HP Sprocket Select and Sprocket Studio: A Tale of Two Photo Printers

A girl sitting at a picnic table looking at an image on her phone and printing it from the HP Sprocket Printer.

Want to print photos from your phone or tablet? HP has two new Sprocket photo printers, and both of them can do just that!

All in the Family

HP’s Sprocket photo printers have been very successful. The original Sprocket was introduced in 2016 and updated in October of 2018.

Now, HP introduces two new members of the Sprocket family: the Select and Studio. The 2nd Edition remains in the lineup. And, of course, you can print photos from your phone or tablet with all three models. The Sprocket 2nd Edition and Sprocket Select have internal rechargeable batteries.

You tether the Sprocket Studio to your desk with a power cable. It has an optional battery pack, but the Studio’s larger size might make it less convenient to use as a portable printer. The Studio also uses a different print technology than the other models.

The Sprocket 2nd Edition, the Sprocket Select, and Sprocket Studio all printing the image from the phone screen sitting next to them.
A Sprocket family portrait. HP

Sprocket Select

The Sprocket Select ($149, at this writing) expands on the original and 2nd Edition Sprockets. As with the earlier iterations, it uses color photo paper that leverages Zink technology. Zink paper isn’t unique to the Sprocket—instant photo printers (Kodak, Polaroid, etc.) also use it.

The original and 2nd Edition Sprockets use sticky-back paper that results in a 2- x 3-inch photo—just the right size to put in an album, journal, or on any other surface, like the refrigerator door. The Sprocket Select is similar to the Sprocket 2nd Edition, but it increases the size of the print to 2.3 x 3.4 inches. The pack of 10 sheets is color-coded, which makes it easier to find the right size for your printer. A pack of 20 sheets costs about $8 (or about 40 cents per print).

The Sprocket Select printing a photo.
The Sprocket Select. HP

Unlike the original Polaroid photos you had to let develop before you could see the image, the Sprocket uses thermal technology to print the photo as it ejects the paper. Once they’re printed, the photos are relatively heat-resistant. Even if you leave one on the dashboard of your car on a sunny day, it should remain viable.

The Sprocket 2nd Edition next to the Sprocket Select.
The Sprocket 2nd Edition (left) and the larger Sprocket Select (right). Ted Needleman

Like the previous versions, you charge the Select via MicroUSB cable. However, it doesn’t come with a charger, so you’ll need a free USB port on your computer or a spare wall charger. It initially takes about an hour to charge the printer before you can use it.

Paper loaded in the Sprocket Select.
Open the cover and drop in the Zink paper. Ted Needleman

After you charge the Select, drop in the paper, download the Sprocket App , and then pair the printer with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. An LED on the front of the printer shows when it’s turned on, and you can change the color of it in the app. The printer comes in three colors: Black, Blush (pink), or Pearl (silver-gray).

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