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The best portable photo printers for 2020

Canon USA

After snapping a photo with a phone, wouldn’t it be convenient to print those photos on a device that’s not much bigger? Thanks to Wi-Fi and inkless print technology, that’s actually possible.

Just like the best camera is the one that’s with you, sometimes the best photo printer is a portable one. These devices are compact, easy to use, and transform your digital selfie into a physical keepsake. While most portable printers use the same 2 x 3-inch Zink paper and offer similar quality, some print as large as 4 x 6 inches. Others use actual instant film instead of paper, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.

HP Sprocket Photo Printer

The HP Sprocket Photo Printer will print 2 x 3-inch photos directly from your smartphone or tablet using the app by the same name. The printer works with both Android and iOS, and all you need is a Bluetooth connection. The Sprocket is also roughly the size of a smartphone and weights a mere 6 ounces, allowing it to fit just about anywhere. The accompanying mobile app even allows you to customize your photos before you print, letting you make the most of HP’s 10-sheet packs.

Polaroid Zip Wireless Mobile Mini Printer

With the Polaroid Zip, there’s simply no need to shake your prints like a Polaroid picture. The aptly named printer offers up 2 x 3-inch smudge-proof prints from a Bluetooth-connected mobile device. The resulting photos are waterproof, tear-proof, and have a sticky back that allows you to place your photos anywhere you’d like. Downloading the Polaroid app for either iOS and Android opens up more possibilities, giving you a means for enhancing your photos on the go. The travel-friendly printer is pocket-sized, too, and weighs just 6.6 ounces.

Canon Ivy Mini

The Canon Ivy Mini prints your favorite Instagram and Facebook photos directly from your smartphone. Download the app to customize and print your pictures, then easily sync the Ivy to your phone via Bluetooth. The printer uses the same Zink paper as the above two models, giving it a portable design without the need for ink cartridges. While mini Zink printers have been around for years, the Ivy is Canon’s first foray into the product category.

Lifeprint Slim Photo and Video Printer

lifeprint slim portable photo printer
Lifeprint

Want something more than a static print? Lifeprint’s Augmented Reality Hyperphotos uses standard Zink paper but create prints that move when you scan them with its mobile app. The printer has a larger 3 x 4.5-inch option for bigger prints, or a 2×3 sized printer. Thanks to the unique Hyperphoto technology, you can print live photos from Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also easily add filters, text, memes, and stickers through the Lifeprint App. The Lifeprint Slim is the company’s newest model that, as the name suggests, is even more portable than the original.

Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-3

Unlike rest of the mobile photo printers on this list, the Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-3 Printer doesn’t use Zink paper, but transfers your smartphone photos to actual film. Images are printed on 2.4 x 2.4-inch Instax Square film, a format that’s ideal for printing out your Instagrams. Select your best pictures from your smartphone and simply transfer the photos from the app via a Wi-Fi connection. When you download the INSTAX share app you can add text, split the photo, make a collage, and add a filter to your images.

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link

Hillary Grigonis/Digital Trends

If the SP-3 is too square (literally) for you, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link uses the easy-to-find Instax mini film. Like other Instax printers, the Mini Link transfers photos from your phone onto real film, complete with old-school instant-film colors so you don’t even need to bother with those digital filters if you don’t want to. The Instax Mini Link has a few unique features, however, including motion controls. Pointing the printer up goes back to the home screen in the app, while tilting it will zoom in and out to crop the photo.

Canon SELPHY QX10

Canon

Unlike most of the options on this list, the Canon SELPHY QX10 doesn’t use Zink or film. Instead, it uses dye-sublimation printing, which means that ink is required. But while that may be one extra step, dye-sub tends to produce a better quality print with more accurate colors than Zink or instant film. The technology actually prints one layer of color at a time, so while it can take a full minute for one print, the results are often well worth the wait. Like Zink, the paper is tear and water-resistant and includes a sticky back. The QX10 prints on 2.7-inch square paper and the paper comes bundled with the requisite ink packs, so at least there’s not one more thing to buy.

Canon Selphy CP1300

The main drawback of this Canon printer is the somewhat bulky design. However, the Selphy CP1300 comes with a wide range of features a lot of other mobile photo printers don’t have. With this printer, you can create 4×6 inch images along with 2×2 inch pictures. You also have the option to print from different sources, such as a camera memory card, social media, or Airprint. 

Like the QX10, the CP1300 is a dye-sub printer. You will get water-resistant photos that you can easily turn into stickers. The Canon Print app adds value to the printer since you can use it to edit your pictures before printing. The battery pack is additional, however, so expect to spend another $50 or so if you want this printer to be truly portable.

Kodak Smile Instant Digital Printer

Hillary Grigonis / Digital Trends

Printing on 2 x 3-inch Zink paper, the Kodak Smile Instant Printer is an easy-to-use, compact mobile printer. With a unique slide-open design, the device literally has no buttons, which makes the printer both sleek-looking and simple to use. You can use Bluetooth or the Kodak Smile app to send photos to the mobile printer. The Kodak Smile app comes with basic editing features, and you can use it to create an augmented reality video the app will play when you scan a print, just like with the Lifeprint. Not being able to print larger photos might be a drawback, but you will end up spending less on paper refills.

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DigitalTrends

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