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Review: HP Sprocket

Mobile printing now has a new meaning. HP recently announced the launch of the Sprocket – a portable printer for the smartphone generation. This little device produces 2-by-3-inches photos with a peel-and-stick back.

HP’s Sprocket App lets you add a wide range of effects to your photos before you print them out.

The printer measures just 0.83 inches in depth and weighs only 226-gms and hence it will be easy to carry around for use on the go. The device uses Bluetooth to connect to the required HP Sprocket companion app, which is available for both Android or iOS devices.

Once you have installed the app on your smartphone or tablet, all you need to do is connect the app to the Sprocket and then start using your images from social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook to create a physical copy.

The app also allows you to add any number of effects to your photos, before you print it out. This means you can add borders, text and emojis before the images are printed.

The Sprocket printer does not use traditional ink. Instead, the device relies on the HP ZINK Photo Paper, which has all the colours required for printing already embedded. HP claims that this method creates “smudge-proof, water-resistant, and tear-resistant” prints.

The ZINK technology uses paper coated with multiple layers of transparent dye in manufacture. These dyes are activated in the printer with pulses of heat of different length and intensity from a thermal print head. The dyes then turn cyan, magenta and yellow, giving a full-colour image with a single pass of the paper through the printer.

The HP Sprocket was my go to printing device while on a trip to India recently, and I have to say I am truly impressed by the quality. A physical photo of 2-by-3-inches in size is not much – but once you print out a photo after spicing it up with various special effects, you will be beaming with pride.

People around me were surprised that such a tiny device could actually produce a good quality photo print. The Sprocket is currently available in either a rose gold-accented white model or a black and grey colour option. We received the rose gold version for a test drive.

The HP Sprocket comes with 10 free sheets of the required printing paper, while the 20-count replacement packs will cost an additional $10. The Sprocket consists of a box about the size of a compact camera, but without the lenses on the front.

There’s a small slot at the front, from which the photos emerge and a Micro USB socket at the back for connecting the supplied cable to recharge the internal batteries. A single charge should be good for 30 prints. It takes around 90 minutes to recharge the printer.

Of course, there are many small format printers out there on the market. However, none of them offer the pocketability of the Sprocket. The HP Sprocket is in no way a replacement for your dedicated printer at home or office. What it is, is a fun compact printer that you can take with you anywhere for instant photo prints.

Price: AED 549

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