HP TECH TAKES
Exploring today's technology for tomorrow's possibilities
Best HP Photo Printers
August 31, 2018
The art and science of photography has changed substantially over the years, and these days many photographers depend on a variety of devices and services for supplies, maintenance, and printing.
Navigating different eras and types of technology is a hassle, particularly when you may need a camera, expensive adapters or software, and difficult-to-find paper formats to produce a photo just how you want.
With a dedicated photo printer, you can improve the quality of your prints and start handling projects way more affordably in-house. This can help you save some time and resources, which can be better spent elsewhere.
While choosing the right photo printer can become complicated depending on your specific needs as far as ink, coloring, or sizing, it still boils down to how you take photos and use them in your life.
Share memories and make new ones
Modern smartphones and digital cameras are loaded with options for basic photography and wireless sharing. However, there are plenty of situations where printed photos aren’t just one option among many; they’re the only option.
Thanks to lowering costs and changes in materials, a photo printer is a more reasonable solution for just about anyone to consider, whether you’re focusing on family, work, creative projects, or a hobby. With cost and mobility as strong focal points in tech trends, having the option to print photos without hunting for services or print shops makes sense.
Photography and social media
Social media may be a great way for people to connect, but it’s just one avenue that’s dominated by a high rate of turnover. In that environment, it’s easy to imagine why the appeal of conventional photos has never really gone away. If anything, the craft market has grown and evolved alongside new applications and formats from camera and print tech.
Whatever your situation, when you need rich, high-clarity images to preserve memories and help make new ones, you want something high impact. For some, the ideal physical memento has more value or meaning, and for those less interested in social media, an actual photo is one of the best ways to make a strong impression.
Do I really want a photo printer?
The answer to this question depends on how you use photos.
Personalized photo albums remain popular despite the drop in dedicated photo shops. At the same time, supplies for DIY scrapbooking have increased in variety and availability.
Tapes, stickers, adhesives, and embellishments can be easily found to help decorate calendars, written memories, or just about anything.
As for the particular printer, your routine will shape that choice. Some models are designed to produce high-quality stickers and small prints perfectly suited as a convenient vacation companion for all ages. Other devices offer options for photo printing among a suite of other standard features.
Finding just what you need
There are many options to suit different lifestyles and approaches to photography, from fun and portable devices to professional large-format printers. Choosing the best photo printer for you can boil down to how you prefer to print and what you need most often.
Do you want big or small prints? Or do you want a convenient, high-quality photo option on a standard multifunction printer?
It all depends on what you do. For anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors or travelling, you’ll want to consider HP’s compact print-as-you-go options. Busy professionals and casual photographers will get the most bang for their buck with an all-in-one printer that condenses numerous functions into a single device.
Fortunately for the budget conscious, HP® provides a huge range of powerful photo printers at attainable price points. Whether you need large-scale prints for a gallery or a fun novelty to entertain the kids and impress adults, there’s an option for you.
Quick, portable photo printing with the HP Sprocket
The appearance of truly compact, portable photo printers is probably one of the most substantial ways that evolving print tech has changed the market and separated the concept from notoriously bulky and fussy cameras.
It’s so much easier to be spontaneous with your tech thanks to stable and compact options you can easily just grab and take with you due to improvements in construction and design.
For travel and leisure, the HP Sprocket line is a surprisingly small and increasingly popular option for speedy, high-quality borderless photo prints with two output size options and a small range of configurations to choose from.
Designed to produce compact photos directly from a smartphone or tablet, the HP Sprocket is Bluetooth-enabled so that it’s easy for both busy parents and kids to use.
Another advantage of the HP Sprocket is how it prints.
Trimming down typical supply routines, this devices ditches ink cartridges for a heat-based, “zero ink” solution (or ZINK™ for short). When you run out of prints, you can just order a new paper pack.
Based on thin heat-sensitive dye crystal layers embedded in ZINK paper, the color formation occurs as varying levels of heat are applied.
With initial research and development spearheaded by Polaroid, ZINK is the basis for a new class of compact, no-cartridge printers.
The pocket-sized HP Sprocket Photo Printer
Measuring around the same dimensions as the average smartphone (2.95 x 4.57 x 0.91 inches), the standard HP Sprocket photo printer is very compact.
