HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer Review: Worth the Hype?

If you’ve ever been at a gathering or event where you wished you could instantly print and share a photo, the HP Sprocket might catch your attention. Recently, this nifty portable printer has shown its worth by making the process of turning digital photos into physical keepsakes both easy and fun. It’s small enough to fit in nearly any bag, and it transforms smartphone snapshots into sticky-backed prints that can go straight from the printer to your walls, scrapbooks, or friends’ hands.

With the HP Sprocket, it’s not just about printing; it’s about printing with personality. The app’s features, like adding borders, emojis, or text, give life to ordinary photos. Connectivity is a breeze with its Bluetooth capabilities, supporting multiple devices at once—perfect for a group setting where everyone wants a turn. The anticipation of seeing whose print will come out next is heightened by the LED light that changes color to signify different users. While undeniably convenient, it is worth noting that print quality may not rival that of a full-sized printer, but for its size and purpose, it delivers satisfactory snapshots that capture the moment in a tangible way.

HP Sprocket Portable 2x3" Instant Color Photo Printer (Noir) Print Pictures on Zink Sticky-Backed Paper from your iOS & Android Device.
  • PRINT PHOTOS ON DEMAND HP Sprocket 2nd Edition Printer Prints 2”x 3” Photographs from Your Smartphone or Social Media. For iOS 10-Plus & Android 5-Plus, Bluetooth 5.2
  • ZINK ZERO INK TECHNOLOGY No Expensive Toner or Ribbon Replacements. Glossy Sticky-Back Photo Paper Has Colors Embedded Inside for Amazing Resistance to Water, Smudges & Tears
  • UNIQUE FILTERS, FRAMES & FLAIR Customize Your Snaps with Cool Editing Tools on the Free HP App. Apply Stickers, Borders & Emojis, Share Albums.

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer

Bottom Line

For those on the move looking to bring a touch of creativity and immediacy to their photo sharing, the HP Sprocket proves itself as a worthy companion. It promises a good balance of fun, function, and portability.

While not replacing professional printing solutions, it certainly finds its niche for instant, decorative prints. Consider adding this little gadget to your tech toolkit.

Capture the moments that matter and share them on the spot with the HP Sprocket.

Overview of the HP Sprocket Portable Instant Photo Printer

In a realm of digital convenience, the Sprocket from HP emerges as a charming companion for instant photography enthusiasts. This sleek device, exhibiting a minimalistic black noir design, easily earns its spot in the modern user’s pocket or backpack, tempting photo aficionados with the promise of printing vibrant snapshots on the fly.

The simplicity of connecting to the Sprocket via Bluetooth and the intuitive HP app sets it apart. It empowers users to swiftly transform digital moments into tangible 2”x3” sticky-backed photos, inviting creativity with a range of filters and embellishments. Moreover, its capacity to engage multiple friends in the photo printing activity makes it a sociable centerpiece at gatherings.

However, this ultra-portable printer isn’t without its limitations. It’s noticed that while the Zink paper ensures resistance to water and tears, the quality of the prints may not rival traditional photo printing methods. Occasional hiccups in print consistency could also pose a minor inconvenience. Yet, for those seeking the joy of instant physical snapshots with a user-friendly experience, this Sprocket maintains its appeal, bolstered by a strong battery life and easy rechargeability.

Zink Zero Ink Technology

The innovative Zink Zero Ink Technology is a standout feature, especially for those who cherish instant physical snapshots. This technology eliminates the need for ink cartridges, as the color required for printing is embedded into the Zink paper itself. The result? Smudge-proof, water-resistant, and tear-resistant photos, ideal for creating lasting memories without the hassle of traditional photo printing methods.

A point of convenience is the photos’ sticky-back design. If you’re looking to personalize your space or belongings, the prints are ready to be used as stickers. Despite the absence of ink, the colors produced are vibrant and capture moments with impressive clarity. That said, because the technology relies on a specific type of paper, users must ensure they stay stocked up on Zink paper to continue printing.

Although the print quality is generally high, it might not match the finish you would expect from professional printing services. However, for a compact, on-the-go printer like the HP Sprocket, Zink sufficiently delivers good quality, decorative prints straight from your smartphone, at any time and any place. The balance of its convenience and print quality makes Zink Technology a suitable solution for casual use at events and gatherings, where sharing memories instantly adds to the experience.

Customization with HP Sprocket App

The Sprocket app takes photo printing to a new level with its customization features. Users can personalize their photos before printing by applying a variety of filters, frames, and digital stickers. The interface is intuitive, so anyone can enhance their snapshots with a few taps.

