this thing's incredible

The Little Printer That Turns My iPhone Photos Into Borderless Stickers

Photo: Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

Growing up, I was a prolific diarist. From late elementary school through early university, I kept a daily journal — first writing by hand and then in an ever-expanding Word document — reporting on the often mundane and occasionally momentous events of my life. While it’s entertaining (and usually cringeworthy) to look back on, I recently started missing the ritual of sitting down at the end of each day and reviewing what I’ve been up to and how I’ve been feeling.

So I made a New Year’s resolution to get back into on-paper journaling. I bought a new notebook and pretty pens, but this time added a new, techy element: a smartphone photo printer that lets me insert pictures, scrapbook style, alongside my daily musings. I did a little online research and ended up finding a deal on the HP Sprocket. The pint-size USB-rechargeable printer connects to your phone via Bluetooth and, on the accompanying app, lets you choose photos to print from your camera roll or social-media accounts. From there, you can add text, borders, or graphic embellishments, and then simply send your image to the printer, which shoots out a two-by-three-inch photo — the size of a credit card — on peel-off, sticky-back paper, ready to display, or, in my case, stick in my journal.

Other brands make similar printers, but I went with the HP because it’s among the smallest and slimmest of the bunch, can print full-bleed photos without a border (unlike the Fujifilm version), doesn’t have to be physically connected to your phone (like the cheap but bulky KiiPix), and doesn’t require ink-cartridge replacements (like this one from Kodak). It’s compact and easy to use and has worked seamlessly for me in the month I’ve had it.

I toyed with buying a colorful Instax camera but instead of hoping to get a good shot with an instant camera, I like taking a million photos on my phone and then choosing which to print. The Sprocket is actually even more portable than an Instax (it’s shaped like a smaller, stouter iPhone), though I usually just print pictures — my cat snoozing on the sofa, a homemade bowl of pasta, nail art from my most recent manicure — right at home. Now my phone isn’t where my photos go to die; it’s the print-worthy camera I always have on me.

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer
HP Sprocket Photo Paper

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The Printer That Turns My Photos Into Borderless Stickers