everything that is worth noting in this HP Sprocket portable photo printer. But first, we must understand how this device works and how it is able to produce clean coloured photos without the need for cartridges.
How the HP Sprocket works
Basically, the HP Sprocket is a ZINK paper printer. Unlike inkjet and laser printers, this type of printers doesn’t use ink cartridges. Instead, they use special thermal papers that have several heat-sensitive layers of dyes. In other words, the ink is stored in the printing paper instead of the cartridges. ZINK Holdings is the official manufacturer of ZINK (Zero Ink) paper. The company works with other licensed brands like Hewlett Packard and Lifeprint which use their technology in their own printers.
Normally, what happens when printing a photo with a portable printer (like the Sprocket), is that the thermal paper is passed through a series of hot regions within the printing system. This is done in order to make imprints of the selected photo on the heat sensitive paper. Ink dyes react differently to varied heat pulse lengths and intensities. The printer calibrates just the right amount of heat to apply in each region of the paper in order to reproduce the digital photo onto the paper.
Here is why you should buy the HP Sprocket portable photo printer
Now there are several reasons why you would want to settle for the HP Sprocket. We have discussed everything in detail in this piece. Please note that if you are looking for a professional photo printer, this particular product might not help you. To be honest, this printer is only suitable as a casual, portable printer. For instance, if you love taking those selfies during family gatherings, this gadget comes in handy. You can print out all those photos and share them with you folks in hard copy. Some of the upsides of this device include:
Lightweight and portable build
HP designed this product as a compact, pocket-sized printer. Essentially, you can carry this device almost everywhere as it weighs less than half a pound. In terms of dimensions, this gadget measures just 4.53(L) by 2.95(W) by 0.87(H) inches just like a typical big screened smartphone. If you have a fairly large pocket that can fit a mini-tablet, rest assured that this printer will fit in right there perfectly. Design-wise, this device looks quite appealing though I think that it can’t beat the Kodak dock. However, Kodak’s Dock printer is not as portable as this gadget.
Supports Wireless printing
Tiny as it is this printer supports wireless printing through Bluetooth. We are all aware of all the perks that come with wireless portable printing. First, you can practically print your photos from an array of devices wirelessly. Secondly, wireless printers don’t limit you in terms of location. In other words, this printer can be used anywhere, with any compatible Bluetooth smart device. It is also good to note that this printer runs on Bluetooth v3.0.
Limitless Photo customization options
HP built a dedicated mobile app for this printer available on all major app stores. Through this HP Sprocket app, you can customize your photos as you want them before printing. For instance, you can add filters, frames, and patterns on your photo just like you do with any photo editor on your smartphone.
Afterward, you just connect your device to the printer and print the edited photos. The maximum resolution on this printer is 313 by 400 dpi. For casual home stickers and scrapbooks, this resolution is just perfect.
In addition, this printer is engineered to perform borderless printing, thus ideal for printing photos. Most of the earlier Portable printers and instant cameras lacked this feature but nowadays, almost every photo printer supports borderless printing.
Clean printing and Easy to use
One major advantage of Zero-Ink printing technology is that it’s spotless. Unlike other technologies especially inkjet printing, ZINK printing does not involve the messy Ink operations. At no point will you be required to change a cartilage or add new toners. Since this gadget operates on Zero-Ink technology, there is hardly any chance that you will soil yourself. Furthermore, the manufacturer built this printer with an easy to use dash as well as an intuitive mobile App. Technically you only need to explore it for 20 or so minutes and you get to understand it for a lifetime.
Average Battery life
The battery on this gadget can print up to 35 photos on every single charge. Therefore, it can’t beat HP’s all-new 2 in 1 Sprocket printer and camera. This new printer with inbuilt camera prints up to 40 photos in one single charge.
Limitations of HP Sprocket
In as much as I liked this device, there are a number of factors that disappointed me:
- First, this printer does not support wireless printing through WI-FI. So basically you cannot use it with any laptop or smart device that lacks a Bluetooth radio.
- Secondly, it lacks an internal storage and “save to Micro SD card” functionality.
- Lastly, Zink paper is quite expensive. Hence, you cannot use this printer for printing photos commercially or on a large scale, as it would be uneconomical.