Dye-sublimation benefits are:
Rather than the colors being formed by dithering, each dot formed by dye-sublimation is (theoretically) the exact 24-bit color value
There are no inks to clog a printhead, run out in the middle of a print job, or require printhead cleaning
The prints are waterproof
Even though dye-sublimation does not require the extra resolution required by dithering, the relatively low resolution (300dpi) limits the maximum sharpness you can have
Multiple passes through the print engine causes inevitable color registration issues, impacting sharpness and color accuracy
Contrast can be limited, without a black component on the ribbon
You're very limited when it comes to sourcing consumables
I was surprised to see that HP had a line of small dye-sublimation printers, as it appeared that Kodak and Canon had pretty much abandoned the space. I got the HP Sprocket Studio Go Bundle (3XT68A) with the expectation of using it as an event/party printer. You get a nylon carry bag, a printer, a battery pack, a power supply, a ribbon cartridge, and some paper. Load the paper into the tray (glossy side up), carefully slide the ribbon into the side of the printer, and hook up the power. That's it for the physical setup. Next, you load the app on your phone or tablet (I loaded the Android app on my Google Pixel 3 XL). It was pretty off-putting that I had to grant location permissions (!) to the app, in order to complete the install. Once installed, the app is pretty intuitive - mostly because there's very little functionality. It detected the printer through Bluetooth (worked on the first try). I hope you like the app, because there's no other way to use the printer.
In terms of functionality, it was a bit of a mixed bag. Once you select a photo in the app, you have some limited capabilities you can leverage. You can crop and rotate the image (more on that in a second). You can also change brightness/contrast and color HSV. You can apply filters, and add embellishments. Since the functions respond to device gestures, it's a little too easy to accidentally rotate the image - without a way to reset the rotation to 0 degrees. Zooming and cropping is pretty straightforward. The rest of the image adjustments are hard to properly evaluate on a phone, as you can't see histograms and you can't zoom in to see the impact of your adjustments. Once you have the image the way you want it, hit print.
The app transfers the print job to the printer. About 60 seconds later, you have a completed photo. The ribbon is made up of four sections per print - cyan, magenta, yellow, and clear. The paper makes four passes through the mechanism, laying down each color. The prints I generated looked pretty good. Good, in this context, requires some explanation. These prints are not as good as what you'd get from a minilab, but you can't carry a minilab around with you. A quirk to keep in mind is that the printer, because it needs to feed the paper multiple passes, can't print edge-to-edge vertically. That means that there are vertical tear offs, similar to what we had back in the tractor-feed fan-fold paper days. What I found out, was that you should not crop the top of the picture very closely, as you're going to lose about 3/16". This is your best option for portably printing 6x4 photos, which is where the battery pack and carry bag come in.
The mobile-specific features leave me with the impression that a sales or marketing person was in charge of the product requirements. Basically, the fixed-installation printer was paired up with a battery pack and a bag. The lack of battery integration makes the inclusion seem like an afterthought. If the design requirements included portability from the start, I don't think the printer would have had a barrel connector for the DC power input. If you need 60W, why not use USB-C with PD? That would also make it easier to not have an oddball power bank (as it charges with the same barrel connector). I mean... what if you want to bring this to an event where you will out-print your power reserve?
Consumables are always an issue with printers. With dye-sublimation printers, it's supposed to be fairly controlled, as you know EXACTLY how many prints your ribbon is good for. HP does the normal "new printer" thing, by only giving you enough ribbon and paper for 10 prints. Once you've exhausted that, you're going to have to source more, right? As it turns out, while the 4KK83A is available from sellers on Amazon, the cheapest option is actually HP's online store (with free overnight shipping). It ends up around $.47 per print, which isn't bad.
If you're approaching this from the standpoint of having a printer that's roughly the equivalent of a digital Polaroid, with some Instagram-ish features, you're going to LOVE this. The main shortcomings of the HP Sprocket Studio are due to tying the thing to a smartphone - which is not a problem, if you knew that going in. If want more control, you're going to need a PC-connected dye-sublimation printer in this form factor (6x4) - a Canon SELPHY. Conditionally recommended.
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