Instant photo printers give you the instant gratification of printing a tiny photo in the blink of an eye. No kidding. These small and compact printers connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth or WI-Fi and can print any photo from your phone's photo gallery. The easy setup and print process also make them great gadgets for kids who love photography. Of course, you won't get the same quality as you'd get in a laser printer, but you get the convenience of carrying these instant photo printers just about anywhere.
As long as the battery is full and the printer has full papers inside, you are in the safe.
So if you are planning to get an instant photo printer this holiday season, here are our top recommendations.
The Kodak Step printer is one of the inexpensive printers of the lot. And for its price, it delivers good-quality photos. It utilizes ZINK (or Zero Ink) tech to process the photos. The photos in question measure 2 x 3-inches. The best part about ZINK photos is their adhesive backs, which you can peel off and stick on any surface.
The printer is small and lightweight, and this makes it easy to carry it around. The photos are clear, and the color is just about right for the photo quality. However, the brightness is a little off, and several users have noted this in their reviews.
On the upside, the Kodak Step printer churns out photos nice and quick. A single printout takes about a minute, and that's a huge plus.
This is a good pick if your priority is printing photos fast and quick (and less about quality).
One of the advantages that the HP Sprocket 200 brings to the table is its Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. Bluetooth 5.0 brings a better range and stability to the foyer. At the same time, this printer supports three active connections.
The best part of this printer is its looks. Thanks to the curved edges and the quirky patterns at the top, this one looks trendy and cool. Plus, It's lightweight and barely weighs 6 ounces.
It manages to develop pretty good photos. The sharpness is a tad on the lower end; however, the photos are good enough to stick to the fridge's door.
A 550mAh rechargeable battery powers it, and a fully charged battery should see you through ten prints.
The Instax SP-3 instant printer stands out from the current crop of instant printers. For one, it churns out quirky 2.5-inch square prints. Secondly, the angular trapezoidal-shaped body looks rather unusual compared to the conventional square or rectangular printers. More importantly, the SP3 can connect to Wi-Fi which means you can print the photos directly through the companion app.
Another ink-free instant printer that you can have a look at is the Kodak Mini Retro 3. This one churns out square 3 x 3-inches photos. The Mini Retro 3 doesn't have Wi-Fi and uses Bluetooth to establish phone or tablet connection.
The Mini Retro 3 uses 4PASS tech to print the photos. As the name implies, the 4PASS D2T2 dye transfer method uses 4 passes to develop photos. Compared to ZINK tech, this tech needs a little longer to print the photos.
Photos printed are decent, and they appear clear and sharp. And as suggestive of its name, it has a slight yellow tinge that gives a retro vibe. That said, some users have reported the printer of abnormal jobs once in a while.
But at the end of the day, if you want a 100% reliable photo printer that churns out prints by the minute, this is not the one for you.
If you do not want to gamble with the photo quality and want the best possible quality in an instant printer, then the Polaroid Mint is the one for you. It prints beautiful images with the right color and contrast levels. More importantly, the photos are clear. For the record, it uses ZINK tech to print.
It's easy to set up and use. Like the ones above, you can select the photos directly from your phone. And yes, the companion app lets you experiment with filters as well. The Mini churns out 2 x 3-inch photos.
The connection is stable, and the zero-ink tech ensures that all your dealings with this printer are mess-free. The printer is rectangular and lightweight. The good thing is that it's available in a range of attractive colors.
The Instax Mini Link Wide is the newest instant printer in this lot and is the only printer in this list that lets you print photos in wide format. It's one of the few printers that uses instant film to print photos. And well, similar to the one above, you can connect your phone via Bluetooth to print photos.
One of the many things which makes the Instax Mini Link Wide different from the rest is its size. Owing to the large print, the printer in itself is large. And the odds are that it won't fit into trouser pockets. That said, the battery life is satisfactory, and a full battery will yield around 100 photos.
The Instax Mini Link Wide gives you two options to select - Rich and Natural. If you want sharper images, you'd have to go with the former naturally. That said, the Link Mini Wide delivers one of the best picture quality compared to its competition. The photos appear crisp and sharp, and you will love the color contrast, especially when compared to Zink prints.
The only limitation of this printer is its size and somewhat its weight. It weighs approximately 12 ounces.
It's a fairly new printer and will be available soon.
Also on Guiding Tech
First things first, the quality of instant printers rarely matches the laser-sharp quality of dedicated photo printers. But they let you print instantly, whether you are out on a hike or a picnic by the sea. That can be quite fun, especially when teaching photography to children.
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