Table of Contents
- 1 Tale of the Tape: HP Sprocket vs Polaroid ZIP
- 2 Unboxing: How easy are they to set up and start printing?
- 3 Photo print quality
- 4 Printing speed
- 5 Portability Factor: weight and build quality
- 6 Price points to consider: cost of printer and paper
- 7 Photo editing: What can you do with the app?
- 8 Best Buy Bonus Features: Because little things make a difference.
- 9 Summing Up: Who wins the HP Sprocket vs Polaroid Zip battle?
These are two of the best selling portable photo printers on the market. But if you were going to buy one of them which would you choose? They are manufactured by market leaders, HP and Polaroid so let’s delve deeper and see if we can solve the HP Sprocket vs Polaroid ZIP conundrum once and for all.
For 2021 we have updated our HP Sprocket review to include the brand new 2nd Edition model in Luna Pearl (off White), Blush (Rose Gold) or Noir (Black). Please take a look and find out which model comes out as our best buy for 2021.
We will start by looking at various features including print quality, print speed and setting up difficulty. After that, we will compare the two models which on surface look evenly matched. But what are the pros and cons of each model?
It’s important to include model specifications. Size, print area and cost of photo paper are important considerations to factor in. This HP Sprocket vs Polaroid ZIP face off will be comprehensive and brutal. Taking no prisoners, this thorough comparison will give you all the information you need to pick the right best buy printer for your needs.
Tale of the Tape: HP Sprocket vs Polaroid ZIP
With studies showing 77% of Americans owning a smartphone wouldn’t it be great to print out our cell phone photos on the go?
Look at the technical specifications of both models. A side by side comparison often helps to decide which is the best product so before you read on check the information above.
Unboxing: How easy are they to set up and start printing?
If you are thinking of buying one of these mobile printers as a gift then you don’t want the person messing about with cables, instructions and apps.
We did a test and compared the setup time for both the HP Sprocket and Polaroid ZIP on iPhone and Samsung Android cell phones.
(NOTE: Both printers are packaged well, but the Sprocket 2nd edition in (Noir, Pear or Blush) has a slightly better feel. Softer, smoother and more ergonomic when taken out of the box.)
On average it took us around 3 minutes to install and print out our first photo on the HP Sprocket and 4 minutes on the Polaroid ZIP. Also, the app is more intuitive on the HP photo printer, but we will look at software / apps later.
So not a big difference in set up times, but if you wanted to buy a best buy portable photo printer as a present for a teenager or child then we think the HP Sprocket is a better choice.
Winner of the setup challenge: HP Sprocket:
Photo print quality
With both printers utilizing ZINK technology which is a process where no ink cartridges are used (no mess, yay!) the quality of the print outs are similar. Remember, these devices are primarily used for “printing on the go” so don’t expect razor sharp HD quality
The HP Sprocket and Polaroid Zip have decent print resolutions. Some people claim that the Polaroid ZIP produces a darker tint to the photos but its subjective and we feel that you can alter the brightness / contrast anyway with the camera settings.
These are fun, portable photo printers - not high-powered desktop printers, but the overall print quality on both devices is good and the prints accurtely reflect the images on your iPhone 6, 7 or 8, Samsung Galaxy or other Android cellphone.
We are going to declare that the HP Sprocket vs Polaroid ZIP image quality contest as a draw with no clear winner.
Winner of print quality challenge: DRAW
The big selling point is the freedom to print out on the go. But is there a difference in print speed between the HP Sprocket 2nd Edition (Black, Rose Gold or Pearl White) & Polaroid ZIP?
Both models print out very quickly. In under a minute in fact. So, if you out and about and want to share those precious memories with a friend or loved one then these are cool printers to play with. Print out selfies, vacation photos and romantic moments in just a few seconds.
We timed the HP Sprocket at 43 seconds and the Polaroid Zip at 52 seconds from hitting the print button to having a printed sheet in our hands.
Winner of the Print Speed challenge: HP Sprocket:
Portability Factor: weight and build quality
Light as a feather or feels like carrying rocks? These printers are designed to be carried around in a handbag, satchel, backpack or shoulder bag. They have got to portable and able to withstand a battering (especially from young kids).
