Unfortunately, the HP Sprocket produced what some might describe as cringe-worthy photos. Despite decent resolution for this size photograph, the color images were cast in magenta and had bleeding along the borders. As for the black and white, let's just say that we would recommend a different mini printer for printing in grayscale. We like the app that controls the printer, as it allows you to print from your phone and stack up multiple photos in the queue.Editor's Note: We updated this HP Sprocket review on March 28, 2022, with a new take on value and to provide additional suggestions for other high-performing photo printers.
HP Sprocket Review
Pros: Passable resolution, multi-photo queue, adhesive photo paper
Cons: Magenta color cast, overall poor quality grayscale, microbanding
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|Pros||Passable resolution, multi-photo queue, adhesive photo paper||Consistent color, easy set-up, broad format options||Easy to use, decent resolution, prints common sizes||User-friendly, sharp images, affordable, playful||Convenient, simple, inexpensive, bluetooth connectivity|
|Cons||Magenta color cast, overall poor quality grayscale, microbanding||Microbanding in grayscale, relatively low definition in dark areas||Microbanding in larger formats, off skin tones, over saturation||Limited print sizes, limited tray capacity||Relatively low resolution, single print dimension|
|Bottom Line||This mini printer rendered some of the poorest quality photos in the review||This low-cost, full-sized machine delivers high-end results||An easy to use mid-size printer at a good price||This portable printer kicks out quality 4" x 6" prints anytime, anywhere||This portable printer captures the fun of the old Polaroid cameras but with a fresh twist|
|Rating Categories||HP Sprocket||Epson Expression HD...||Canon PIXMA TR4520||Canon SELPHY CP1300||Canon IVY|
|Black and White (35%)|
|Print Capabilities (15%)|
|Operating Cost (10%)|
|Set up (5%)|
|Specs||HP Sprocket||Epson Expression HD...||Canon PIXMA TR4520||Canon SELPHY CP1300||Canon IVY|
|Resolution (dots per inch)||313 x 400||5760 x 1440||4800 x 1200||300 x 300||314 x 400|
|Max photo dimensions||2" x 3"||13" x 44"||8" x 10"||4" x 6"||2" x 3"|
|Cost per print (4" x 6" or mini print)||$0.50||$0.45||$0.58||$0.43||$0.50|
|Machine dimensions||1" x 3.2" x 4.6"||6.3" x 18.7" x 14.5"||7.5" x 17.2" x 11.7"||2.5" x 7.1" x 5.4"||0.7" x 3.2" x 4.7"|
|Printing technology||In paper, thermal-activated dye||Inkjet (Piezo DOD)||Inkjet (Theromal DOD)||Inkjet (Dye- sublimation)||In paper, thermal-activated dye|
|Print time per 4" x 6" (or mini print)||39 seconds||34 seconds||128 seconds||51 seconds||40 seconds|
|Color palette (ink cartridges)||N/A||Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Gray, Red||Black plus color cartridge||N/A||N/A|
|Battery||Yes||No||No||Yes (sold separately)||Yes|
|Memory cards supported||N/A||N/A||N/A||SD, SDHC, SDXC, miniSD, miniSDHC, microSD microSDHC and microSDXC||N/A|
|Ink type||N/A||Dye-based||Pigment (black) and dye-based (color)||Dye-based||N/A|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth||iPad, iPhone and Android tablets, Alexa and smartphones; Ethernet networking, andard Connectivity:
Hi-Speed USB, USB Host, Wireless 802.11 b/g/n5, Wi-Fi Direct 5, Ethernet 10/100
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n wireless networking, 2.4 GHz)
|Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN, 2.4 GHz, IEEE 802.11b/g)
Memory Card Slot
PictBridge (USB) & Wireless PictBridge (Wireless LAN)
Hi-Speed USB (Cable not included)
USB Flash Memory
|Operating system requirements||Android, iOS||Windows 10 8/8.1/Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Windows Vista (32-bit , 64-bit)
Mac OS X 10.6.8 — macOS 10.12.x6
|Windows:20 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 SP1, Mac:21
Mac OS X v10.10.5 - macOS v10.13 (High Sierra)
Mobile Operating Systems:22 iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile, and Fire OS (Amazon Fire) devices
|Windows:12 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows 7 SP1
Mac:13 Mac OS X v10.10.x - macOS v10.12 (Sierra)
Mobile Operating Systems:14 iOS, Android™, Windows 10 Mobile, Amazon Fire devices15
|Scanner||No||No||Yes (bed and feed)||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We were not impressed with this machine. The prints looked abysmal when comparing their photos to desktop models. The Sprocket's test images were unsatisfactory even among mini printers. Suffice it to say, there are better options within this model's price range.
We like the mini printer concept. We think that a picture is not a photograph until you print it, and mini printers like this one make that easier than ever. Additionally, we like that you can do some creative edits on your phone before printing.
Another check in the pro column for the HP Sprocket — and mini printers in general — is that it is easy to set-up. The process is as simple as downloading an app onto your phone and connecting to the printer via Bluetooth. That's it.
Simply put, this printer did not fare well in our evaluations. Its color renditions were pretty bad, and the black and white test images came out looking bazaar. Suffice it to say that this machine is not cut out for printing in grayscale.
Should You Buy the HP Sprocket?
We don't have much positive to say about this printer except that it is a fun and fairly inexpensive way to get pics off your mobile device and into the hands of loved ones. If you're shopping for a mini printer, this review has better devices for about the same price.
What Other Photo Printers Should You Consider?
The HP Sprocket is in the same price range as mini printers rendering much higher quality images, so we do not find it to be a very good value. The award-winning Canon IVY — our top choice for a mini printer — costs less than this model. Similarly, for less money, you could even step up to a mid-sized model like the Canon PIXMA TR4520.
— Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer
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