The world of photography and cameras has seen drastic shifts in the last decade. However, our love for printed photos remains unchanged. Call it nostalgia, but seeing a small framed picture on top of your mantle or pasted on your fridge door brings an altogether different emotion.
And the best thing is that you do not need an expensive top-tier printer to print the photos from your phones. All you need is a portable photo printer that can connect to your phone, and the rest will be a cakewalk.
Apart from being incredibly easy to handle, these mini photo printers are cost-effective than their desktop counterparts. Most of these printers let you connect via Bluetooth and works equally well with iPhones and Android phones.
Lastly, the companion apps let you tweak the photos as per your choice, without the need to install third-party photo editing apps. Interesting, right?
So, if you are on the market looking for portable photo printers, we curated a list of best such options for you.
Note: While the first four items are mini printers, the rest two are traditional (and compact) printers.
The HP Sprocket 200 measures just about 4.6 x 3.1 x 1-inches and weighs about 6.1 ounces, making it perfect for carrying in your pocket if not in your backpack. This small and flat printer provides a quirky pattern at the top, giving it a trendy look. Speaking of the specs, it features Bluetooth 5.0 and lets you connect the printers to multiple phones.
The Sprocket 200 uses ZINK technology to print small 2 x 3-inch photos. For those unaware, this is a zero-ink printing technology that uses heat to colorize and develop the picture instantly. Though these papers are waterproof and smudge resistant, they tend to be a tad darker when compared to actual photo printers. On the upside, ZINK prints are easy to stick on walls or fridge doors, since the photo papers are adhesive-backed.
Again, setting up the Sprocket app is simple and easy. You have to pair the printer to the phone. Once the connection is established, you’ll be able to access the photos on your phone. After you are done selecting the filters, hit the print button and the print will be ready in no time.
This printer comes with a rechargeable battery of 550mAh. And though HP hasn’t given a clear idea how long a single full charge will last, the guys at Trusted Reviews think that a fully-charged Sprocket 200 should be able to give you around 10 prints.
That's not all. The printer can also print when connected to a power outlet.
Another slightly older but reliable printer is the Canon IVY. This printer comes with a 500mAh battery and Bluetooth connectivity. In terms of looks, it resembles a miniature scanner. Setting up the Canon IVY is a piece of cake. Simply download the Canon Mini Print app first and pair it to the printer. From then on, you can print all you like via this app.
Though it uses ZINK technology to print photos, the prints are bright. It's this feature that pushes it above the HP Sprocket 200. It has amassed a rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 with over 76% positive reviews, and most users seem to appreciate the photo quality.
Plus, the app also comes with an interesting feature called Tiling. This one lets you divide a photo into 4-9 tiles. You can print all the small tiles to create a single large image.
However, IVY has some limitations. For one, the 500mAh battery dissipates quickly and barely lasts more than 10 prints. On the upside, it does not keep you waiting for a long time as the topping it up takes only around 90 minutes.
Another portable photo printer that packs both power and capability is the Kodak Mini 2 HD. This one not only produces decent photos for its price but also bundles a couple of additional wireless capabilities. The inclusion of both NFC and Bluetooth makes it perfect to be used with both Android phones and iPhones. Plus, using the app to print photos is a charm.
It uses the 4PASS D2T2 dye transfer method to print. Here, a photo undergoes four passes, and quite obviously, it usually takes more time than a single pass printing tech. But thankfully, the Mini 2 HD is not excessively slow and takes about 50 seconds for a single image.
Coming to the photo quality, it's decent enough for the price. The images are colorful. However, don't expect it to match to that of laser printers. On the bright side, the quality is better than ZINK photo papers, and the same point has been put forward by several users on Amazon. As one of the users points out, "The quality of the pictures come out really nice."
However, the Mini 2 HD has a couple of limitations. For instance, the built-in 620 mAh battery takes about 1.5 hours to charge, which is a lot of time, considering that you will mainly take it out for outdoor events.
Plus, it can print only about 20 photos before it needs a recharge. Plus, Kodak's ink cartridges come in either 20, 30, or 50 sheet options, and a pack of 20 costs about $14.99.
The Instax Mini Link is one of the newest printers in the market today and was launched in October 2019. And well, it brings the fun back in printing photos, thanks to its dual combination of Fun Mode and Print Mode. It's a small printer, and you can carry it on your hands, just like a smartphone. And the texture at the top makes it easy to grip the phone. It uses Bluetooth to establish a connection and can connect up to 5 phones at a time.
And that's not all. This tiny printer goes by the motto of wriggle, wherein it switches to the Fun Mode when you lay it down. And if you keep it upright, it will enter the Print Mode.
Okay, I have been going on and on about the Fun Mode. So what is it? For starters, it automatically adds frames, graphics, and stickers to the tiny 2.4 x 1.8 -inches photos when you switch to it. In fact, if five of your friends are connected to it, it can print a single photo by combining elements from all the five photos. Interesting, right?
It has a sizeable battery, and a single charge can give you around 100 photo prints, making it perfect for the holidays or any outdoor events.
So far, it has managed to rake in pretty good reviews. Out of the 57 reviews, 82% of them are positive and speak highly of its easy-to-use (and fun) features. It uses Instax Mini film to print the photos, and the photo quality is great for the price.
The resulting pictures are neither too dark nor too bright. If you are looking for a modern portable printer, this is the one.
The Canon Selphy CP1300 is a traditional printer, and its highlight is its compact shape. It measures barely 2.5 x 7 x 5.4 inches and weighs around 2.5 pounds. And the best part is that you do not have to worry about wires and cords. For an additional charge, you can invest in a battery and make it truly portable. On a single charge, the battery can last up to 54 prints per charge, making it ideal for photo booth events and family picnics.
Plus, the Selphy CP1300 can print regular-sized images that can go up to 4 x 6-inches. It also comes with a 3.2-inch non-touch color LCD screen, which makes it easy to navigate menus and settings.
Unlike the printers above, this printer uses Thermal Dye Sublimation to deliver the prints. Though it takes time, the good thing is that the photo quality is usually better the ZINK prints. Its excellent print quality (for its price) has been spoken of highly of several users on Amazon.
At the same time, setting it up is a straightforward process and gets done pretty quickly, something which has been voiced by several users. This portable photo printer has amassed 4.7-stars out of 5, with over 80% positive reviews.
Apart from printing via the mobile app, the Selphy CP1300 also give you the option to print via SD cards and thumb drives. And the little screen, that we mentioned above, helps you select and print.
A slightly bigger printer is the HP OfficeJet 250. This again is a traditional printer and is meant for you if you are looking to print high-res images for photo frames. It is a step above the printers mentioned above, and the good thing is that it measures just about 15-inch in width and about 3.6-inch in height. It has key connectivity features such as Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi Direct. On top of that, you can use the HP Smart app for wireless printing and scanning. And the touch screen at the top makes it convenient to tweak the settings.
It's portable and takes around 90 minutes to charge. Plus, a single charge can go a long time, depending on how often you use it.
The print quality is great and is perfect for printing sharp photos and documents, thanks to the print resolution of 4800 x 1200 DPI. The photos appear colorful, vivid, and well-detailed and far exceed the quality of the mini printers.
In addition to that, it's incredibly easy to set up and is fast.
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So, which printer will you choose? Will you go with one that uses ZINK printing technology, or will you go with the 4PASS D2T2 dye transfer technology? But if you ask me, I am all in for one that uses traditional film. What say?
Next up: Should you go with a digital camera or an instant camera? Read the comparison between the Canon IVY CLIQ and Fuji Instax Mini 9 to find which technology is meant for you.