With my smartphone always handy and two lovely daughters doing cute stuff all of the time, I’m taking pictures constantly these days.
However I very rarely get anything printed. I try to do an annual photo album for the family, but I neglect our photo collection which in some areas of the house is years out of date.
I’ve admired quite a few of the instant printers on the market but the HP Sprocket really caught my eye.
The main reason was it is seriously tiny, weighing just 170g. It’s not much thicker than a smartphone, and actually weighs about the same as my iPhone from the feel of it.
It produces 2×3” prints which can be used as stickers of pictures. Of course they’re small, but the point of the Sprocket is it taps into our obsession with social media. Share that photo on Instagram, then style it up and print a copy to keep straight afterwards.
I got some gorgeous pictures of my kids this weekend so it was great timing to give the Sprocket a try. I’ve also created a vlog so you can see the Sprocket in action.
Here’s what I thought:
When it arrived in the post I just couldn’t believe the envelope contained a printer, it was so tiny.
The box itself was seriously compact and opening my shiny new toy was really exciting. The Sprocket itself is small and light and would definitely fit any of my handbags without any problems. This means if I’m heading out for a party I can pop it into my clutch and me and my friends can have fun printing off our memories of the night while we’re still enjoying it.
There weren’t loads of instructions with it but that’s because there’s not really much you have to do to get the printer going.
In the box was the printer, a USB cable for charging and 10 sheets of HP ZINK Paper.
There’s a diagram on the pack of HP ZINK Paper showing how this should be loaded into your printer.
How does it work
First of all you need to charge the printer. I plugged it into my Mac then left the house for a couple of hours. When I got back it was ready to go.
There were no instructions on how to open the printer to load the paper, but it’s a simple slide mechanism so pretty straightforward.
The paper has to go on top of a blue sheet of card when it’s loaded into the printer.
What’s magic about this product is it doesn’t use ink to print. It instead uses ZINK technology, which in a nutshell means the paper has heat sensitive layers that react to the printer.
This means when it prints, your pictures come out in a single pass with no toing and froing through the printer.
After charging the printer and loading it, switching it on just involves holding down the button on the side for two seconds before the white light comes on. You need to download the HP Sprocket app, which then guides you through the process of connecting the printer to your phone via Bluetooth. I downloaded mine from the Apple App Store for my iPhone but it’s also compatible with Android.
Once this is done and you allow the app access to your camera roll, you simply select which photo you want to print and hit go.
The blue card you insert underneath the printer paper emerges from the printer first, this is part of the warm-up process. Next the print comes and it’s super fast. I had my first print done in less than three minutes from opening the app to having it in my hand.
Having fun with customisation
The best bit about the Sprocket is the customisation options in the app which you can have amazing fun with.
There are stickers, emojis, and borders plus you can add text with various fonts and different colours.
There are Christmas stickers, hearts, Mickey Mouse-themed ones and lots more.
For me it’s this bit of the Sprocket that really sums up what it’s all about. Fun.
It’s about getting those prints straight away, wherever you are, and just enjoying them. You can get creative and bring them to life in loads of different ways.
So what did I think of the Sprocket
I love the concept of the HP Sprocket. You can take it anywhere, it prints super fast and the customisation makes it really enjoyable. You could spend ages toying about with different stickers and borders.
For me there biggest downside is the quality of the prints. They are not as good as your prints from a retailer or at-home large photo printer. Refills of the paper are not cheap either at around £15 for 20
But that’s not the point of this printer. The point is to have it to hand wherever you go and quickly hand out prints to all of your mates.
I’ve decided to use my prints in my new planner for 2018. They’re going to brighten up all of my pages and help inspire me with lots of great ideas.
Retailing at around £119 it’s certainly not a cheap gadget, but it’s certainly one that will inspire a lot of smiles and laughter at Christmas.
There’s a special edition version too that comes in a beautiful white with rose gold trim, plus a little bag to carry it in and a mini-photo album to show off all your prints.
Incredibly light and small enough to fit in your handbag.
Quick and easy to use.
Loads of customisation choice on the app.
The prints can be used as stickers.
Allows you to instantly print pictures from your smartphone.
Prints are small.
Quality of prints is not the best.
Refills are pricey.
What you need to know about the HP Sprocket
Dimensions: 100 x 185 x 145mm
Print dimensions: 2×3”
Print resolution: 1200x600dpi