HP Sprocket Select photo printer review: A great Christmas gift for just about anyone

Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Top Picks
HP Sprocket Select photo printer

The first thing you notice about the HP Sprocket Select is just how small it is. The whole unit is slightly thicker than a smartphone, slightly wider, and slightly shorter.

9.6/10 rating

It was just a few weeks ago that we reviewed the HP Sprocket Studio photo printer, and we loved it enough to give it a 9.4 out of 10 rating. But, we also had its little brother in house for review, and while we loved the Studio, we had to hold out giving it an award because the HP Sprocket Select photo printer outshined it by a narrow margin.

We kicked off our Studio review by discussing the fact that some people still want a physical photo, even if it’s on their smartphone. This is why this printer exists, and why it’s a great Christmas gift for just about anyone. Read on for the full review of the HP Sprocket Select photo printer and find out why we’re giving it a Top Pick for 2019.

Specifications

The HP Sprocket Select has the following features and specifications:

  • Functions: Photo Printing
  • Resolution (color): 321 x 600 dpi
  • Print Technology: ZINK
  • Display: Back LED charge light: Red: low charge, Blink-red: charging, Green: charge complete, Amber: medium charge; Front status LED: reserved: red-low battery, no paper/paper jam, locked up, lid off. Default: White-power on/idle, on first use opening the app and setting preferences, user can choose 6 personal customizable colors
  • Print Cartridges: HP ZINK 2.3 x 3.4 in Sticky-Backed Photo Paper
  • Paper Speed: Up to 68 sec per print
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Minimum System Requirements: Android: 5.1 and above; iOS 10.0.2 and above.
  • Printer Management: Sprocket App
  • Power: Internal Li-ion battery pack, charged via USB 1.2 compliant USB Charger; Voltage = 5 V/Current: 0.5 to 1 A
  • Dimensions: 3.48 x 5.13 x 0.69 in
  • Weight: .40 lbs

What’s In The Box

  • HP Sprocket Select
  • Micro-USB cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • 10-pack photo paper
HP Sprocket Select printer
Really simple design and very compact.

Design

The first thing you notice about the HP Sprocket Select is just how small it is. The whole unit is slightly thicker than a smartphone, slightly wider, and slightly shorter. It’s most certainly very pocket-able and even easier to throw in a bag or purse. The top of the Select has a marble type design and the whole thing is made of plastic, which is high-quality and well built.

There is a power button, LED light and Micro-USB port on the side, and that is it. The top of the Select pops off and is held in place by magnets. It’s really a great little system they have here. The bottom of the HP Sprocket Select has a rubber texture to it which helps keep it stable on a table or other surface.

Overall, there’s really not much here, this thing is small, weighs under a half-pound, and is ultra-portable.

Ease of Use/Setup

The box that the HP Sprocket Select comes in is just as small as the unit itself. When I received it I thought it was just the photo paper, but it was everything in one tiny box.

There’s absolutely nothing to getting set up. Open the box, remove the Select and the Micro-USB cable and plug it into a wall wort or a computer. Even the quick start guide simply points you to download the HP Sprocket App from Google Play or the App Store.

Because we already have the HP Sprocket Studio, we only had to add the Select to the app. That was done by simply connecting it to Bluetooth and nothing more. If you do not have a printer set up in the app you will have to go through the initial setup. The app gallery below shows the step-by-step for the Studio which will be nearly identical to the Select, with minor differences.

Overall, this is super simple to set up. It is especially easy if you’ve previously set up a printer.

HP Sprocket Select printer
Compared to the Samsung Note10+.

HP Sprocket App Gallery

This gallery is from our HP Sprocket Studio review, but they are nearly identical as the HP Sprocket app setup. Because we already have the Studio installed via the app, we did not have to go through the setup of the Select. We simply had to add a printer, pick it in Bluetooth settings and we were connected.

Software/App

The HP Sprocket app is not unlike most other cameras and photo apps already out there. The major difference is that it connects to the Select directly over Bluetooth allowing you to print your photos.

The app has plenty of features including the ability to connect to Instagram, Facebook, Google Photos, or just using your device’s Gallery app. For our testing, I simply used the Gallery app as I had plenty of photos in my camera roll that were great.

Once you have a photo chosen for printing, you can go into the app and crop it or play with the colors. You can also add text, stickers, and other fun things. Once you’re all done editing and doctoring up the photo as you like, you just hit print and the photo will be sent to the HP Sprocket Select over Bluetooth 5.0.

That is basically all there is to printing from your Gallery app. The same would apply to your social media photos. Just pick a photo from Facebook or Instagram, edit it the way you like in the Sprocket app, and hit the print button.

The app also has a feature called Reveal. When you print a photo or video frame with Reveal turned on, the photo prints with a concealed watermark. This watermark allows you to reveal additional content when viewing your photos through the HP Sprocket app camera.

The Reveal feature embeds additional content, such as related videos and photos, Wikipedia facts, and the Google Earth Street View. Just jump back into the app and tap the Reveal button, point it at the photo with the hidden watermark and Reveal will give you the info it can find.

Overall, the app is intuitive and easy to use. It’s set up in a way that is familiar to pretty much everyone so there’s nearly no learning curve.

HP Sprocket Select printer
The top is held on with magnets that are pretty strong.

Performance

The HP Sprocket Select performs great! It prints in a decent amount of time, usually within 60-seconds. Battery life wasn’t much of an issue as I kept it plugged in for most of the time I used it. HP doesn’t state a battery-life number but the Select can be plugged in pretty quickly and used while it’s plugged in so even if the battery dies, you can quickly get back up.

The photos are pretty great, I’ve seen a few Amazon reviews say the photos are washed out, but this was not true of our review unit. The photos were very acceptable, just as good as you’d get from Walgreens or CVS. The photo paper included has sticky backs, so you can peel the back and stick the photos on things if you like.

Overall, the performance of the HP Sprocket Select was great, photo quality was great and the printing time was good.

Price/Value

The HP Sprocket Select is pretty pricey at US$149.99. The 20-pack of photo paper with sticky backs is US$12.99 so none of this is particularly cheap. Some may find the price off-putting, but there is value here for those who want instant photos from their smartphone. I don’t think this is a device everyone will buy, but I do think it’s interesting enough that many will opt to invest in it.

Wrap Up

Yes, the HP Sprocket Select is pricey and if you’re reading this and thinking a lot about the price, then it’s probably not for you. Those that it is for are probably not reading this far and have already clicked the link to purchase. I recommend the HP Sprocket Select if you don’t mind paying the price.

*We received a review unit of the HP Sprocket Select for the purposes of this review.

HP Sprocket Select

US$149.99
9.6

Design

10.0/10

Ease of Use/Setup

9.5/10

Software/App

9.5/10

Performance

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Slim and pocket-able design
  • Easy to use and setup
  • Intuitive app simple to navigate
  • Quality of prints is as good or better than places like Walgreens

Needs work

  • It's pretty pricey for the size of the device

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