If you can spare the room and want to experiment on your next vacation, I would recommend adding a portable printer to your bag. Nowadays you can find compact, battery-powered options that will let you pop out physical prints from your camera and smartphone quickly and easily. It is almost as easy as posting a photo to Instagram, though the feeling of holding a photo far surpasses that of uploading an image to social media. If you make some friends during your trip, this is a great way to share memories.
Fujifilm instax SHARE SP-3
This is my favorite portable printer, since it lets me create a classic print using modern instant film. The SHARE SP-3 is Fujifilm’s latest iteration of the instax printer and uses the SQUARE film, resulting in a 2.4 x 2.4" image area with a white border—in just 13 seconds. You quickly connect to your phone via Wi-Fi, and then, use the instax SHARE app to work with some basic editing tools, add a template or filter, and then print it out. It runs on an NP-50 rechargeable battery pack, meaning you can easily pack along some spares for your trip.
A newcomer to the mobile printing arena, the Canon IVY uses the now common ZINK Zero Ink technology to produce sharp, colorful prints without the added mess and bulk that comes with ink and dye. This means that the IVY is only a little bit larger than your average smartphone and can be slipped into a pocket easily for everyday carry. It runs on a built-in rechargeable Lithium-ion battery and has Bluetooth for connecting to your phone or tablet. The specialized ZINK media is quite good, because it creates 2 x 3" borderless prints that are smudge-proof and water resistant. The paper even has adhesive backing for immediately sticking it in a notebook or up on a wall.
HP Sprocket 2-in-1 Printer/Camera
Putting a twist on the standard portable printer, HP took its ZINK-enabled Sprocket and made it a 2-in-1 printer and camera combination. This means you can snap digital photos and instantly print out the images, all from a single device. It features a 5MP sensor and 24mm equivalent lens that make it a great choice for capturing landscapes or selfies when traveling. There is even a flash and selfie mirror to facilitate image capture. While shooting and instantly printing photos is a great setup for this camera, it can function as a standard smartphone printer, as well, thanks to Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. All you need do is use the HP Sprocket mobile app, and you are set.
Lifeprint Hyperphoto Printer
Another ZINK offering, but imagine that you could print your videos and live photos. This is what Lifeprint is offering with its augmented reality Hyperphoto Printer. Now, we aren’t talking about Harry-Potter-quality moving prints, that is still impossible as far as I can tell, so what we do have is a photograph that, when examined with a smartphone via a mobile app, will play on the screen as if it were a video or GIF. This printer also works with GoPros, in addition to your smartphone, meaning you can start sharing shots of your action-packed adventures almost immediately.
Kodak Photo Printer Mini
Using D2T2 dye diffusion thermal transfer technology, Kodak’s Photo Printer Mini wants to deliver higher-quality prints in its portable printer. It takes all-in-one cartridges that will allow the creation of 10 credit-card sized 2.1 x 3.4" photos using a three-color ribbon set (cyan, magenta, and yellow) and an overcoat. Built-in Wi-Fi allows for a direct connection to a smartphone, while NFC gives One-Touch Connect functionality for even easier setup. The mobile app gives plenty of options for customizing your prints, including the ability to create collages, print posts from social media, scan through videos and pull a frame, edit image, apply borders, and more.
Canon SELPHY CP1300
All the previous options are useful for producing small, pocketable prints on the go, but Canon went for the ultimate in portable printing quality with the SELPHY CP1300. This compact unit uses dye sublimation tech to produce sharp, vivid prints ranging in size from 2.1 x 2.1" up to the standard 4 x 6". It’s not pocketable like the other options, but the added options available here make it the most serious choice, especially for bringing to events. It can run on AC power or an optional battery for multiple-use cases, and has a large 3.2" tilting LCD so you can select images quickly from the SD card slot or connected to the USB port. Built-in Wi-Fi provides another method of connectivity, along with a mobile app and support for Apple AirPrint.
Do you think you might want to make some prints on your next vacation? Do any of these printers appeal to you? Let us know what you think in the Comments section, below!