When you talk about mini photo printers, portability and the convenience are the top priorities. All you need to have is a Bluetooth-enabled phone and a charged printer, and you are all ready to begin your photography adventures. Both the Kodak Mini Printer and HP Sprocket 200 follow the same principles — they are small and portable. Plus, they print pretty decent pictures.
However, one thing that is not common is the price. The older Kodak Mini Printer is selling for $55.00 on Amazon, the second generation of the HP printer, aptly named HP Sprocket 200, is priced slightly higher at $78.54.
And this begets the question if the Sprocket 200 portable photo printer is worth the upgrade, or should you stick to the older Kodak Mini?
Well, that’s what we are going to find out in this post today when we compare the Kodak Mini Printer against the Sprocket 200.
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As we mentioned above, the small pocket-sized design is the crux of these printers. Another thing that is of utmost importance is its weight. Thankfully, the Mini is light and doesn’t weigh much. It weighs about 8.3 ounces, meaning that you can easily carry it around. If we were to talk numbers, it measures roughly 7.5 x 3.8 x 2 inches.
Though the Mini is available in three different colors, at the end of the day, it resembles a rectangular brick. On the upside, the metallic finish on one of the color variant does its bit to boost its looks. Plus, there are two indicator lights to notify you about the power and battery level.
On the other hand, the HP Sprocket 200 is slightly smaller than its counterpart. It measures 4.6 x 3.1 x 1 inches roughly and weighs about 6.1 ounces. However, the feature that I love about it the most is its looks.
The body has neat little design at the top, which undoubtedly gives it a trendy (and pretty) look. Other then that, the LED indicators notify you of simple operations like printing, charging, or when the battery is full.
While most photo printers connect via Bluetooth, the Mini lets you connect over Wi-Fi and NFC. All you have to do is switch it on and connect the printer to your phone via the direct Wi-Fi network. Other then that, the Mini comes equipped with NFC. So if you have a compatible Android phone, you can tap it against the printer to connect it.
On the other hand, the HP Sprocket 200 comes with Bluetooth 5.0. Setting this printer is as easy as pairing it to the Bluetooth of your phone.
Once you download the Sprocket app, you’ll be shown the recent pictures on your phone. However, this one doesn’t support NFC, and Bluetooth is the only way to connect it to the printer.
When it comes to battery life, the Sprocket 200 comes with a 550mAh battery. That should be sufficient to give you around 10 prints. Hence, it’s advisable to keep it off when not in use; else the printer will drain the battery.
Thankfully, the app comes with a feature called Auto-off, which shuts down the device after a certain time. That said, I would urge you to be careful with the battery as the reviews about the battery life aren’t that great. If you switch it on only when you need to use it, then you do not have to worry about it much.
It features a micro USB port for charging it, and the good news is that even if the printer runs out of juice, you can still use it while hooked to a power source.
Similar to that, the Mini can also be charged via a micro USB cable and usable while charging. However, many users have reported the battery going for a toss as a majority of users are complaining about the printer refusing to charge completely.
So unless you are planning to use it for an outdoor event, a good plan would be to keep it hooked to a power source while using it. I know, it defeats the purpose of a ‘portable’ printer. But seeing the battery complaints, this is the only way forward if you choose to buy it.
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When it comes to the printing mechanism, both printers use different technologies. While the Kotak Mini uses D2T2 (Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer), the Sprocket uses Zink paper to print photos.
If you must know, D2T2 technology carrying printers use four passes to print. When the first layer is printed, the device pulls back the photo paper and puts the second layer, and so on it goes till the fourth layer is reached.
Naturally, this process takes its own time to spit out the photos. As per the folks at PC Mag, an 2 x 3-inch print took more than a minute to print. So, if you’re looking to print photos quickly (such as photo booth sessions), this printer is certainly not the one for the job.
Interestingly, the HP Rocket uses Zink technology to print photos. This hassle-free printing technology uses heat to add color and develop the picture instantly. Hence, you get the photos and pictures out immediately (takes around 35-40 seconds). Plus, Zink photo papers are adhesive-backed, waterproof and smudge-resistant.
Let me make one point clear at first. It would be wrong to expect a portable printer to eke out laser printer-like quality. That said, the photo quality shouldn’t be bad either. You should at least be able to put these wallet-sized photos up on the fridge or send them to your friends as a gift.
When it comes to the HP Sprocket, the printer manages to output fairly good photos. The only thing is that the colors are slightly lean towards the darker spectrum.
On the other hand, the Mini’s prints are slightly on the light side. So yes, if you have a photo taken in bright daylight, you can expect some of the areas to be overexposed.
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Which One Should You Buy?
Overall, the HP Sprocket 200 has managed to rake in pretty good reviews so far. Though this is a fairly new product, it has managed to grab around 4.1 stars out of 5 stars on Amazon (total 120 reviews). However, it’s worth noting that the Zink photo paper can be a little on the expensive side, in the long run (i.e., if you print more often).
A refill pack starts at around $10. The performance is up to the mark, and so is the companion app and the connectivity. Plus, the printed top is the cherry on top.
On the other hand, though the Kodak Mini looks great on paper, the user reviews tell a different story. On Amazon, this portable printer has a rating of 3.2 stars out of 5, with just over 46% of 5-star reviews. Hopefully, the second generation of the Kodak Mini 2 lives up to the expectation.
Next up: In a switch between the Canon IVY CLIQ and the Fuji Instax Mini 9? Learn all about it in the post below.