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HP Sprocket vs. Canon IVY: Who Wins This Mini Photo Printer Matchup?

Black Woman Using Portable Wi-Fi Printer For Printing Pictures

HP Sprocket vs. Canon IVY: Who Wins This Mini Photo Printer Matchup?

Mini photo printers have become a popular alternative to Polaroid cameras. These Smart photo printers allow users to capture photos digitally and print them out on the go rather than waiting for Polaroid film to develop. The HP Sprocket and the Canon IVY are top-of-the-line mini photo printers, and both printers are top-rated amongst photo enthusiasts for their use of Zero Ink printing. However, if you want to buy your first mini photo printer, you might wonder about the difference between the HP Sprocket vs. the Canon IVY. Let’s explore the differences between the HP Sprocket and the Canon IVY.

HP Sprocket vs. Canon IVY: Side-by-Side Comparison

HP SprocketCanon IVY
Resolution313×400314×400
Print TechnologyZINKZINK
Companion App Operating SystemAndroid 4.4 and above
iOS 10.0 and above
Android 4.4 and above
iOS 9.0 and above
Dimensions3.15” × 4.63” × 0.98”3.2” × 4.7” × 0.7” 
Media Size2” × 3”2” × 3”
Fast and Efficient
HP Sprocket Portable Instant Color Photo Printer (Luna Pearl)
$79.99
  • Uses Zink printing
  • Print size: 2x3 inches
  • Resolution is 313 x 400 dpi
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Edit images in the HP app before printing
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/10/2024 12:31 pm GMT

HP Sprocket vs. Canon IVY: What’s the Difference?

The HP Sprocket and Canon IVY printers are similar and they also function similarly. So, it’s natural to want to compare them when deciding which one to buy. Several differences and similarities will be significant to photo enthusiasts regarding the printing of their photos. Factors like photo resolution, printing speed, and media type will be make-or-break for hardcore photography enthusiasts. Let’s examine these features in depth.

Photo Resolution

One of the most critical factors for any printer, particularly one meant to print photos, is the photo resolution. Simply put, photo resolution is how much detail a printer can produce on paper when printing photos. Resolution is measured in “dots per inch,” which refers to the number of ink droplets per inch a printer can output on a traditional ink printer.

The HP Sprocket prints photos at a DPI of 313×400, while the Canon IVY prints at a DPI of 314×400. The difference in resolution here is very slight and won’t be particularly noticeable on printed photos, at least not to the naked eye. However, if the resolution is essential to you, the Canon IVY does have a statistically higher resolution, even if the difference is very slight.

Print Technology

Another crucial factor to most photographers is the printer’s print technology. Traditionally, photos are printed with ink printers on photo paper. However, printing with ink requires several additional components, most notably ink cartridges, and printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids in the world!

The HP Sprocket and Canon IVY units both use Zero Ink — cutely coined “ZINK” — technology to print photos. ZINK uses special paper embedded with heat-reactive crystals that produce colors when exposed to heat. The HP Sprocket and Canon IVY are designed to use their company’s proprietary ZINK paper, and both units come packed with ten sheets of ZINK paper that you can use.

ZINK Paper Features

The HP Sprocket and Canon IVY printers are made to print using ZINK paper, but different brands of ZINK paper also have various features. Since ZINK paper doesn’t use ink droplets, ZINK paper is generally smudge resistant.

HP’s ZINK paper is sticky-backed, and the back of the paper can be peeled off to turn the photo into a sticker. Canon’s ZINK paper is also sticky-backed and features the same peel-and-stick feature.

One notable feature of Canon’s selection of ZINK paper is that they feature precut circle stickers for people who want to print out a circular sticker rather than the typical rectangular sticker that ZINK paper provides. HP produces a precut sticker using smaller squares with rounded edges. When choosing between the precut stickers, those are your options: Canon’s circular precuts and HP’s rounded squares.

Companion App

Both the HP Sprocket and Canon IVY printers utilize a companion app to connect to devices and print photos. Having tested both apps, they function very similarly. Both apps are accessible for free through the operating system’s native app store.

Starting either app produces a prompt to set up your printer. You’ll be directed to the photo printing menu once you set up your printer using Bluetooth. The apps connect to your phone’s storage to pull photos from the gallery and phone storage in case you have images that aren’t present in the primary storage.

The HP Sprocket app also natively integrates Instagram, Facebook, and Google Photos. Canon’s Mini Print app also contains native integration for “Online Albums.” However, when I opened the folder in the app, it only showed integration for Google Photos. This lack of integration could be because I do not have social media in any meaningful capacity, as Canon’s website indicates that “Online Albums” includes Facebook, Instagram, Google Photos, Dropbox, and iCloud.

Both apps have photo editors installed, allowing you to digitally manipulate your photos before sending them to the printer. You can adjust the color grading to some extent, and add frames, stickers, text, and many other adjustments to personalize your photos. It is worth noting that Canon’s Mini Print app is more powerful than HP’s Sprocket app regarding color grading adjustments, though not by too much.

Both Sprocket and Mini Print are compatible with Android 4.4 and above. However, Mini Print is available for iOS 9.0, while Sprocket requires your device to be compatible with at least iOS 10.0 to be compatible. This compatibility difference means that iOS users with older devices may need to use the Canon IVY for compatibility.

Connectivity Interface

The connectivity interface is another feature that will be highly influential in which product you purchase. The HP Sprocket printer uses a Bluetooth 5.0 interface to connect to devices, while the Canon IVY uses a Bluetooth 4.0 interface.

