Portable Printers: HP Sprocket or FUJIFILM SP-2
If you take anywhere near as many photos as I do, you'd understand the struggle of limited phone space and the constant need to delete photos to make way for new memories. Of course by doing so, you end up deleting moment you may want to look back on someday. My phone's earliest photo starts at 2016, which means I really don't have anything to look further back on (I don't have a Facebook account where I upload special moments, and my Instagram is dedicated to blogging). Currently, I have 2900 photos (accumulated from the past two years) on my phone, and chances are I'm not going to reminisce on these moment directly through my phone because it's just plain messy and frankly overwhelming to browse through.
I figured this was a problem when I attempted to find photos from a past event, only to realize I deleted all but 2. My solution in the past was to create a scrapbook, but that ended pretty quickly when I realized how much I hated going out of my way to get my photos printed (truly a first one problem).
Three months ago, I came across an Instagram ad for the HP Sprocket and thought wow, this is what my lazyass needs (granted, I saw the Fujifilm SP-2 half a year earlier when browsing for photo equipment at Henry's, but decided against it after I saw the price tag). With that being said, I did pull the trigger on the HP Sprocket first, mainly because it was more affordable. After a month of using the Sprocket, I fell in love with the idea of a portable printer that I knew I had to get my hands on the SP-2 as well. Having both printers now and the chance to test the difference, today I'll be going through the Pros and Cons for both printers through a comparison review.
Note all price point discussed are listed in CAD and are based on what the Canadian market is selling for.
Dimensions The HP Sprocket is the smaller and lighter of the two, coming in at 11.5cm x 7.5cm x 2cm. It's compact size (comparable to a wallet) makes it very travel friendly. Variations This printer is available for purchase in three colours: gold and white, red or black. When I purchased this printer at Best Buy, the only colour option available was white and gold. I suggest purchasing the printer directly online for the other two colours.
Price Coming in at only $159.99, the Sprocket is more affordable. Their film is also cheaper in comparison coming in at $11.99 for a pack of 20, with each film costing roughly over half a dollar.
Film The film's dimension stands at 5cm x 7.6cm and claims to be smudge proof, water proof and tear resistance (which I can agree to). What I love most about their film, is the fact that it prints out super flat, as it is designed to be used as a sticker. Personally, I use a sketchbook as my scrapbook because I like the solid cover and thick white pages. The only downside of using a sketchbook is that there's not much leeway when it comes to how thick you can stack each page. However, with the stickers made relatively thin, the book remains flat. The flatness of the sticker allows users to write on the back page easily (oppose to having an awkward bump to write over with other films). With the sticker format, application is extremely hassle free, even on the go, as you could print and stick without the need of extra supplies.
Ink There is no need to buy ink because the ZINK Photo paper develops the colour through their own film. Upon printing, the colour immediately develops.
Photo Quality Initially, I was a little disappointed by the quality because the photo did not come out as crisp as I had hope, even on DSLR quality photos. It was surprising to see that when printed, the people in the photos had a sort of plastic like sheen. Its comparable to using a heavy beauty filter. With that being said, the slight blur and haziness of the photo did grow on me because I always did like the look of vintage styled photos.
It should be noted though, that the colour outcome of the film is amazing as it is extremely saturated.
App The Sprocket's app is very easy to maneuver. The app allows you to upload photos through Instagram, Facebook, Google, your photo library, or directly through your camera. Upon selecting your desired photo you have to option to print as is, or to edit your photo by changing the exposure/contrast, add stickers (categorized into themes), borders, text (multiple fonts) or draw. There's a lot of room for customization and you can really tell they put a lot of work into this aspect. Once you are ready, you can simply edit and line up which photos you want to print, and it will do so in that order.
Ease of Use To master using the Sprocket takes no time at all. You simply charged it with their respective USB plug and hold the power button until it flashes Green, indicating it is ready for use. Once it is ready, you sync the printer with your phone through bluetooth. After syncing, you can edit the desired photo through their app, and select print once you are done.
Print time Printer prints each film in under half a minute. Errors Unfortunately, I've had trouble with this printer for the same issue a few times before. Occasionally, it would glitch and print multiple of the same photos, despite me only selecting print once. I find myself only able to print photos one at a time in fear that it will over print the same photos. I usually select a photo to print, and once it is printing I immediately click "Cancel" so that it doesn't continue to reprint. It's a little bit of a hassle having to be paranoid about this, but film ain't cheap enough for me to take the risk!
Dimensions The SP-2 comes in at 8cm x 13cm x 3.5cm. The size is still travel appropriate, but it is slightly heavier and bulkier in comparison. Variations This printer is available for purchase in two colours: gold/ivory and silver/ivory.
Price This printer is available for purchase at $199.99 (although there seems to be a huge sale right now I'm seeing it sold for only $149.99 on several websites). Their film pricing varies based on the design, but you could typically buy a pack of ten from anywhere between $9.99 (plain film) to $13.99 (themed film). You could also get discounted rates for buying their bundle pack. Typically, each film is equivalent to a dollar.
Film The film's dimension stands at 5.5 cm x 8.5 cm, with the actual photo taking up 4.5 cm x 6 cm. What's great about this film is the fact that it feels like your traditional polaroid, as each photo is thick and high quality. Of course, something like this wouldn't work so well in my scrapbook given how much thicker it is, but would look great hanging on a few threads with some wooden clips and fairy lights. I think the best aspect of Instax Film is the fact that they come in such a large range of photo themes to choose from. The customization is endless and photos can be printed on films to suit their particular occasion.
Ink There is no need to buy ink because the film develops the colour on it's own. Part of the fun of taking a photo through the instax camera is the process of watching it slowly develop. We get that same exciting aspect here when printing it through the SP-2 as the photo does not immediately develop, but over the course of a few minutes.
Photo Quality Having owned two instax camera before, I knew exactly what to expect when it came to photo quality. It's definitely no digital camera quality, but there's a nice angelic/vintage filter that gives the photo a very nostalgic look. I think with that being said, it's slightly angelic glow works really well with that fact that it's not super crisp. Unlike the HP Sprocket, the instax film doesn't create a plastic-like cast to your face, but does so in a more natural and flattering matter. It's quite universally accepted that this is the expected look to the popular instax film so while it's not fantastically clear, I think it suits it's style very well.
App The Instax Share App definitely has the upper hand when it comes to organization and aesthetics. There's the option to load your photos from Facebook and Instagram, your own photo album or the option to directly take a photo on the spot. Their main page also allows the option to Reprint (your last photo) or take advantage of their Real Time Template (Date, time, location, and weather). Their photo preview page allows the option to customize your photo with a few variety of adding some (optional colourful) text, borders, or special themes like Christmas or Birthdays.
Ease of Use The SP-2 is a little more complicated due to one aspect alone and that is their choice to connect through their own wifi instead of bluetooth. You would have to disconnect from your own wifi and search for their Instax connection. Upon connecting it, you would need to go back to the Instax Share app and click connect and input their password (the given password is 1111). It doesn't sound so troubling, but the printer does turn off if you take too long to print. I have a lot of photos to go through, so I find myself having to reset the printer and disconnect from my home wifi to connect back to the printer's wifi a lot. Besides this aspect, the printer itself is fairly straight forward - simply connect and print the selected photos from the app.
Print time Printer prints each film in under half a minute. The time for the film to develop takes slightly longer. Errors Since using this printer, I've yet to experience any errors.
The Sp-2 was gifted in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
With that being said, do you prefer the HP Sprocket or Fujifilm SP-2? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!