Smartphone Photo Printer Hp Sprocket in Test

Printing as simple as post is the requirement of the HP Sprocket, a mini-printer for the smart phone. The test shows whether and how this is done.

The HP Sprocket is a portable printer that you can and should carry with you via PrinterHall. Therefore, it is only about the size of an external 2.5-inch hard drive and weighs just over 170 grams. ZINK is used as printing technology. The abbreviation stands for “Zero Ink” and makes clear that the technique does not need ink. This makes the compact dimensions of the device possible. The color pigments lie in layers in the paper and can be activated by thermal impulses-ie different temperatures. The technique is not new. The patent lies with Zink Imaging, a subsidiary of Polaroid, and is also used, for example, in the printer Polaroid ZIP Instant Photo Printer.

Test Conclusions : Hp Sprocket

The HP Sprocket mobile print engine is so handy that it can easily be stored in your pocket or even in your pocket. The highlight of the device is the app with the same name, with which the photos can be edited before printing and thus customized. It is still at the beginning, we notice the number of motifs, frames or filters. For now, funny stories can be created. Therefore, it is safe to work while working. We find particularly good that the changed pictures can be stored and uploaded in social networks. You do not need to print them to hold them. Because the single expression is expensive. This also applies to the printer itself. Overall, however, the HP Sprocket is a gadget, which at parties is absolutely in a good mood.



easy to use

App for image processing


Expensive expression

Only one paper type

Commissioning Of The Hp Sprocket

The connection between printer and smartphone works via Bluetooth 3.0, the control via the free app HP Sprocket, which is available for Android and iOS in the respective stores.To put the printer into operation, we first load the app onto the mobile device. If we open it, we will see how the paper is inserted correctly into the printer, the printer turns on, and the Bluetooth connection between the printer and the smartphone is established. The demo can be skipped, but appears only once in the test and is useful for commissioning.

HP Sprocket Photo Printer at Amazon

To load the paper, slide the cover back slightly and lift the lid off. A maximum of ten sheets are included in the paper tray. The bottom sheet in the stack must be a blue paper, the “Smartsheet”. Once the first print is started, it first exits. It is used to clean and calibrate the printer. This is followed automatically by the first print.

This process should be repeated every time the paper is changed so as to maintain the print quality of the sprocket. In the test, the operation works smoothly. If the paper is used up, the printer does not register itself. Rather, a message appears in the app saying, “Insert paper with the included SmartSheet to continue printing.” If the sprocket has returned to paper we start the print job again.

Battery And Power Management

Since the printer is to be used on the road, a Litium-Polymer battery with 500 mAh is integrated in the device. It can be charged via USB . A Micro-USB interface is available on the Sprocket. The charging cable with USB type A plug is included and can be plugged into a computer or a corresponding power supply, which is not included in the scope of delivery.

Full charging takes about ninety minutes. During the test we did not get the battery completely empty. However, after the printing of six photos, the battery has already decreased by about one-fifth. This would theoretically be about 30 photos per battery charge. This can only be a rough guideline, because a battery is not linear.

To extend the mileage, the Sprocket provides power management settings. In the factory settings, it automatically switches off after five minutes of standby. The Bluetooth connection to the mobile device is also disconnected. The time interval can be changed in the app. The choice is three, five or ten minutes. This is praiseworthy, because you are not always going to print something. However, you can also disable the energy management if the sprocket is to remain permanently switched on during a party. In this case, you should also take the charging cable with you.

More Than One Printing App

Only the app “HP Sprocket” turns the mobile printer into a real fun gadget. Because we can not just print photos from social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Instagram or our own pictures, but also edit them. The application offers such as filters, frames and stickers. At the same time, cut-outs can be defined and additional text can be added. For example, from a photo of a bouquet of flowers, an individual greeting for a birthday or a landscape shot will be a comic drawing. The processed images can be uploaded directly from the app to the social networks or stored in the photo app. We do not need to print them to archive them.

When selecting pictures, which are on the mobile device, the app requires a strong fingerprint, otherwise we get the error message that the image can not be loaded. For this, the editing in the test works very well: If we apply filters, they are immediately displayed in the preview. Let’s put motifs or text boxes in the pictures, let them resize and rotate. The latter is important, for example, to correctly display text in cross-format images. With the fingerprint on the check mark, we save the edited image. It can then be further edited, for example if the inserted motif does not fit or the filter does not like in retrospect.

However, the processing possibilities are currently still limited. There are only a limited number of subjects such as stars, hearts, or animal figures at the time of testing. The selection of filters and frames is still manageable at the moment. It is hoped that future updates will expand the creative tools.

Print Quality And Speed Of The Hp Sprocket

The highest quality demands in photoprint are certainly not justified by the mobile printer. But he delivers edgeless photos whose coloring is harmonious. With dark pictures he has his difficulties. Here, details are easily lost. The brighter and stronger the color of the photo, the better the printed versions. However, you always have to cut back from the brightly-resolving display of the mobile device to the printed image. We notice that the print quality decreases in the course of a paper stack. Therefore it makes sense to carry out the recommended cleaning with the Smartsheet before every paper change.

The print speed of the HP Sprocket is only a side slot. Because here the fun is the main focus, not the fast processing of pressure jobs. On average, we measure 45 seconds for an expression. Compared to classical printers, this is a medium pace, but it is quite fast in the world of small mobile printers.

Consumption Of The Hp Sprocket

Only specialty paper may be placed in the mobile printer. The print format is also set to 2 x 3 inches (5 x 7.6 cm). There is no room for maneuver. At the moment HP offers only one variant – the HP Zink Sprocket photo paper with self-adhesive back. The packages have a content of 20 sheets and cost 12.00 euros at the test time. This results in 60 cents for a photo print – which is not exactly favorable. After all, the self-adhesive photos can be removed from the surface without residue if we do not pull them too quickly.