HP’s Sprocket Studio Plus Review: an in-home photo lab

In my latest video I review the new HP Sprocket Studio Plus (affiliate link), a compact photo printer that prints high-quality 4×6 photos that are very close to the digital prints you might get from a photo printing service.

What sets it apart is its use of dye sublimation technology. This is a departure from the typical inkjet technology and even from HP’s other Sprocket printers that utilize the Zinc standard.

The printer is priced at $149, and the cost per photo comes to about 44 cents. This cost estimate includes the special paper and the unique ribbons it requires. Because it uses a ribbon to print photos the consumable cost is much more predictable vs. an ink printer.

The printer is very compact. The paper tray can be removed and stored on top of the printer to reduce its footprint when not in use. And because it doesn’t use ink the printer won’t get clogged up if it’s left to sit for weeks or months. It should pick back up right where it left off.

Setting up the printer was straightforward. It does require the HP Sprocket App that runs on Android and iOS devices. Even though it operates over Wi-Fi it can’t be directly printed to without running the photos through the app first.

The app can pull photos from your phone’s gallery, Instagram, Facebook, and Google Photos. Printing a photo is as simple as selecting it in the app and hitting print. The entire process takes about 90 seconds, with the printer laying down colors layer by layer. The result? A nice, high-quality photo.

I printed several photos to gauge the printer’s quality. While the contrast wasn’t as deep as on my phone’s OLED display, the photos were still impressive especially when compared against similarly priced ink jet printers. As you’ll see in the video some details might appear softer when viewed up close, but for a 4×6 print, the quality is more than satisfactory.

The app offers some fun features, like creating photo collages. You can also add labels and text to your photos. There’s also a photo booth mode and an option for taking passport and ID photos.

The HP Sprocket Studio Plus is a good choice for those who love printing 4×6 photos. While it costs a little more than a photo lab print, having the convenience of printing similar quality photos at home might be appealing.

Disclosure: HP sent the printer to the channel free of charge however they did not sponsor this review, provide any additional compensation, or review or approve this review before it was posted.