Is The Portable Printer The New Polaroid? Check Out Our Favorite 3 and See For Yourself

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The Portable Printer As A Tool For Throw-Back Tendencies

These days most people are steadily pushing toward a completely paperless existence. Couple that with the rise of digital photo sharing and social media-based “scrapbooking” and the portable printer starts to seem like one of the least necessary inventions in modern times. Still, instant printing is making a surprising comeback akin to the revival of vinyl or classic SNES consoles. So, in a world where digitization is king, how is the portable printer carving out a new and increasingly popular place for itself?

Printing As Parody

Nearly six years ago, the ever-humorous parody based news site The Onion published an article about Apple’s newest CEO, Tim Cook. The article states that Cook planned to redirect his company’s focus toward printers. At a time when investors and onlookers were somewhat anxious to see a post-Jobs Apple, this proposed redirection was a truly hilarious concept. In a fake quote from the article, Cook claims that “the future of technology is in printers,” and that the one thing everyone will always need is “printers”. Of course, this Cook parody couldn’t have been further from the truth. Right?

portable printer

Tim Cook ostensibly thinking about printers.

On-Demand Vintage

The same factors that make instant printers seem ridiculous have played a major role in their resurgence. Social media photo sharing has become almost entirely ephemeral. The one-off Instagram post dominates the Facebook photo album. Snapchat has taught millions of high school students what the word “ephemeral” means. Yet, the idea of an instant portable printer somehow manages to fit in with this trend. That’s because an instantly printed photo is simultaneously short-lived and permanent. It’s quick and in-the-moment, while retaining lasting and nostalgic qualities. It’s on-demand vintage. And that’s an easy-sell nowadays.

As Hans Hartman notes in his recent article, “The unpredicted but explainable comeback of instant printing”, app features like Instagram’s filters are at least partly responsible for an increased interest in all things “retro”. There’s a growing fascination, especially amongst Millennials, with old-school analog technologies. The once defunct Polaroid is returning to the playing field. Vinyl LP’s are back in style. And Bandcamp.com even reported an increase in cassette tape sales last year. Rather than strictly returning to analog formats, these Millennials, and the companies appeasing them, are finding ways to marry the trendy and retro with the modern and convenient. That’s where the portable printer comes in.


The Top 3 Portable Printer List

A portable printer for photographs is essentially a more versatile version of a classic instant camera. Rather than have a standalone camera dedicated to instantly printing out pics, why not carry around a pocket sized printer that can produce physical media captured on any number of devices?

When Polaroid first came on the scene, it didn’t make sense to separate the printer and photo-capturing device. The combination was part of the appeal. Then, as digital photography grew into itself, the instant camera trend quickly faded. Now, mobile phone photography continues to progress alongside a resurgent inclination toward physical media. And it now makes sense to separate the printer and the photo-capturing device. The combination is no longer apart of the appeal. The end product, a physical photo, is all that matters.

HP Sprocket Photo Printer

portable printerThe HP Sprocket is a sleek, pocket-sized printer that produces 2 x 3″ photos or stickers from any iOS or Android mobile device. It relies on a companion app that lets users edit photos, create borders, and add digital flare to their pics prior to printing. With a $130 price tag and an additional $0.50 per photo, the Sprocket is roughly double the cost of a standard instant camera. Still, this little device offers at least twice the amount of versatility and creative freedom as a traditional Polaroid.

Lifeprint Photo and Video Printer

portable printerA video printer!? What the heck does that mean? By combining a 2 x 3″ printer with an augmented reality app, the Lifeprint brings an entirely new meaning to the term ‘motion picture’. Like the Sprocket, this device includes a companion app that lets you print normal photos or screenshots taken from videos. When you wave your phone over the screenshot print-out, the original video instantly starts to play. It truly brings your physical photos to life. It shares a similar $130 plus photo paper cost as the Sprocket, while providing an interesting futuristic spin. The only downside is that it’s currently only compatible with iOS devices.

Brother PocketJet PJ- 723

portable printerThe PocketJet is all business. It offers monochromatic, legal-sized prints at 8 pages per minute. It’s not for photos and it won’t fit into any standard pockets. Still, it’s an incredibly nifty and effective tool for the traveling businessperson and the forgetful nomad alike. Easily fitting into most briefcases or backpacks, this thermal printer will surely come in handy whenever a physical document is needed at a moment’s notice. It might not be as fun as the Lifeprint or Sprocket, but it could turnout to be a lifesaver.

What Good Is A Portable Printer If I Don’t Have My Files?

If you’re going to carry a portable printer around, shouldn’t you also maintain access to all of your digital media? It doesn’t make sense to have a PocketJet business printer without the ability to locate and print all of your files. And what if you want to print photos (or even videos) while on-the-go, but your favorite collections are stored on your computer at home?

Fortunately, the younity app provides the ultimate remote-access and media management solution. As a media server software, younity creates a personal and private network between your devices and the files stored within them. It connects your photos, videos, music, and documents across every computer, tablet, and smartphone that you own.

How Does It Work?

portable printerThe younity app works by automatically scanning your computer’s hard drive. It then organizes and delivers your media to your mobile devices and other computers. You can carry all of your media wherever you go, without the hassle of manually uploading files or the tedious syncing of your devices.

One of younity’s primary goals is to ensure your ability to be completely spontaneous and in-the-moment with regard to your media. This is done by maintaining a constant availability of your digital things within a uniquely enjoyable and easy-to-manage platform. By creating on-demand access to all of your files, younity becomes the perfect partner to your portable printer.

Click here to learn more about younity.

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