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HP Sprocket Review

For a while now i have been looking at hand held printers, half with curiosity and half with almost an obsession.

I take a lot of photographs and there is something about the idea of a portable printer that i just love. Especially since this year i have decided to give memory journalling a try.

I have watched You Tube video after You Tube video of comparisons with them all and after to-ing and fro-ing i decided i would be brave and buy one.

So let me introduce you to my new HP Sprocket.

Why did i decide to go with this particular printer? Well for me the deciding factor was the quality of prints that they seem to give out. Talking to other users and watching the videos, it seemed to me that the HP gave the best quality. Compared to the Polaroid Snap in particular i liked that i could zoom in on the app allowing me to focus the image on what mattered. I also downloaded the apps prior to deciding which one i would buy so i could get a feel for them. The HP has a lot more frames and "stickers" which you can decorate your images with before printing which became the cherry on the sundae for me.

So let me show you what is what.

The "kit" as it were that i bought is the Limited edition gift box that i believe was brought out for Christmas 2017. You can still buy this version online and in some stores like Argos and Currys. It retails for around £120 but do shop around and see what deals you can get. I personally bought mine second hand on eBay as it was listed as brand new. When i received it the tape was still on the box so i was the first to use it. Doing this i saved some money which i put towards the photo paper (I'll cover that further down).

So in this box you get the white and gold Sprocket, a gold wallet case, a photo album and a code for a free personalised sprocket skin.

The Sprocket itself comes with the connector cable (USB to Micro USB) as well as a packet of the sticker papers (10 sheets per packet).

The printer will need a charge to use it out and about but you can use the device while plugged into a power source such as a laptop (which i did at first).

To switch the device on you need to hold the button on the left side until the white light comes on at the top. Once it lights up you are good to go :)

Ok so lets look at the paper for a sec.

The paper for the Sprocket is Zink paper. It works the same as a Polaroid camera film in that you don't need in cartridges ... the paper does the work. If i understand the science behind it correctly there are colour crystals in the paper that react to the heat the machine gives off and the image is transferred to the paper. Also know as magic :)

Another cool feature of the HP Zink paper is that its actually sticky backed so you can pull the backing paper off and stick it in the likes of planners or journals. Its not a necessity in use though. You can just leave the backing on and it works the same as a regular photo. Its just a handy feature :)

One thing i will say about the paper is that its not cheap. There are probably deals out there if you look (i know at Christmas time there were a lot of places doing 3 for 2) but to buy a standard pack with 2 lots of 10 is going to cost you around £10. That's 50p for every print you make. Quite expensive when you realise you can get a 4x6 inch print for around 8p each. My recommendation for this is buy mulipacks, buy in bulk and don't waste your paper on images your not really bothered about.

So lets see some prints.

Via the app you can print the picture directly as is or you can play about with it. There are frames, stickers and text available to use so you can go nuts. There is also an add your own function which i haven't tested out yet but when i do I'll share the results on my IG with you all.

The images aren't "Instant" as such. It does take a little while to send the image from the phone to the printer but its not more than a minute so its not bad at all.

The first lot of prints i made were plain images. I took some of my beautiful wee dog who is unfortunately under the weather just now and while he was feeling a bit more chipper i took some snaps. Although the images taken weren't in the best light when i compared them to the original image taken on my phone (Samsung S7 Edge), you can see that there is some colour differences in the pictures.


Next i decided to play with some of the features of the app. My little Sister E is currently in her second trimester and is, in my personal opinion, glowing ... so i definitely wanted to add some images to my journal. The scan pic is of my soon to be niece or nephew who we call 'Bean' and i wanted to add some info as well as decorations to the image of my sister. I think these ones turned out pretty good when you consider Bean's selfie is a photo of a scan photo so the quality wasn't perfect to begin with but the photo of E is quite clear and was taken on a bright day with natural light.

I've been experimenting a lot with the images and the different styles so i can see what works. Like with most new technology you have to learn what works. I have noticed that on some of my prints there is an almost pink hue coming though which isn't in the images taken from my phone so i can only assume this is due to the paper. I'm many of the images where there is a light area, the print is duller. I am wondering if brightening the image on the phone or tablet device will make the prints come out lighter.

So what do i think overall?

Personally i couldn't justify the retail price of £100+ for this, just because it is an expensive device to run and the images aren't superb. Am i happy with it? Yeah kinda. I think now that i have it and i know i will use it, I'm happy enough but perhaps if the paper was a bit more purse friendly i would be more in love with it.

Like with more new technology these days i know it will be replaced soon in stores with a updated version so if you're not in a massive rush wait till it comes down in price or do what i did and but from an action site or second hand.

The print quality (as it is just now) i would give a 3 out of 5. I've taken images in different lighting that I'm not able to share and the prints have a pinker hue which is slightly irritating. If you like the grainy effect on photos though you wont have any issues. I'm waiting for more film to arrive so i can test the app settings out further and see if that makes any difference to the quality.

Would i recommend to a friend? Yes along with the warnings I've mentioned before so they know what they should expect.

It is a brilliant device, just expensive for what can do.