Emojis and borders add fun flair to the images, and shared albums within the app facilitate collaborative experiences at gatherings. However, while the options can add an artistic touch, some might find the selection limited compared to full-fledged photo editing software.

The convenience of printing from multiple devices makes it a hit at social events, allowing friends to print and share their moments instantly. The app isn’t just a simple printer control tool; it’s a creative platform that encourages users to experiment and express themselves with their pictures. Despite its strengths, it’s worth noting the app relies heavily on a stable Bluetooth connection, which can occasionally be a hiccup in the seamless experience, especially when connecting multiple devices.

Ease of Connectivity and Shared Fun

In today’s digital world, the HP Sprocket makes printing social media snaps a breeze. This pocket-sized printer is designed to turn digital moments into physical keepsakes. The connectivity is seamless, utilizing Bluetooth technology to sync with various devices. Once paired with a smartphone, users can print their favorite photos directly from social media platforms or their camera roll.

The HP Sprocket app further enhances the experience by providing creative control through filters, stickers, and emojis. Its interface is user-friendly, ensuring a smooth process from editing to printing. Friends and family at gatherings can connect to the Sprocket simultaneously, transforming the printer into an interactive photo booth that adds a layer of fun to any event.

One minor downside noted by some users is the battery life, which may require frequent charging with heavy use. Despite this, the overall consensus is that the HP Sprocket offers an enjoyable and straightforward way to share memories instantly. Its compact size means it can travel almost anywhere, ready to capture life’s spontaneous moments.

Design and Portability

Upon handling this compact printer, it’s evident that HP prioritizes mobility. The Sprocket’s sleek black casing is not only visually appealing but also feels sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of travel. It’s lightweight, tipping the scales at just over 6 ounces, easily slipping into most bags or even a generous pocket. Its minimalist design fits seamlessly into any setting, whether it’s a cafe or a quick meet-up with friends.

The portability aspect shines with the built-in rechargeable battery, which supports printing of around 35 photos per charge—a substantial amount for an on-the-go gadget. The lack of cumbersome cords and the small form factor makes it especially handy for impromptu printing sessions right from one’s smartphone.

While HP designed the printer to be user-friendly and approachable, the absence of dual-sided printing might be a minor setback for those looking for that particular feature. Nevertheless, considering its intended use-case, which is quick and stylish prints on-the-go, it delivers admirably. The individual LED light is a thoughtful touch, adding to the personalized experience as it identifies the user currently printing.

In summary, the Sprocket’s design cleverly balances style, functionality, and convenience, making it an attractive choice for those needing to print their digital memories on the spot.

Pros and Cons

After having some hands-on time with the HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer, the experience has revealed a balanced perspective on its capabilities. The device demonstrates clear strengths and a few areas where expectations could fall short.


  • Portability: The HP Sprocket truly excels in its compact size, making it convenient to carry around, be it in a backpack, purse, or even a pocket.
  • Ease of Use: The setup process is straightforward, and the printing operation is user-friendly. The associated app enhances its usability, offering various editing features.
  • Innovative Technology: Utilizing Zink Zero Ink Technology, this printer requires no ink cartridges, and the photos are embedded with color for smudge and water resistance.
  • Connectivity: The ability to connect to multiple devices simultaneously is a valuable function, particularly during social occasions where guests can print instantly.
  • Quality Output: The photos produced are generally of good quality and the sticky-backed paper adds a fun and versatile element to the printing process.


  • Print Reliability: While printing works well a majority of the time, there are instances where image quality may not be consistent, which could be an inconvenience.
  • Battery Life: The battery life, although decent, might be limiting for users looking to print in high volumes without intermediate charging.
  • Durability of Photos: Even though photos are resistant to water and smudges, their longevity can be compromised if not protected properly over time.
  • Price of Consumables: While not excessively priced, the cost of Zink paper could add up for those who print frequently.
  • Initial Investment: Some may find the initial cost of the printer a bit steep, considering it as a dedicated photo printer that complements one’s existing tech ecosystem.

