Review of the Lifeprint 3x4.5 HyperPhoto Printer at PCMagThe times they are a-changin’: We’re currently seeing a proliferation of consumer-grade standalone photo printers, such as the Kodak Photo Printer Mini ($63.50 at Amazon), which we reviewed recently. It’s not surprising that these new models, like today’s review unit, the Lifeprint 3×4.5 ($149.99) ($91.99 at Amazon), are getting smaller and more compact. However, what’s somewhat unexpected is that these new printers aren’t compatible with the devices they’ve traditionally been associated with, namely computers. In fact, the Kodak Mini, HP Sprocket ($129.95 at Amazon), and the Lifeprint 3×4.5 and its sibling, the Lifeprint 2×3 ($108.99 at Amazon), all can print from mobile devices, but lack support for, or connections to desktop PCs.

These snapshot printers produce photos that range in size from about 2 by 3 inches up to, in the case of the Kodak Dock, 4 by 6 inches. The Lifeprint 3×4.5 is actually an update to the Lifeprint 2×3, which the company says was an answer to requests for a larger photo size. In any case, the Lifeprint now comes in two sizes.

It also has a few interesting features you won’t find on competing models, such as the ability to publish stills as short videos, a feature that the company calls “augmented reality.” As you’ll see in the Design, Features, & Software section, this feature actually lets you publish your photos as brief videos—sort of.

The Lifeprint device is also, as mentioned, a dedicated mobile snapshot printer that, when paired with your mobile device, allows you to post photos on media sites and make rudimentary edits (such as brightness, contrast, and color corrections) or enhancements (like cropping, scaling, and rotating, as well as adding text, borders, and filters).

Whether it’s the Lifeprint or any dedicated snapshot printer, you’ll have to ask yourself several questions to determine whether it’s right for you: Is it competitively priced? How well does it perform in print quality, photo editing, and other areas? What are its ongoing running costs? And, in this case, do you want or need the augmented reality features?

We’ll do our best to answer all of these questions, but suffice it to say, we found the augmented reality, print quality, and cost per photo (CPP) compelling enough to give the Lifeprint 3×4.5 our Editors’ Choice nod.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper



 

Kodak Photo Printer Dock Review at Computer ShopperDedicated photo printers like the $149.90-MSRP Kodak Photo Printer Dock ($139.99 at Amazon) we’re reviewing here today fill a niche, and imaging giant Kodak has played a prominent role in the snapshot-printer market. These relatively small machines that do nothing except churn out snapshots—and often one-size-only snapshots—are not for everyone. But their popularity, as suggested by the fact that most of the major printer makers offer at least one (the Canon Selphy CP1200 ($92.99 at Amazon), part of the long-running Selphy line; the tiny HP Sprocket ; and Epson’s 2015 PictureMate 400 Personal Photo Lab (Out of stock at Amazon), for example) is undeniable.

The appeal of single-minded machines like these isn’t only that they make churning out relatively high-quality photos on demand simple, but most of them—like the Kodak Dock—are small and fairly easy to take with you. Not only are these gadgets easy to use, but replenishing consumables is a snap (though it is, as you’ll see in our discussion later on, somewhat expensive). If you print a lot of photos, dedicated photo printers have some distinct convenience advantages over full-size photo-centric inkjet printers and inkjet all-in-ones (AIOs).

Until fairly recently, though, these machines were designed to work with your desktop PC or on the go with your laptop. As printers in general evolved to become more mobile-device-friendly, with features such as Wi-Fi Direct and mobile apps, so have dedicated photo printers. HP’s Sprocket, for example, is designed to print wallet-size (2×3-inch) photos primarily from social-media sites and your mobile device’s photo albums via Bluetooth.

Kodak Dock (Left Angled Box)

The Kodak Dock takes mobile connectivity to its next logical step. In addition to connecting to your computing devices via USB, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct, the Kodak Dock allows you to dock your smartphone physically with the printer. As you’ll see in the section coming up next, after docking your smartphone up top, it becomes the printer’s control panel, which is actually quite the slick idea.

This is not to say, though, that the Kodak Dock isn’t without its flaws. For example, it can print only 4×6-inch snapshots, and as mentioned, its cost per page, though competitive with those of other gadgets like this, is a bit high. In other words, each photo is somewhat expensive, compared to having them run off at the neighborhood drugstore.

Even so, the Kodak Dock is very easy to use—which is what a lot of people consider important—and it turns out decent-looking photographs. As you read on, you’ll see that it also comes with several impressive and useful features, such as smartphone charging. In no way, however, is the Kodak Dock as handy as a full-featured photo-centric inkjet AIO that can print documents and photos at various sizes, as well as scan and make copies. You can find several good ones, such as the Canon Pixma TS6020 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One, for about the same price as the Kodak Dock.

Kodak Dock (Top Extended)

But then, the Pixma TS6020 and its ilk are not nearly as easy to use, nor can you carry them around with you in your backpack. If finding a way to print good-looking photos simply and easily, especially from your smartphone (and perhaps on the go) is important to you, this Kodak gadget is a nifty little printer designed to do just that.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper