Long gone are the days when you would have to wait to have your photos developed. Digital technology has made it so much easier to access your photos stored on your phone, tablet or in the cloud. It’s nice to have all your photos in one location, but many of us would like to have a physical photo we can hang on our photo board or share with friends.
In addition to the current options available for printing photos like home printers, and photo labs, more options are becoming available for portable printing.
What are the options for portable printers?
Most of the portable printers on the market are designed to print images straight from your mobile device.
HP Sprocket Plus Pocket Photo Printer
The HP Sprocket Plus is probably one of the most popular portable printer options on the market at the moment with its larger photo printing capability and quality. The world’s thinnest printer makes it easy to store or travel with giving you more opportunities to print on the run.
- Lightweight and compact and is approximately the size of your mobile phone
- Prints wirelessly
- Charged battery usually takes an hour and a half and will last for about 30 prints
- Prints use no ink but you will need to buy special HP paper
- Comes with app where you can edit, and enhance photos; apply filters and special effects; and connect to various social-media and cloud sites, such as Facebook and Google.
- Compatible with both iOS and Android
Downside: The printer uses Zink technology and requires special paper that is not super cheap to buy. For 20 sheets you are looking around 85 cents a sheet coming to a cost of $17 per pack. (NB: Head online to purchase paper at reduced prices)
PRICE: From $119
Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer
With instax cameras being a big hit, you can now use the Fujifilm technology to print your photos from your smartphone using the instax Mini Link Smartphone printer. The instax Mini Link also comes with an app where you can edit with borders, frames, collages and filters, as well as to print photos from videos, and uses Bluetooth connectivity for ease and convenience. With 2 modes to choose from, you can use mini Link as a printer or as a pre-production editor depending on your needs.
This is one of the most popular portable printers on the market at the moment.
- Fast and efficient, it can print in just 12 seconds after the image is sent from your smart device
- Offers different modes, such as Party Print, Frame Print, and Collage Print for customising your photos
- Video print allows you to turn a specific video timeframe to an image file
- Tilt the printer to zoom in and out of your chosen subject and use the power button to snap a shot
- It uses the same film as the instax camera
- Compatible with both iOS and Android
Downside: As with other portable printers the cost of the paper is high based on a cost per print basis. The cost for 20 sheets of instax film is $20 which is $1 a photo.
PRICE: From $164
Lifeprint 3×4.5 Hyperphoto Printer
Lifeprint is a Bluetooth photo and video printer for iPhone and Android that allows you to print and share photos and videos with friends and family all over the world. Although this printer is seen as more of a novelty than a must have, it has two great things going for it.
- The Size- Its 3-by-4.5-inch prints are larger than the wallet-size photos from similar printers.
- Hyperphoto printing- Hyperphotos come to life when viewed through the Lifeprint app. All you have to do is download the Lifeprint Smartphone app, select a photo or still frame from a video to print, edit from the editing tool, hit print after inserting sticky back photo paper into the printer, hold the printed photo, video, of GIF in front of your phone and watch the photo come to life.
The printer uses ZINK techonolgy (zero ink) and therefore no cartridges or printer ink have to be purchased. The photo paper itself is embedded with crystals, which turn to colors when exposed to heat. The cost of 40 sheets of paper is approx. $29.
If you like gimmicky technology then this is the printer for you. The augmentation feature will allow your photos to come alive similar to the Harry Potter “living photos”.
Downside: The print quality falls short of other portable printers
PRICE: From $149
Kodak Mini 2 HD Wireless Mobile Instant Printer
With a brand name that has been tried and tested for years, Kodak’s Mini 2 HD Wireless Mobile Instant printer is a popular printer amongst Kodak fans.
- It’s extremely compact measuring at 3 x 5.2 x 1 inches and weighing in at only 8.4 ounces and can fit in your handbag or pocket.
- Both NFC compatible as well as Bluetooth enabled.
- Printer contains a built-in 620 mAh lithium polymer battery that’s fully rechargeable.
- Printing a single photo is relatively fast and, in general, will take about 50 seconds.
- It uses 4Pass printing technology, or dye sublimation transfer, and is capable of printing up to 256 gradations or 16.7 million colors.
- The compatible Kodak cartridges come with both color and black ink, and the paper is completely water and fingerprint-proof.
- The Kodak Mini Printer App is available on the itunes and google play
Downside: The battery life only lasts for approx. 20 photos and therefore doesn’t match the capacity of some of the larger printer cartridges (ie 20, 30 or 50 sheet options)
PRICE: From $144
Polaroid ZIP Portable Mobile Photo Printer
The Polaroid ZIP Mobile Instant Printer allows you to print your favourite photos only moments after taking them. It wirelessly connects to your mobile devices to produce 2 x 3 inch full colour photo prints in a matter of seconds.
- Prints Directly from Your Mobile Phone or Tablet via Bluetooth™
- Works With PREMIUM Zink zero papers – ZINK Paper Means No Ink. No Hassles
- 2✕3“ Photos Are Full Color & Smudge-Proof, and Feature Peel-Back, Sticky Paper
- Your Purchase Includes a FREE Download of Polaroid ZIP App for iOS & Android
- Compact size is easy to take with you, anywhere
PRICE: From $197