Customer Reviews

The HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer captures the essence of both convenience and technology in a small package. Users commonly praise its ease of setup and the quick printing capabilities, often highlighting the delight of printing around 100 photos without a hitch for various projects. It has also become a tech staple for many due to its portability and satisfactory print quality, making it a frequent mention among the best in its category. Enthusiasm isn’t limited to adults; families have noted the joy it brings to children by instantly bringing phone pictures to the palm of their hands. Though it’s mostly well-received, some users have encountered faulty units or less-than-ideal battery life. However, the affordability and general reliability for scrapbooking and image sharing appear to compensate for the occasional drawbacks. The practicality of consumables, meaning the paper isn’t prohibitively expensive, adds to the product’s appeal, and users often feel they’re getting good value. The Sprocket’s appeal extends to its user-friendly app and the durability of photos, with a caveat to protect them to maintain quality over time.


Having spent time with the HP Sprocket, it becomes clear that its compact size and the convenience it offers are its strongest selling points. This petite printer commands attention with its ability to produce 2×3″ photos that are both sticky-backed for easy display and boasting reputable color output. Set up and printing are fuss-free, indicative of the device’s user-friendly approach. It particularly shines during events or gatherings, offering instant physical snapshots of memories that are a hit with both children and adults.

However, it’s not without its challenges. A small percentage of users have reported issues with printer functionality, but these are generally resolved quickly. Taking into consideration both its price point and the cost of refills, the overall value proposition remains compelling.

For scrapbookers or those looking to bring their digital snapshots into the physical realm without the hassle of a full-sized printer, the HP Sprocket impresses. It bridges the gap between the ease of digital applications and the tangibility of printed photos, yet it’s important to note that like all prints, longevity of the images will depend on care and protection from the elements. In sum, the Sprocket from HP is a promising choice for instant printing needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the HP Sprocket’s print quality compare to other portable photo printers?

The HP Sprocket’s print quality stands robust among competitors in the portable photo printer market. It leverages Zink Zero Ink technology, which embeds color crystals in the paper that activate during printing, eliminating the need for ink cartridges. This technology provides good quality photos that are vivid and have a glossy finish, which is praised for being smudge-proof and water-resistant. However, some users note that the color accuracy and detail may not quite match the level of a professional photo printer.

What are the paper options available for the HP Sprocket 3×4, and how do they affect photo quality?

Users can purchase HP’s proprietary Zink Sticky-Backed Photo Paper, specifically designed for Sprocket printers. It is the only compatible paper which ensures optimal print quality, with photos having a bright, glossy finish, and durable resistance against water and smudges. It should be noted that using non-branded Zink paper may lead to a decline in the quality and longevity of photos.

Are there any common issues with photo quality when using the HP Sprocket printers?

While the Sprocket generally delivers good photo quality for a portable device, some users have reported occasional bouts with images appearing washed out or with less vibrant colors. Inconsistent print quality can sometimes occur if the printer has not been used for an extended period, potentially affecting the activation of color crystals in the Zink paper. Proper storing of the paper and regular printer use can help mitigate these issues.

Can you use the HP Sprocket without needing to replace ink cartridges?

Yes, indeed. The HP Sprocket series uses Zink technology which doesn’t require conventional ink cartridges. Colors are embedded within the paper itself, allowing the printer to produce quality photos without needing replacement cartridges. This is often highlighted as a convenience feature by users, effectively reducing running costs over time.

Has the HP Sprocket line been discontinued, or are there new models expected?

As of the current information available, the HP Sprocket line has not been discontinued. HP has released several models since its inception and has continued to support the product series. However, no official announcements have been made concerning new models expected in the future, so prospective buyers should monitor HP’s announcements for updates.

What are the differences in features between the HP Sprocket, Sprocket Plus, and Sprocket Studio?

  • Size and Portability: The original Sprocket is the most compact, easily fitting into a pocket or purse. The Plus offers a slightly larger print and the Studio is more stationary, designed for higher-quality prints.
  • Print Quality: The Studio boasts the highest print quality thanks to its use of traditional printing technology over Zink, resulting in superior photo clarity and color depth.
  • Paper Size: Sprocket and Sprocket Plus utilize 2×3 inches Zink paper, with the Plus version giving a larger printout. The Studio uses regular-sized glossy photo paper for larger, more traditional photo prints.
  • Battery Life: Both the original Sprocket and Sprocket Plus are battery-operated, offering portability and convenience, with a notable number of prints per charge. The Studio lacks an internal battery, requiring a power source, thus reducing its portability.
  • Functionality: All three have their own app for connecting and printing, but the Studio offers additional editing capabilities for enhancing photos before printing.

In summary, the HP Sprocket line of printers is suited for different preferences, from casual, on-the-go printing to more detailed, at-home photography projects. Users value the portability and the ease of use of the devices, along with their unique features and the zero-ink technology, despite some reports of variable photo quality.

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