- Dimensions: 72.4mm x 120.9mm x 24.0mm
- Paper Size: 2in x 3in
- Connectivity: Bluetooth (w/ NFC pairing)
- Interface: microUSB
- Compatibility: Android and iOS
- Battery: 7.4V
- Adapter: 5 V, 1 A
- Can print photos from mobile devices via Bluetooth
- ZINK technology
- Capable of NFC
- Efficient companion app
- Cannot fit in pocket
- Prints are slightly overexposed
- ZINK paper is a bit pricey
- Portable, stylish and handy, the LG Pocket Photo is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to regularly take your digital photos and turn them into tangible wallet-size delights.
A portable photo printer for mobile devices has two advantages over an instant film camera. One: it pulls photos from the gadgets that typical, non-photographer consumers use the most to take pictures. Two: printing is done digitally, so you can do a little editing before you print out the image and you can make sure that the finished product will look the way you want it to look before it comes out on paper. One such device, the LG Pocket Photo-a dainty little photo printer made for mobile devices-confirms both points and proves its value for picture-loving mobile users.
Operation is simple: you pick an image from the gallery of your smartphone or tablet, send it over to the LG Pocket Photo, and it’ll print out a nice wallet-size photo in a mere 45 seconds.
Images are transmitted to the printer via Bluetooth, but if your mobile device is capable of NFC, you can tap your device against the printer for easier pairing. However, while you can simply send your photo to the printer over a Bluetooth connection, you have the better option of using the free companion app for Android and iOS.
The LG Pocket Photo App lets you optimize and customize your photos before printing. You can add filters, use different frame styles, and adjust saturation, brightness and contrast. Even better, you can create partitions within a single sheet. For instance, you can select the four-panel option and choose to have portions of the same photo in all four panels, or you can place a different photo in each one. The app gives you several configurations to choose from.
One interesting feature of the companion app is that it allows you to accompany the photo with a QR code and insert a short text blurb near the bottom of the frame. We did some test prints with QR codes and we were able to scan and read all of them accurately.
The device retails at PHP 7,999, but unlike a typical printer, the LG Pocket Photo employs inkless printing with the use of Zero-Ink (ZINK) paper, thus eliminating the additional cost of purchasing ink, although you would still have to buy paper. Such technology also drastically reduces the weight and size of the device.
Despite its apparent awesomeness, the LG Pocket Photo is not without its weaknesses. One issue is its bulkiness. It’s relatively light and easy to carry around in one’s bag, but it isn’t slim enough to stay true to its name. It is thicker than a typical power bank or an external HDD and will most definitely not fit in your pocket unless you still use’90s cargo pants. Prints also come out a little underexposed, but still good enough to appreciate the image. However, given the nature of the device, it would be unfair to expect anything spectacular. It produces good enough quality for what it is. Another concern is the maintaining cost. ZINK paper costs PHP 600 for three packs that each contain 1 0 sheets-that’s 30 sheets in total. Anything over PHP 500 is more than many are willing to spend for consumable goods, but look at it this way: 30 sheets means you can print out one photo a day-a picture of the most significant event or item for that day-for the entire month. If you’re a dedicated enough photo junkie, you replenish your sheets on a monthly basis. That’s just about enough time for you, the college student or the corporate rookie, to save up for the cost of a whole new set.
The device can be charged by plugging it into the included charging adapter or your computer via a microUSB cable-the same type of cable used for your mobile device. To me, this is a plus because I find it difficult to manage multiple types of chargers and cables for different devices. The device charges for a little more than an hour, and after that, you can print approximately one and a half packs of ZINK paper.
The printer requires you to shell out some money to be able to use it regularly, so its primary market would probably be serious photo junkies. Nevertheless, we know its capabilities-not to mention the speed of printing and the ease of use brought about by the companion app-are all too tempting even for the average consumer who takes photos with a phone or a tablet. That average consumer might want to turn these virtual images into actual photographs one can slip into a wallet or a book, or maybe decorate a room with, or give to a friend as a gift. The LG Pocket Photo has value for just about any mobile user.
BONUS WEB CONTENT: Click on the link to watch the demo video: http://www.gadgetsmagazine.com.ph/lg-pocket-photo-demo-video
First published in Gadgets Magazine, November 2013
Words by Racine Anne Castro