Talk about portable photo printers, and you will stumble upon the two popular models — Polaroid Zip and HP Sprocket 200. These two wireless photo printers took the world by storm with their convenient way of printing photos directly from a phone.
Yeah, you simply need to pair it to your phone and print away. Both use Zink photo paper, thereby removing the hassle of buying ink cartridges and toners.
While the Polaroid Zip has been around for quite some time, the latter has been launched recently as a revised edition to the already popular HP Sprocket.
The revised version comes at a slightly bumped price tag. The HP Sprocket 200 costs $129, while the Polaroid Zip retails at $99.77. That made even us wonder whether the price difference is worth it. Or should you stick to the old (yet popular) printer?
Well, that’s what we're going to find out in this comparison between the Polaroid Zip and the HP Sprocket 200 photo printers today.
Let’s get going!
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Design and Setup
These printers are meant to be pocket-friendly. And true to it, they measure around 3x4 inches, making them super pocketable. The body is made of plastic, but rest assured that the printer doesn't look cheap. Plus, the newer HP Sprocket 200's body has pretty designs at the top which give it a trendy look.
There are LED indicators on the body, that would notify you of operations like printing, battery full, charging, etc.
Other than that, the setup process is the same on both the printers. You’d need to download the respective apps and pair your phone to the printer via Bluetooth. Simple.
The Zink photo paper goes on the top. So you'd need to slide off the top to slip the packet into the cavity inside.
Wireless connectivity is an important aspect of any portable printer since they do not have the option of wired connectivity. Though both the printers connect via Bluetooth, the HP Sprocket 200 has the advantage of Bluetooth 5.0. That enables faster transfers and lets you have multiple connections (three devices).
So, if you and your friends are planning to print a few photos, it is now possible. Also, thanks to Bluetooth 5.0, the printing time has also reduced. The folks at Trusted Reviews say it takes around 35-40 seconds per print.
On the other hand, the Polaroid Zip comes with Bluetooth 3.0, and each print job takes around 50 seconds. Furthermore, there’s no option to pair multiple devices at a time.
When it comes to user experience, the reaction has been mixed so far for the Polaroid Zip. While it has worked fine for many users, the experience wasn’t the same for all.
Also, the Polaroid Zip boasts of NFC connectivity. With it, you can tap your device to the top of the printer to connect and launch the app.
It would be wrong to expect a portable printer to eke out professional studio quality prints. That too when these products are more suitable for casual occasions like parties and photo booth sessions.
Also, since both the printers use Zink's thermal printing technology, the resulting photos do not have a laser printer-like quality. That said, the photo quality isn’t bad either. However, expect the color to be a bit on the darker shades.
When it comes to user experiences, the reviews have been a mixed bag. But thankfully, many think that the quality suffices the purpose.
Being a new product, the HP Sprocket 200 has lesser reviews. However, the ones available so far praise the printer for its photo quality.
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Being a product made for casual occasions, both the companion apps come bundled with all the apt features like stickers, funky borders, and filters. Before printing out the photos, you'd need to spend a little amount of time in tweaking it, and you'd have a 2x3 print with you in no time.
You can club a bunch of photos together in the app to form a collage.
The HP printer goes a step ahead and lets you divide photos into grids, thereby enabling you to create photo mosaics.
Now comes the most critical aspect of any portable device: how long does the battery last on a single charge?
The Polaroid photo printer’s battery lasts for about 25 prints. And if you are not using it in between your photo sessions, it’s best to keep it switched off.
On the contrary, the battery life reviews regarding the HP mini printer haven’t been great so far. It seems users are satisfied with it.
Thankfully, both the printers can be recharged via a power cord. The charge time for the Polaroid Zip is around 1.5 hours, while the HP Sprocket 200 takes approximately 2 hours to charge.
Which One Should You Buy?
Frankly, both the printers are almost at par with each other. Both do the job as advertised, and make perfect accessories for social events. However, if I were to choose between the two, I would side with the older and trusted Polaroid Zip printer.
But if you're not within a tight budget and can spend 20 bucks more, you can buy the upgraded HP Sprocket to taste the slightly faster connectivity and the multiple connection options. To add to it, it looks a bit stylish.
Furthermore, the only consumable that you have to worry about is photo paper packs. A pack of 30 costs around $15. Also, you can experiment with other options like rainbow color borders and the likes.
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