HP Sprocket Select Portable Instant Review

The HP Sprocket Select Portable: A Quick Review If you ask me, that’s a lot of assumptions regarding the characteristics of different age groups, but Select must have some basis for most of them.

To begin, it is diminutive: Its body is a light and compact rectangle (0.7 by 3.5 by 5.7 inches (HWD)) that weighs about 6 ounces.

It’s not quite as tall as the HP Sprocket 2nd Edition, but it’s not quite as long or broad either. Practically any pocketbook or tote can accommodate it with ease.

HP Sprocket Select Portable Instant Review
HP Sprocket Select Portable Instant Review

HP Sprocket Select Portable Instant Photo Printer 2.3″x3.4

Also, generationally, what do you think is interesting? Having more than half of its plastic content come from recycled sources, it is environmentally beneficial (by weight). The type I tried out was silvery gray, but there’s also a bright green option. In general, a single charge of the built-in rechargeable battery will allow you to print about 30 images.

Choose the only physical printer control—the on/off switch—next to the Sprocket. A charging micro-USB Type-B connector is located right next to it. Cable is provided.

Orange indicates a low battery, green indicates full charge, and red indicates an issue has occurred with the battery.

Photos may be inserted into a slot on the Sprocket’s end called Select. An active, ready-to-print indication light is illuminated above it.

During a print job, it blinks every so often; when there’s an issue with the paper feed, it glows an orangey-red.

Connecting Your Sprocket

Indeed, this printer is completely cordless. Like the other Sprocket printer we’ve looked at and the Canon Ivy Mini Photo Printer, this one only has Bluetooth connectivity. The Kodak Mini 2 HD Instant Photo Printer, on the other hand, is compatible with a wider range of wireless technologies (NFC).

You may use the HP Sprocket app, which is available for free on the App Store and Google Play, to manage your printing needs when you pair Sprocket Select with your iOS or Android device.

During setup, you’ll need to link your mobile device to the Sprocket over Bluetooth. The HP Sprocket app is then opened.

Turning on the printer, loading paper (which I will explain in detail below), and connecting it for the first time are all tasks that will be walked you through when you first connect the printer.

Ink-Free Printing

Sprocket Select employs a unique form of paper called Zink (short for Zero Ink) that has its own “ink” (in the broadest sense) embedded in the paper as transparent dye crystals.

Inkjet printers use heat to activate crystals to variable degrees, allowing for the creation of pictures by displaying corresponding hues.

Because zinc foil comes in such a narrow range of sizes, the Sprocket Select can only work with sheets that measure 2.3 by 3.4 inches and include a removable adhesive backing, much as the HP Sprocket Plus.

HP’s price for a pack of 20 sheets (two packs of 10) is $12.99, or 65 cents per print.

Holding the printer’s base with one hand, you may remove the paper tray by gently pulling the lid, which is magnetized to the base.

Each 10-sheet paper package has an orange calibration page on top, which you remove before placing the paper, calibration sheet, and all, face down in the associated 10-sheet input tray. Once the paper is loaded and the lid is closed, you may begin printing.

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When you tap a picture, it will turn into a portrait view with a countdown at the bottom. By touching the plus or minus sign, you may adjust the number of copies to be printed.

This Copy mode may be toggled to Tile app mode. The picture is divided into four or nine tiles, each of which may be printed individually before being pieced together to create bigger composites, which can then be mounted in journals or on photo walls using adhesive Zink paper.

Ink-Free Printing
Ink-Free Printing

Several further features may be accessed using the Sprocket Select app. Within the software itself, you may make adjustments to your photographs and add “stickers” (pre-made, layered designs) and other embellishments.

But the Reveal function is the most intriguing, though also the most distracting. Expose-enabled prints may be seen via the camera of your phone in the Sprocket app to reveal information like a grid of thumbnails of images you shot around the same time. This takes the concept of augmented reality in a new direction (AR).

The app’s other augmented reality capabilities may be used with videos. You can print still images from movies you’ve shot, and then play the video by scanning the image with the Sprocket app.

Comparatively, the augmented reality features of related Lifeprint Hyperphoto printers are more advanced; with such devices, the video is stored in Lifeprint’s own cloud-based social network, making it available to users outside of Lifeprint.

At the Speed of a Sprocket Select

The Sprocket Select is quite sluggish for a portable photo printer, taking an average of 1 minute and 16 seconds to print a 2.3 by 3.4-inch picture.

While the HP Sprocket 2nd Edition took just 39 seconds to print each 2 by 3-inch picture, the HP Sprocket Plus, which utilizes the same paper size as the Sprocket Select, took an average of 58 seconds in our testing.

The dye sublimation Kodak Mini 2 HD that I described previously takes roughly 1 minute and 20 seconds longer on average for each 2 by 3.4 inch print since it prints each picture in four passes, one color at a time.

Print quality for the Sprocket Select is fantastic, the best I’ve seen on a Zink-based printer, and a step beyond what I saw with the first generation of HP Sprocket Photo Printers, which helps to mitigate the slow printing speed.

HP claims that the Sprocket Select’s picture quality has improved, and in his late 2018 evaluation of the HP Sprocket 2nd Edition, my colleague William Harrel saw a significant boost in print quality.

However, my experiments with Select indicate that it may be better in certain ways. Some prints have more vibrant colors, while others have what seem like streaks to me.

However, HP has been working hard over the last year or two to enhance the print quality of its Zinc-based products.

A Pocketful of Magic Portable select

The HP Sprocket Select is a stylish, compact, and practical choice if you just want to print tiny photographs from your smartphone or tablet, whether from the device’s photo album or your own social network accounts.

Sprocket Select makes it simple to print from social media platforms like Facebook, Google Photos, and Instagram in addition to your smartphone’s picture library, whether you’re using an Android or iOS device.

The print quality is excellent, rivaling that of the HP Sprocket 2nd Edition, and the printer’s paper capacity is 30 percent more than that of the Editor’s Choice model.

Although we wish there were cheaper paper alternatives or a non-sticky stock option, this pocket picture printer is now our new Editor’s Choice. However, it’s ideal for making prints on the spot to show off to friends and family in the moment.

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