Reviews You Can Rely On

HP Sprocket Review

This mini printer rendered some of the poorest quality photos in the review
HP Sprocket
Credit: Jason Peters
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Price:   $130 List | $129.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Passable resolution, multi-photo queue, adhesive photo paper
Cons:  Magenta color cast, overall poor quality grayscale, microbanding
Manufacturer:   hp
By Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Apr 6, 2020
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36
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 13
  • Color - 35% 3
  • Black and White - 35% 3
  • Print Capabilities - 15% 3
  • Operating Cost - 10% 6
  • Set-Up - 5% 9

Our Verdict

We were not impressed with this machine. When comparing its photos to the desktop models the prints looked abysmal. Yet, even among the mini printers, the Sprocket's test images were unsatisfactory. Suffice it to say, within this model's price range there are better options.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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HP Sprocket
Awards  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award 
Price $130 List
$129.95 at Amazon
$350 List
$349.49 at Amazon
$100 List
$99.99 at Amazon
$130 List
$120.99 at Amazon
$100 List
$99.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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43
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Pros Passable resolution, multi-photo queue, adhesive photo paperConsistent color, easy set-up, broad format optionsEasy to use, decent resolution, prints common sizesUser-friendly, sharp images, affordable, playfulConvenient, simple, inexpensive, bluetooth connectivity
Cons Magenta color cast, overall poor quality grayscale, microbandingMicrobanding in grayscale, relatively low definition in dark areasMicrobanding in larger formats, off skin tones, over saturationLimited print sizes, limited tray capacityRelatively low resolution, single print dimension
Bottom Line This mini printer rendered some of the poorest quality photos in the reviewThis low-cost, full-sized machine delivers high-end resultsAn easy to use mid-size printer at a good priceThis portable printer kicks out quality 4" x 6" prints anytime, anywhereThis portable printer captures the fun of the old Polaroid cameras but with a fresh twist
Rating Categories HP Sprocket Expression Photo HD... Canon PIXMA TR4520 Canon SELPHY CP1300 Canon IVY
Color (35%)
3.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Black And White (35%)
3.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Print Capabilities (15%)
3.0
8.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
Operating Cost (10%)
6.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
6.0
Set Up (5%)
9.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
9.0
Specs HP Sprocket Expression Photo HD... Canon PIXMA TR4520 Canon SELPHY CP1300 Canon IVY
Resolutioin (dots per inch) 313 x 400 5760 x 1440 4800 x 1200 300 x 300 314 x 400
Max photo deminsions (inches) 2" x 3" 13" x 44" 8" x 10" 4" x 6" 2" x 3"
Cost per print (4" x 6" or mini print) $0.50 $0.45 $0.58 $0.43 $0.50
Machine deminsions (HxWxD inches) 0.98" x 3.15" x 4.63" 6.3" x 18.7" x 14.5" 7.5" x 17.2" x 11.7" 2.5" x 7.1" x 5.4" 0.7" x 3.2" x 4.7"
Printing technology In paper, thermal-activated dye Inkjet (Piezo DOD) Inkjet (Theromal DOD) Inkjet (Dye- sublimation) In paper, thermal-activated dye
Print time per 4" x 6" (or mini print) 39 seconds 34 seconds 128 seconds 51 seconds 40 seconds
Color palette (ink cartridges) N/A Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Gray, Red Black plus color cartridge N/A N/A
LCD screen No Yes No Yes No
Touch Screen No No No No No
Battery Yes No No Yes (sold separately) Yes
Memory cards supported N/A N/A N/A SD, SDHC, SDXC, miniSD, miniSDHC, microSD microSDHC and microSDXC N/A
Ink type N/A Dye-based Pigment (black) and dye-based (color) Dye-based N/A
Roller paper No No No No No
Connectivity Bluetooth iPad, iPhone and Android tablets, Alexa and smartphones; Ethernet networking, andard Connectivity:
Hi-Speed USB, USB Host, Wireless 802.11 b/g/n5, Wi-Fi Direct 5, Ethernet 10/100
Hi-Speed USB
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n wireless networking, 2.4 GHz)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN, 2.4 GHz, IEEE 802.11b/g)
Memory Card Slot
PictBridge (USB) & Wireless PictBridge (Wireless LAN)
Hi-Speed USB (Cable not included)
USB Flash Memory
Blutooth
Operating system requirements Android, iOS Windows 10 8/8.1/Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Windows Vista (32-bit , 64-bit)
Mac OS X 10.6.8 — macOS 10.12.x6
Windows:20 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 SP1, Mac:21
Mac OS X v10.10.5 - macOS v10.13 (High Sierra)
Mobile Operating Systems:22 iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile, and Fire OS (Amazon Fire) devices
Windows:12 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows 7 SP1
Mac:13 Mac OS X v10.10.x - macOS v10.12 (Sierra)
Mobile Operating Systems:14 iOS, Android™, Windows 10 Mobile, Amazon Fire devices15
Android, iOS
Scanner No No Yes (bed and feed) No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Unfortunately, the HP Sprocket produced what some might describe as cringe-worthy photos. Despite decent resolution, the color images were cast in magenta and had bleeding along the borders. As for the black and white… Let's just say that we wouldn't recommend printing in grayscale on this machine. We did like the app that controls the printer, as it allows you to print from your phone and stack up multiple photos in the queue.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Laura Casner

Likes


We like the mini printer concept. We think that a picture is not a photo until you print it, and mini printers like this one make that easier than ever. Additionally, we like that you can do some creative edits on your phone before printing.

Credit: Laura Casner

Another check in the pro column for the HP Sprocket — and mini printers in general — is that it is easy to set-up. The process is as simple as downloading an app onto your phone and then connecting to the printer via Bluetooth. That's it.

Dislikes


Simply put, this printer did not fare well in our evaluations. It's color renditions were pretty bad, and the black and white test images came out looking bazaar. Suffice it to say that this machine is not cut out for printing in grayscale.

Credit: Laura Casner

Value


Given that the Sprocket is in the same price range as mini printers rendering much higher quality images, we do not find it to be a very good value.

Conclusion


We don't have much positive to say about this printer except that it is a fun, and fairly inexpensive way to get pics off your mobile device and into the hands of loved ones. If you're shopping for a mini printer there are better devices in this review for about the same price.

Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer