This story was originally published in the Chicago Tribune Prime Time senior living section.
In the age of digital cameras and smartphones, does anyone print their photos anymore? They sure do, and these new-style printers are part of the reason why.
1. Kodak Dock & Wi-Fi 4 x 6 Photo Printer
This highly-rated photo printer combines the phone and tablet “docking” concept and does only 4-by-6-inch photo printing. Reviews tout the print quality as being the same as lab-printed photos. Simply set your phone or tablet into the dock and print via an app. There is also a handy USB port on the side of the printer for printing from a thumb drive. This is due to dye sublimation printing technology. For the user, this means the ink and paper come in one cartridge that you insert into the printer. Each cartridge will make 40 prints and costs $19.99. The printer retails for $139.99.
2. Polaroid ZIP
The tiny Polaroid ZIP fits into the palm of your hand and prints petite 2-by-3-inch borderless prints. It connects to your Apple or Android device via Bluetooth, so you can easily print from an app on your phone or tablet. This mini-printer is great fun for birthday parties, reunions, weddings, or meetings — any place you want to take quick snaps and print them out right away. The battery is rechargeable, so no need for a power cord. There is no ink to buy because the paper uses Polaroid’s Zink (zero ink) technology, in which the paper reacts to heat to make colors. And because it’s a Polaroid, the prints pop out in less than a minute. The Polaroid ZIP comes in four different colors and retails for about $130-$140. The paper costs $14.99 for 30 sheets.
3. HP Envy 7640
The HP Envy 7640 is a premium thermal inkjet e-all-in-one packed with quality features. It is meant to do it all, quickly, and at a reasonable cost. That includes printing lab-quality photos, creative projects and laser-quality documents, plus color faxing. It has all the wireless connectivity for smartphones, tablets and PCs, with or without a Wi-Fi network. The HP Envy will print up to nine pages per minute in full color. You can print borderless 4-by-6-inch and 5-by-7-inch photos from the separate photo paper tray. Prices range from about $99 to $199, so shop around before buying.
4. Canon Selphy CP1200
The Canon Selphy CP1200 is a small-format dye sublimation printer, meaning it prints via heat with special ink and special paper. This type of paper is more expensive than photo paper used with traditional ink jet printers, but it produces sharper photos. The photos do not smear like ink photos, either. The printer makes only 4-by-6-inch high-quality prints. It can operate on an optional battery or plugged in. There are several ways the printer can receive your pictures: via SD card, a USB Mini-B cable, a thumb drive, or Wi-Fi. Retails for $94.99. The paper-and-ink packs cost about $30 for 108 prints.
5. Epson Expression Home XP-430
If you’re looking for a compact all-in-one machine that also prints decent photos and won’t break the bank, try the Epson Expression Home XP-430. This ink jet printer is known as a “small-in-one” for its compact size and multi functions. It can print, copy, and scan 8.5-by-11-inch paper. It also has a memory card slot and cloud printing capability. You can use it with or without being connected to a computer. There are four separate ink tanks, so you only replace the color you need. Retails for $99.99.