From the outset you can tell that they are both well-made tech and rank amongst the best sellers as portable photo printers but is there a clear winner in the HP Sprocket v Polaroid ZIP portability challenge?
The HP Sprocket is 4.63 inches long and 3.15 inches wide. It weighs in at 0.172 kg (0.38 lb).
The Polaroid Zip is 4.72 inches long and 2.91 inches wide. It weighs in at 0.185 kg (0.41lb).
The ZIP is slightly longer but not as a wide as the HP Sprocket but in fairness there is not much difference between the two. The same applies to the weight of each model.
Thankfully, they are extremely light printers and feel great in the hand and ideal for kids and teenagers because they are built very well with strong out casing for extra protection.
Winner of the Portability challenge: DRAW
Price points to consider: cost of printer and paper
If you own a desktop printer, laser or inkjet then you know it can be expensive to refill the ink cartridges on toner. Of course, with ZINK technology you won’t have ink costs but there is the price of the printer itself and paper to factor in.
The unit price of the Polaroid ZIP is around $15-$20 cheaper (subject to change) then it’s HP Sprocket competitor. These are fun and quirky mini photo printers but when you are printing out loads of phone camera images the paper cost is important too.
A pack of paper for the HP Sprocket (around $5) is currently cheaper than the Polaroid ZIP which is around $10 for 20 sheets of premium paper.
The initial unit cost is offset by the cost of paper, so if you are going to print more than 40 photos then it’s a cheaper option to buy the HP Sprocket.
Winner of the price challenge: HP Sprocket (on medium usage).
Photo editing: What can you do with the app?
HP Sprocket mobile app: The app is downloaded via iTunes or Google Play and is a great tool. You can add funky borders, emojis, stunning filters and even hand draw over your photo.
The app will also let you connect your social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to the printer, so you can share easily with family and friends.
Polaroid ZIP mobile app: The print preview feature is great on this app. It’s accurate too which cuts down on photos that are printed badly. Just like the HP app, there is a whole host of features including image manipulation and sharing to social media accounts.
We slightly preferred the HP app, but both do a solid job of altering the look of photos and had no problems with downloading and installing on either an iPhone, iPad or Android device.
Winner of the software app challenge: DRAW
Best Buy Bonus Features: Because little things make a difference.
These pocket rockets are packed with cool features such as being portable and user friendly but is there anything that distinguishes these devices as great products to buy. The HP Sprocket v Polaroid ZIP battle continues with bonus features:
Bluetooth connectivity: Both these portable printers are Bluetooth enabled. This means you can share your photos with people around you instantly without sending via expensive MMS.
Scan in existing photos: Take a picture of another photo, scan it in, edit it if you want then to print it out again or store it so the original doesn’t get damaged.
Quick charging technology: No need to buy expensive batteries as the devices are charged up via USB. HP recommends you charge your printer for 90 minutes, but we found it can take as little as 60 minutes to fully charge from flat.
Creative heaven: There is so much you can to your photos including using auto fix, filters, adding frames and stickers, adjusting the gamma (contrast, saturation and brightness), sharpening up the focus, adding text and cropping/rotating.
There is even a brush feature which lets you “paint” on the photos.
Winner of the bonus features challenge: DRAW (both printers have plenty of cool stuff).
Summing Up: Who wins the HP Sprocket vs Polaroid Zip battle?
The fight is over; our two gallant printers have given their all, but their can only be one winner. The face-off between the HP Sprocket and the Polaroid Zip has given us quite ride – but who wins?
Taking into account all our tests including: setup, print quality, speed, portability, price and features we feel the HP Sprocket just edges past the ZIP.
Both printers are brilliant at what they do, printing out smartphone or tablet photos on the go. If you decide the buy the Polaroid ZIP then you would not be disappointed that’s for sure.
Our 2021 Best Buy Champion and Winner of the funphotcreator.com HP Sprocket vs Polaroid Zip Face-Off is the HP Sprocket 2nd Edition and you take a look at this little beauty on Amazon.