You can print photos on the go with the HP Sprocket

For too long, our photos have been imprisoned within the walls of social media. HP’s latest printer wants to change that.

There are many reasons to like social media. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram make it easy to share your personal highlights with friends around the world. But in the name of interactivity and convenience, we have left something behind. When was the last time you got together with your loved ones and laughed over old pictures? For most of us, such events never occur in this exclusively digital age. The new range of HP Sprocket printers wants to change that. These pocket-sized devices produce little photos that are perfect for sharing IRL.

Print photos anywhere

Physical forms of media have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years. Fueled by a generation who didn’t grow up with vinyl and film cameras, the trend has swept through every technology niche.

The HP Sprocket printer isn’t the first device to offer a return to printed pictures — far from it. However, it must surely be one of the smallest and easiest to use. Weighing in at a mere six ounces, the basic version is probably lighter than your phone.

To get started, you need only connect the printer to your phone via Bluetooth and load it with paper. The Sprocket utilizes ZINK printing technology, which requires no cartridges.

The HP Sprocket app is very sprightly. You can use it to print images directly from your social media profiles. In addition, the app offers a simple editing suite filled with retro filters and silly stickers.

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Small but beautiful

Once you hit the on-screen print button, the Sprocket gets to work. Around 42 seconds later, you should have yourself a colorful 2 x 3-inch print. Sticky-backed photo paper is also available if you plan to use your images for decorative purposes.

It must be said, the prints are small — each image is about the size of a credit card. In comparison with regular inkjet printers, the Sprocket is also pretty expensive. But then, that’s the price you pay for portability and quality.

Bigger is better

If you’re willing to carry a little extra bulk, the larger Sprocket Plus offers prints that are 30% bigger. That still only takes you up to 2.3 x 3.4 inches, but every little counts. In all other respects, the Plus model is very similar to the standard Sprocket.

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Aww look, one happy family!

However, there is one more member of this portable printing family. The Sprocket 2-in-1 essentially sticks a digital camera onto the aforementioned printer. What you end up with is a simple instant camera.

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The Sprocket 2-in-1 is basically an instant camera

This device won’t rival the image quality of your DSLR. That said, it’s a nice way to take and share party snaps without getting your phone out. Besides, you can quite easily share the images you take via online means to keep you connected.

“Sprocket brings your favorite memories to life with vibrant 2 x 3-inch smudge-proof photos you can share, or peel-and-stick and create collages and art projects.”

“This portable printer goes virtually anywhere, and with Bluetooth connectivity, you and all of your friends can connect to Sprocket with your smartphones and tablets and print and share the best pics of the day.” — HP press release

Snap happy

Most home printers are fairly annoying to use, so HP’s Sprocket provides some light relief. Furthermore, the app lets you get really creative.

Minor adjustments

The only real cause for concern with the Sprocket is the print quality. It’s perfectly fine for throwaway snaps, but serious phone photographers might want to look elsewhere.

Availability

– Order now: via HP.com

– Price: $129.99 USD

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Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.

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