Since Bluetooth versions are fully backward compatible, you can still use your Canon IVY even if you have a Bluetooth 5.0-enabled device. However, since Bluetooth 5.0 introduces new features, you won’t get all the features of Bluetooth 5.0 when using the Canon IVY because it’s a Bluetooth 4.0 device.

Dimensions

The HP Sprocket and Canon IVY printers are meant to be portable, and that means the dimensions are going to matter, and they’re going to matter a lot. Both printers are designed to print 2″ × 3″ photos. Thus, they’re naturally larger than 2 × 3 inches. 

The Sprocket’s dimensions are 3.15” × 4.63” × 0.98”, and the IVY’s dimensions are 3.2” × 4.7” × 0.7”. The IVY is a bit thinner but is wider and longer than the Sprocket, though not by very much. The differences in dimension are in fractions of an inch, which is extremely minor when it comes to portability. These differences will only matter if you wear women’s jeans that have tiny (or fake) pockets. If you wear men’s jeans, you can probably fit more than one of each of these printers in your pocket, depending on how tall you are.

Operating Temperature  

Since these printers use ZINK technology to print your photos, they run pretty hot. ZINK technology is heat-based printing, which allows the printer to run without ink. (Heat-based printing is also seen in label-makers and receipt printers.) Thus, the printer will run hot because it needs to apply heat to the paper to produce the colors.

The HP Sprocket runs at an operating temperature between 41°F and 104°F. The Canon IVY runs hotter than the HP Sprocket on the lower end but cooler on the higher end, operating between 59°F and 89.6°F. This difference in operating temperature may not seem like a big deal. Still, it is notable since handling a device operating at 104°F is somewhat dangerous, and you’ll want to give that printer some time to cool down before touching it if it’s been running hot. Even 90°F is pretty hot, but 104°F represents a potential burn risk.

Printing Speed

If you’re the impatient type, you’ll want to look at each printer’s printing speed. B&H Photo lists the print speed for the Sprocket at around 40 seconds, while the Canon IVY is listed with a print speed of 50 seconds or less, depending on the photo. Some sources list the Sprocket’s print speed at closer to 30 seconds. Either way, the Sprocket has a lower listed print speed than the IVY. So, if you’re looking to print and print fast, you probably want to grab the Sprocket rather than the IVY.

Price

Price will also be a factor for most people, and for many, it will be a significant factor. The HP Sprocket has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $99.99, while the Canon IVY clocks in at $129.99. This price difference is relatively significant. $30 isn’t chump change and could be a make-or-break factor for many potential buyers.

After shipping, the Sprocket may still be less expensive than the IVY’s MSRP. This factor could be highly significant for some thriftier buyers. It’s also worth noting that the IVY and Sprocket have very similar technical specifications. So, an additional $30 may not be worth spending on the IVY.

Shockproof and Waterproof
Canon Electronics Ivy Mini Smartphone Photo Printer Bundle
  • Includes printer, 100 sheets of paper, a photo album, a protective pouch, and additional accessories
  • 2 x 3" print size
  • 1ppm
  • Powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
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HP Sprocket vs. Canon IVY: Must-Know Facts

  • ZINK technology was first unveiled in 2007.
  • ZINK began as a new technology developed by Polaroid Corporation before Polaroid spun Zink out as a fully independent company in 2005.
  • There are three models of the HP Sprocket to choose from: the HP Sprocket, HP Sprocket Select, and HP Sprocket Studio.
  • The Canon IVY is shockproof and waterproof.

HP Sprocket vs. Canon IVY: Which One Is Better?

The significant factors to consider when choosing between the HP Sprocket and the Canon IVY are your budget, ideal printing speed, and ideal operating temperature. The Sprocket is cheaper and prints faster, but it does operate significantly hotter than the IVY. You’ll have to decide whether the higher operating temperature is an acceptable risk for the lower price and faster printing speed. 

Aside from those factors, the printers are almost identical regarding their technical specifications. The IVY does have one more dot-per-inch in its resolution, but that’s barely going to be noticeable in practice. So, it shouldn’t be a significant factor in your decision, and one more dot-per-inch is certainly not worth $30, in my humble opinion.

Printing photos is a fun and exciting way to save and keep your memories safe forever. It’s even more fun when you can turn them into cool stickers that you can stick to just about anything. The HP Sprocket and the Canon IVY are excellent pickups for anyone who loves photography and wants a quick and easy way to print out their photos from a device that they can carry right in their pockets.

  1. HP Sprocket Portable Instant Color Photo Printer (Luna Pearl)
    $79.99
    • Uses Zink printing
    • Print size: 2x3 inches
    • Resolution is 313 x 400 dpi
    • Compatible with iOS and Android
    • Edit images in the HP app before printing
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/10/2024 12:31 pm GMT
  2. Canon Electronics Ivy Mini Smartphone Photo Printer Bundle
    • Includes printer, 100 sheets of paper, a photo album, a protective pouch, and additional accessories
    • 2 x 3" print size
    • 1ppm
    • Powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery
    • Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the HP Sprocket?

The HP Sprocket is an inkless mini photo printer made by Hewlett-Packard.

What is the Canon IVY?

The Canon IVY is an inkless mini photo printer made by Canon.

What is ZINK technology?

ZINK technology is inkless printing that uses heat-responsive crystals to print photos without ink cartridges.

Who makes ZINK technology?

ZINK technology is developed, maintained, and licensed by Zink LLC, a spin-off company of Polaroid.

How does ZINK technology work?

ZINK technology uses special paper embedded with dye crystals that respond to heat to produce colors on the paper.

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