It’s also simple to use with the free HP Sprocket app. Just turn it on when you’re ready to print and you can produce stickers or small photos at the swipe of a button, wherever life takes you. It also only weighs about 6 ounces, making portability and ease of use the core of the HP Sprocket’s design.
Print even larger photos with the HP Sprocket Plus Printer
For a 30% increase in the size of your photo output, you can opt for the HP Sprocket Plus printer. Compared to the standard design, it still weighs under half of a pound and is only fractions of an inch bigger. It’s also a fifth of an inch thinner, making it easy to transport in a backpack or tote.
Print as you go with the HP Sprocket 2-in-1 Camera Printer
Like the concept and immediacy of old camera printers, but not the hassle?
The HP Sprocket 2-in-1 camera printer is essentially a reconfigured HP Sprocket with a built-in camera so you can keep everything on hand and in the moment.
Choose your colors and accessories
The entire HP Sprocket line is incredibly compact and portable, making it easy to fit one into your routine and your purse, backpack, or pocket without worry. But if you want extra peace-of-mind when you’re out and about with your device, HP® offers a full range of storage, carrying, and scrapbook accessories for the HP Sprocket to help. And if you want to show off your personality, there’s a variety of color options to choose from.
Multifunction photo-printing with the HP ENVY All-in-One Photo Printer
Small and simple isn’t always better. For more versatile functions at home or in a small office, the HP ENVY AiO photo printer series lets you print, scan, copy, fax, and produce high-quality photos.
Built with dedicated photo trays, the HP ENVY All-in-One offers quick print speeds and easy wireless functionality so you can manage everything without any hassle. Each model is also easy to set up and has been improved with features like automatic duplex printing and powerful WiFi, so you won’t get tripped up printing from different rooms.
The affordable HP ENVY 6255 All-in-One Photo Printer
The line opens up with the HP ENVY 6255 All-in-One photo printer, designed for print speeds up to 13 pages per minute (ppm) in black and 8 ppm in color. With a straightforward interface and relatively small measurements, it’s a great starting multifunction printer for any busy family.
The mid-range HP ENVY 7155 All-in-One Photo Printer
For a boost up to 14 ppm in black and 9 ppm in color, the HP ENVY 7155 All-in-One photo printer is the line’s mid-range option. Built in the same sleek exterior configuration as the above model, the HP ENVY Photo 7155 also adds an SD card port so you can quickly prepare your photos for printing.
Top speed prints with the HP ENVY 7855 All-in-One Photo Printer
Then there’s the highly regarded HP ENVY 7855 All-in-One photo printer. It boosts print speeds for an average of 15 ppm in black and 10 ppm in color, and adds faxing capability for a truly one-stop-shop solution.
With a suggested monthly print volume of 300 to 400 pages and a comfortably-sized touch screen interface, it’s a contender for HP’s best all-in-one photo printer.
Save money on supplies
Some of the best things about HP ENVY Photo Printers are their efficiency features. Compatible with HP’s high-yield ink cartridges, you can save time and money when you buy a higher capacity HP cartridge for your HP ENVY.
These printers are also enabled for HP Instant Ink, the convenient four-tier ink subscription service. Just pick your tier based on your monthly print volume. And if you don’t use your printer on a daily basis, the subscription tiers start with a free option for low volume printers and massive savings when you print photos.
HP DesignJet for professional photos and large format prints
Built to print with 12 HP color photo ink cartridges, the HP DesignJet offers an outstanding degree of fidelity and convenience to photo and creative professionals.
For the most demanding environments, you’ll find both 24-inch and 44-inch configurations of the powerful and easy to use HP DesignJet Z3200 wide format printer.
To achieve gallery-quality fidelity, the HP DesignJet Z3200 allows you to generate custom color profiles and comes with a built-in spectrophotometer from the collaboration of HP® and X-Rite.
Designed with sheet and roll feeds along with a media bin, HP DesignJet printers can also automatically cut all media types, except for canvas.
What’s best for me?
With a varied offering, the best HP photo printer is the model and style that most suits you and the rest of your print and photo hardware. HP’s family-oriented lines all offer affordable options whether you prefer a compact and portable device or a stationary multifunction design.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.