The HP Sprocket Studio is a portable photo printer that can make pictures that look like they came from a professional studio at home or on the go. This printer is a lot bigger than the other Sprocket devices, and it’s definitely not pocket-sized. It takes up more space than the Sprocket Select, which is only 142 x 89 x 18 mm. Its dimensions are 169 x 273 x 68 mm. However, the removable bed and built-in battery make it easy to pack up and take with you.
HP Sprocket Studio: Description
The HP Sprocket Studio is a new take on the company’s line of portable photo printers. Instead of wallet-sized 2 x 3-inch pictures, this one makes glossy 4 x 6-inch photos. That means you can get a picture good enough to frame just minutes after taking it with your phone. The Sprocket Studio puts layers of color on a medium using a process called “dye sublimation.” It takes longer than the technology used in regular inkjet printers, but the effects are better than what you’d get from a regular printer.
To get started, you’ll need to get the HP Sprocket companion app on your phone. It’s available for both iOS and Android, and it has a lot of editing tools that will make your prints stand out. During our testing, we found these editing tools to be very helpful, even if some people might find them a little strange. The Studio, unlike the smaller Sprocket printers, needs to be plugged into a power source to work. When you factor in its bigger size, it’s not as portable as HP’s other instant printers.
HP Sprocket Studio: Pricing
The list price for the HP Sprocket Studio is $150. Even though it usually costs less than that, there are a number of rivals who sell 4×6 photo printers for less. The difference is that those units aren’t movable, even though they are often just as small as the Sprocket Studio. With the Sprocket Studio’s battery, which definitely adds to the initial cost, you can print anywhere you want. The ongoing costs are about the same as most of the competition. A pack of 80 sheets of picture paper and two ink cartridges, which is enough to make 80 prints, costs about $35, or about $0.44 per print.
HP Sprocket Studio Specifications Table
The Studio is already very flexible and can fit into almost any bag, but HP has also made a bag just for it. The HP Sprocket Studio Bag (which costs $49.99) has a shoulder strap and a top handle, an inner zipper pocket for storing paper and photos, and a bottom compartment for the optional power bank. It can also hold the Studio.
|Type of printer||Dye sublimation|
|Number of trays||1|
|Paper tray capacity||Up to 20 pages|
|Paper sizes supported||3.9 x 5.8 inch|
|Print speed||61 seconds per print|
|Connectivity options||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Dimensions||6.7 x 10.8 x 2.7 in|
|Borderless printing||Yes, borderless after removing the two tabs|
|Support file types||BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF (iOS only)|
|Supported media types||HP Sprocket Studio Ink and Photo Paper|
|Warranty||One year limited|
HP Sprocket Studio: Design
The Sprocket Studio printer is a lot bigger than the other Sprocket printers. It takes up more space than the Sprocket Select, which is only 142 x 89 x 18 mm. Its dimensions are 169 x 273 x 68 mm. The printer is a light grey color that HP calls “snow.” It has spots of dark green that look like a speckled egg and give it a bit of personality. Other than that, it looks very clean and well-kept.
On the left side of the Sprocket Studio is a single power button. The power wire plugs into a special socket on the back of the printer. This socket is about the same size as a standard laptop charger, which makes the already bigger-than-normal Sprocket even bigger. You can choose the color of the light strip on the front of the printer when you set it up, and if you have any problems, like running out of paper or ink, the light will turn red.
The only other feature that stands out is the paper tray, which sticks out from the body of the printer. This gives the Sprocket Studio an odd, asymmetric form, but after a few uses, we started to like it. The Sprocket Studio is very easy to use because of how simple it looks. This simplicity is carried over into the app and when printing pictures.
HP Sprocket Studio: Connectivity
As with other Sprocket printers, the only way to connect is through Bluetooth. This is also true of the Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer and the Polaroid Zip. The Sprocket Studio can connect to an iOS or Android phone or tablet, and the HP Sprocket app, which you can get from the iTunes App Store or Google Play, is used to handle printing. To connect to the Studio, you must first pair your mobile device with it via Bluetooth. Then you open the HP Sprocket app, which helps you set up the device.
Then you can view, edit, and print photos from your device’s photo gallery or your social media/cloud accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Google Photos). The first time you use the app to log in to a social media account, you’ll need to enter your login information. After that, the app will remember it for you. Regardless of which picture stream you’re using, you can switch between seeing the photos in a grid like Instagram or one at a time in a column.
