Funny story: I knew about the HP Sprocket way before anyone was supposed to. I was in a shuttle to the launch of the HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3785 printer with some HP retailers. Presuming I was one of them they pulled out a tiny black device, around the same size as my charging bank and started discussing it. I was all ears and almost snapped a cheeky pic before they realised that my lack of knowledge of this baby was a clear sign that I was not supposed to know about it.
After swearing me to secrecy they introduced me to the HP sprocket. The tiniest of printers that doesn’t need an ink refill AND prints on cute stickers. I’ve waited for a few months now but can finally break the silence and tell you about the funkiest little gadget I’ve seen in awhile.
But please make sure you read till the end of this review…. I love the gadget, but I do have some concerns.
The HP Sprocket is the printer for your purse
Last year, Instax will all the rage. The Instax Mini 8 was a little polaroid camera that allowed you to snap shots and print them old school style. But the camera is bulky, despite how cute the pictures were. I think the Sprocket is the improved version of this. No lies, I have a charging bank for my phone which is roughly the same dimensions as the Sprocket and I carry that around all day. The Sprocket, while the same size, is considerably lighter. So you could easily slide this in to your purse. The unit I received for review is a clean white with gorgeous gold accents. It really is a pretty little thing. I’m told the other option is to go black with silver finishes. Also a sleek look.
The printer arrives with a micro USB charging cable and a sheet of HP ZINK Photo Paper (you can 10 sheets).
The Sprocket doesn’t need ink!
The biggest headaches with printers is the need to replace the ink. Only, the Sprocket doesn’t actually use ink. You need to use the HP ZINK Photo Paper. This paper is specially designed with crystals on every sheet that basically show up specific colours when they’re heated up. So there is a whole lot of tech going on inside the little Sprocket.
To get the Sprocket working you just need to download the Sprocket app to your phone (the app is in the iStore and Google Play Store), pair your phone to the device via Bluetooth and get going. It really is that incredibly simple. You can link your social media accounts to pull pictures from Facebook and Instagram or, if you’d prefer, just print photos in your camera roll or that you’re about to snap.
The paper also has an adhesive back if you want to turn your prints into stickers. The app allows you to add cute emojis, filters and the like to your images as well. So you can make them rather funky and fun as well. I’m rather surprised by the amount of editing capabilities in app – giving you a very Instastory or Snapchat type experience, but for print.
The prints are adorable
The colour is really good considering. While it might not be as vibrant or a complete match I was still impressed by the quality. Printing is quick, once you’re set up it takes a minute to print an image. I can image you could do some really creative things with these little images. With offerings such as Nifty250 gaining a bit of a cult status locally, I’m pretty sure many people are going to run out and grab this little cutey.
Watch the Sprocket lose its sparkle
It is going to cost you a little under R2000 to claim the Sprocket as your own. Obviously, to get the full value of this gadget you’re going to need the paper. A pack of 20 pieces costs R199. And this is where the Sprocket falls short. That works out to R10 a print. So your initial spend is R1999 and you get 10 sheets of paper. From there you need to drop R199 for 20 sheets. Nifty250 charges R6 for a similar print which is also a sticker. So for the cost of the printer alone you can print around 333 stickers. If you compare with the Instax Mini 8, the camera retails for around R1000 BUT the paper is more expensive (it also isn’t a sticker). Truth is you could buy the camera and then purchase around 6 packs of paper – so you could print 60 polaroids. They just won’t stick.
The thing is, the quality of the print on the Sprocket is really good, the paper quality is photo quality and the sticker is impressive. It really is a funky little gadget BUT this is a rich girl’s toy. It is the gadget I imagine private school tweens will go mad for but the rest of us might be a bit more inclined to wait it out and see if the price on the paper drops.
I’m not adverse to getting this as a gift though. So there is that.
Disclosure: I was sent a review unit of the Sprocket to play with. Based on the cost of the paper & only having 10 sheets, I nearly killed the man child when he thought it was funny to print his face on one of my pieces.