- HP Sprocket is a line of light, portable, and easy-to-use mobile printers that connect directly to your phone and let you print out small instant photos from anywhere.
- The Sprocket Select ($130) prints out 2.3-inch by 3.4-inch sticky-backed photos. The device is a little larger but slimmer than the regular Sprocket (second edition, $80).
- Through the Sprocket app on your phone, you can edit and decorate your photos first before sending them to the device. The photos aren’t of the highest quality, but that’s not the point of the device — it’s best for fun and casual prints.
Whether I’m on vacation or just living my day-to-day life, I take a lot of photos. 99% of them live on my phone or in the cloud now, which is very practical and convenient, but I do miss owning physical photos.
A couple of years ago, HP introduced Sprocket, a mobile printer that makes printing your favorite photos quick, fun, and easy. If you like to print and share photos and don’t care that they might not be of the highest quality, then HP’s line of Sprocket devices is perfect for your needs. They also make great gifts for teens and people who enjoy small tech gadgets.
There are currently two Sprocket models you can buy: the regular Sprocket (second edition, $80) and the Sprocket Select ($130). I’ve tried the original, first edition of the Sprocket, so I decided I would test the new Sprocket Select next.
Compared to the regular Sprocket, the Sprocket Select is a little larger and also prints 30% larger photos. Keep reading to learn more about its specs, how to use it, and everything else you need to know about the Sprocket Select. I’ve also included some tips and tricks you might find helpful.
Look and feel of the Sprocket Select
The Sprocket Select is not big, measuring just 3.48 inches by 5.13 inches by 0.69 inches. It has a smooth and attractive design, with a small loop that lets you attach it to a keychain or similar accessory.
Since it’s so slim and light, you can easily slip it into your bag or a large pocket, letting you instantly print photos from anywhere.
Setting up the Sprocket Select
You should charge the device (via the included USB cable) before getting started.
Then, turn on the device and download the HP Sprocket app for iOS or Android to continue the setup process. Once you connect the Sprocket Select to the app, you’re ready to get started. I already had the Sprocket app thanks to previous tests with other Sprocket devices, but altogether, the setup process is smooth and should only take a few minutes.
Tip: The Sprocket app works with all Sprocket models. If you own more than one Sprocket, you can label them with different names in the app so you don’t get them mixed up.
Editing and enhancing your photos in the Sprocket app
You can use any stored photo in your phone, or allow the app access to your Facebook, Instagram, and Google photos. In this creative, user-friendly app, you can:
- Crop photos
- Edit lighting and colors
- Add filters
- Add and make your own stickers
- Add frames
- Freehand draw on the photo
Tip: If you’re looking for true-to-original colors, saturate the photo more than you think you need to. I’ve found that when I print directly without editing the saturation, colors can appear washed out.
I personally don’t get too complex with the decorations, but they are fun to experiment with, and you could easily spend hours drawing on, decorating, and perfecting your photos for use in a journal, scrapbook, or photo gift. There are also some cool augmented reality features to try.
I usually edit the lighting and saturation, crop down the photo, and add maybe one sticker or frame. The great thing about the Sprocket system is it gives you the freedom to be as simple or complex as you’d like.
Printing your photos
Once you’re done editing and decorating, send the photo to print. It takes a few seconds to process in the queue, then another few seconds to steadily print out of the device. The final photos are 2.3 inches by 3.4 inches.
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Each Sprocket Select comes with a 10-pack of HP Zink sticky-backed photo paper, which loads into the back of the device. Afterwards, you must buy the paper separately — you can get a 20-pack for $9. While the device itself isn’t too expensive at $130, the photo paper refills are what may ultimately be the bigger expense. If you’re gifting the Sprocket Select to someone, we suggest including an extra pack of paper because they’ll probably use up the starter pack quickly.
The bottom line
While the quality of Sprocket photos isn’t the most crisp or amazing, it’s good enough for casual scrapbooks or to exchange with friends. With Sprocket printers, you should expect convenience, ease of use, and fun, not perfection.
I liked printing out photos of landscapes, loved ones, and other memories with the Sprocket Select, and you will too if you want an enjoyable editing experience and a convenient printing process.
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