HP Sprocket Studio: Print Quality
The Sprocket Studio only comes with enough ink and paper for 10 prints, but I put in an extra cartridge and stack of paper so I could print a wider range of photos in a wider range of situations. After setting up the printer at home, I printed out some of my favorite photos from my Pixel 3. I then put it in my backpack bag and carried it around for a week, letting friends and family use the “my friend’s sprocket” feature in the app to print their own favorite photos.
The Sprocket Studio seems to have trouble producing details in photos that are very dark, but that’s about the only problem I’ve seen. It worked well for still shots, movement shots, real and fake bokeh effects, and adding stickers and other effects was fun for my niece and nephew. Overall, I didn’t notice any difference between the quality of these prints and what I’d get at the neighborhood drug store or Walmart. I also like how true to life the colors are compared to printers that use Zink technology. When you tear off the ends of the printed photos, they have a rough edge that you can barely see, but the picture itself is great.
HP Sprocket Studio: Print Speed
You’ll click the app’s small printer button to start printing. A word of caution: it takes almost 25 seconds before the printer will start to do anything. When I used this printer for the first couple of times, I thought nothing was happening, so I kept pressing the print button. That led to a lot of unnecessary and accidental duplicate pictures. Usually, that wouldn’t be a problem, but the special ink refills that this printer uses can only print up to 40 photos at a time. So you should be careful.
It takes a while to print something. It takes a few minutes for a picture to be ready. When I timed it, it took about 1 minute and 25 seconds. The printer will take a piece of photo paper from the tray and feed it out the back. It will then run the paper through the printer cartridge and start writing. As each layer of colored ink is added to the photo paper, the picture will slide in and out of the printer three or four times. It’s a little bit different from what you might find on a home office printer. This seems like a very long process, and if you had a lot of shots to print, it would take a very long time.
HP Sprocket Studio: Mobile App
If you don’t install the Sprocket app, you can’t use the HP Sprocket Studio. The good news is that the app is quick to download and set up, and it’s also very easy to use. I was able to set it up and start printing in about a minute. Your friends and family can also download it and choose the “my friend’s sprocket” setting if you want them to print directly from their own devices instead of sending you photos to print.
The app is pretty simple. You can choose a picture from your device or one from a connected account, like Facebook or Instagram. The app then gives you some basic tools to change the brightness, contrast, color levels, and other settings. It’s not quite Photoshop, but you can use it to change a photo before you print it. In addition to making simple changes to a picture, the app lets you add a border, text, stickers, and different effects.
HP Sprocket Studio: Performance
To make a long story short, the Sprocket Studio makes picture prints that are of good quality. They’re not perfect, but the colors are right and the details are clear. We say it’s not perfect because our test prints showed a thin vertical line going down the right side. On some, it looked like the color had run a little bit horizontally. This was probably caused by a speck of dust getting caught in the printer, so make sure your photo paper is free of dust before you start printing. Still, these are small flaws that you probably won’t notice unless you look for them.
The smaller Sprocket uses a printing method called zero-ink (Zink), which doesn’t need ink or toners because the color is already in the Zink paper. The Studio, on the other hand, uses a method called dye sublimation. This is a fairly slow process because the paper goes back and forth through the machine for each color to be added layer by layer: first yellow, then magenta, cyan, and a clear top coat. HP says that each print can be done in as little as 61 seconds, but our tests showed that it took longer, between 80 and 90 seconds from the start to the end.
That doesn’t sound too bad if you’re just printing a few photos at a time, but if you’re making an album or collage, that time frame could be a little long. Each short side of the picture paper that comes with the package has a hole punched in it. The picture is printed between them, so you can pick up the finished product right away without worrying about the ink getting smudged. Then, you can tear off these blank ends to get a full 4×6 print with neat sides.
HP Sprocket Studio: Pros and Cons
The HP Sprocket Studio is a good choice for users looking for a portable photo printer that produces high-quality prints. It is especially good for users who want to print photos from their smartphones and social media accounts.
- Seamless Bluetooth pairing
- Large, good quality photo prints
- Uses HP Sprocket app and ecosystem.
- Various photo editing options
- Can be used for printing out personalized greetings cards
- Needs a power source
- Not pocket-size like other Sprockets.
The Studio is different from the other Sprocket printers because it is bigger and can’t fit in your pocket. It also prints 4-by-6 photos and uses thermal dye technology, which makes it most similar to small, portable photo printers like the Canon Selphy CP1300. The Studio costs a little more per print than the CP1300, but the CP1300 has a better set of connections than the HP model.
The HP Sprocket Studio is a great addition to the Sprocket line. It has the same app, environment, and features as the other Sprocket printers, but it prints much bigger photos. This makes it a good choice for Sprocket and other pocket printer owners who want to print photos that are bigger than wallet size.