Nowadays, more people are using their smartphones to take all their photos. Partly because it is super easy to capture photos and videos with and it’s always within arm’s reach. In the past few years, there has also been a rise in film photography, more specifically Polaroid photos (you know, the camera that allows you to print your photos instantly).
Companies like Fujifilm and Polaroid have been making modern day versions of the classic instant film cameras. And while those might be nice for nostalgia, it can be a bit of pain to carry those cameras around and if you don’t get the perfect shot, your photo can be ruined.
That’s where stuff like the HP Sprocket, where it allows you to print your photos instantly but with the added benefit of using a photo taken on your smartphone.
Design & Hardware
The HP Sprocket has a very simple design, the one I tested came in the limited edition red colour. The top of the device is where you’ll find the HP logo and the Sprocket name.
On the left side, you’ll find the microUSB port for charging and a LED indicator light. On the opposite side, you’ll find where your photos print out.
To load paper into the HP Sprocket, all you have to do is hold the device, so the HP logo is facing you and hold and push up and then lift the cover off. Also, make sure you load the blue piece of paper included with the Zink printer paper, the blue paper is so the printer knows you’re using genuine Zink paper.
The HP Sprocket is very compact and it can easily fit in your pocket but just be warned that the device is made of plastic and can break with too much pressure applied to it.
The HP Sprocket is available from a variety of retailers including Amazon.ca, BestBuy.ca, Walmart.ca, The Source, Staples.ca and HP’s website for $159 CAD and comes in three colours, black, white and red. The red coloured HP Sprocket is only available from HP’s website.
The HP Zink photo paper that the Sprocket uses, costs around $9.99 CAD for a pack of 20, and each photo is 2 x 3 inches (5 x 7.6 cm).
App & Print Quality
To be able to print photos using the HP Sprocket, you’ll first need the companion app for Android and iOS. To actually connect to the printer, it connects via Bluetooth.
Once you open the Sprocket app, you’ll be given instructions on how to load paper into your device. Once you do that and click next, you’ll then be prompted to either take or select a photo. You can take a photo within the app or choose a photo from Instagram, Facebook, Google Photos or photos you’ve already taken on your phone.
Once you’ve selected a photo, it only takes a matter of seconds for the Sprocket to print out your photo. The actual quality of the printed photo can vary but be forewarned that the photos printed using the Sprocket, are good but aren’t super high quality. They’re a scaled down version of the photo you took with your phone.
With the app, you can also make edits to your photos like brightness, contrast, adding a fun border, etc. Like mentioned earlier, the photos that Sprocket prints are quite small, at 2 x 3 inches (5 x 7.6 cm), sure that might not be the same size and old Polaroid instant cameras but that’s what you get with such as a compact-sized mobile printer.
Overall, I really like the Sprocket, it gives people the option to print their smartphone photos without the added bulk of an instant film camera. However, the quality of the prints may not be the greatest even if you took your photos using an iPhone or Galaxy S8.
- Compact design
- Easy to use
- Great third-party app integration
- Printer paper is easy to reload
- Prints aren’t super high-quality
- Limited to 2 x 3-inch prints