At this point in the summer, the thought of sending the kids back to school comes with some regret and a massive amount of anticipation. Enjoy a cup of coffee alone? Go to the store without an entourage? No more wrestling over how much is too much Internet? (At least for five hours a day.) Who wouldn’t be counting the days? Don’t forget, though, that school comes with school plays, science projects, and more impossible cuteness that will never be repeated. Those events need to be recorded.
For that end, we want to put a new(ish) category of tech toy on your radar: The tiny photo printer. These affordable, pocketable, and super fun printers let you get your photos off your phone, out of the cloud, and into the hands of the people standing right there with you. Take a goofy photo with the science project creator and hand it to them right then and there. Snap the kids with the winning trophy and add your snap to the take-away. This is so much more satisfying than showing them your phone screen and offering to email a copy.
We took a look at every one of these that we could set hands on so you could easily add one to your back-to-school shopping list.
Remember those big bulky Polaroid cameras that let you take a photo and print it immediately? The photos were terrible. But it was fun, right? So fun that it made the Polaroid company name synonymous with instant photos. This is the version for the digital age. This one is small enough to slide in a pocket, shoots in 10 megapixels, and comes in five cute colors. You can set a timer for your photo to get yourself into the shot and print in color or vintage sepia tone. You don’t need a phone or a computer to use this.
Don’t worry about cables or plugs. This little guy connects to whatever device you have using Bluetooth or NFC (near field communication). There is an app for Android or iOS. It’s small enough to carry in a pocket if your pockets can accommodate a thin brick that’s 2.91″ x 4.72″. It weighs less than half a pound and prints in 60 seconds.
This is cool. Print out a video from this printer. Yes, a video. It looks like a photo on paper. But if you look at it through the Lifeprint app, it comes to life on your screen. You can also send your photos to other people with a Lifeprint printer and they can print them wherever they are, so it has a nice sharing element if your people are into that. Of course, it is also just a photo printer. And a nice looking one at that. It only works with iPhone.
Tiny. Cute. Fits in your purse and prints your photos as you take them because snapping a photo and then showing it to someone and taking it – and your phone — away is cruel. This way, you can leave them with a copy. And, in this case, that copy is also a sticker. You can also send photos phone-to-phone and embed video in your photos. This one works only with iPhones.
This printer also charges your phone while printing the photos on it or giving your social media images corporeal form. It’s compatible with both iPhone and Android or you can connect your digital camera or a memory stick (great for those late-night spy encounters). You can even punch up your photos with the Kodak Dock app before you print.
Prints cute credit-card sized, durable (they are sort of laminated) photo stickers from your phone — iPhone or Android. All you do to set this one up is touch your phone to it. If everything goes to plan, it connects and sets itself up so you can get right to printing. Templates let you make your pwn ID photos. And you can print still images from a video with the freeze-frame feature. Did we mention that this is adorable and pocket sized? And the printer paper is a cartridge that snaps right in. Easy!
This little printer is from the printer experts at HP and it’s super cute. So tiny, you can have it always in your purse. And the prints are water and finger print resistant. Already have a ton of photos in social media? Connect your accounts to the Android or iOS apps and print them out to share. You can even punch up the prints with emojis before you print.