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Kodak Photo Printer Mini


Introduction, Design, Features

Apparently, dedicated photo printers like the $99.99 Kodak Photo Printer Mini we’re reviewing here today are quite popular. Three of the four major inkjet printer makers—Canon, Epson, and HP—offer at least one standalone snapshot printer, and Kodak, which was once a major inkjet printer vendor itself (back when there were five), offers several, including the Kodak Photo Printer Dock we reviewed a few months ago.

Over the years, as the Information Age has transitioned increasingly from desktop computing devices to handhelds, standalone snapshot printers like these two Kodak machines, HP’s Sprocket, Canon’s Selphy CP1200, and a few others have evolved with them. Nowadays, several snapshot printers, including the Sprocket, Kodak Photo Printer Dock, and now the Kodak Photo Mini, work exclusively with smartphones and tablets, forgoing desktop and laptop PC compatibility altogether.

As with the HP Sprocket, the only way to print to, configure, or gain access to the Kodak Mini at all is via your mobile device and the company’s Kodak Photo Printer app. And, as with the Kodak Dock and the Sprocket, you can print only one size photo; in this case 2.1 by 3.4 inches, which is about the same as the average business card. HP’s Sprocket output size, at 2 by 3 inches, is similar, and the Kodak Dock, at 4 by 6 inches, is designed to churn out snapshots about twice the size.  

We don’t, of course, evaluate these little printers on the same terms as their full-size document printer counterparts. Here, the primary focus is four-fold: price, convenience, print quality, and ongoing running costs. Aside from a somewhat high per-print cost of operation, we found the Kodak Mini’s price reasonable. The printer itself was very easy to set up and use and the software made preparing and printing photographs a snap.



Design Features

Compared to the Kodak Dock, which looks and feels plasticky and printer-like, the Kodak Mini has a more elegant appeal about it, depending on your color choice: white, black, or silver. It feels more like wood than plastic, giving it the air of a small jewelry box, or perhaps a pocket sheath for toting around fine cigars.

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (Colors)

In some of its ads, Kodak says that the Mini is about the size of a smartphone. At 2 inches tall by 3.8 inches across and 7.5 inches long and weighing 14.9 ounces, that’s true in terms of length and depth, but there aren’t many smartphones (if any, nowadays) that are 2 inches thick. In any case, even though they print on about the same size media, the Kodak Mini is much larger than the HP Sprocket’s 0.9 by 3 by 4.5 inches and 6 ounces. Even though its prints are somewhat larger than the Mini, the Kodak Dock is more tote-able. (The Mini is the one on top.)…

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (Right Angled Black)

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (Kodak Photo Printer Dock)

You can connect via Wi-Fi and near-field communication (NFC). Wi-Fi, of course, requires that both the mobile device and the printer be on the same wireless LAN, whereas NFC is the opposite. As long as both gadgets support NFC, all you do is touch the mobile device to a hotspot on the printer (in this case, the top of the chassis) to print.

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (NFC)

NFC, of course, only works with Androids and other mobile devices running iOS 11; iPhones and iPads running earlier operating systems, as well as B Type Android devices that don’t support NFC, must use Wi-Fi, which isn’t a big deal, especially once you get it set up (discussed soon). As mentioned, the Kodak Mini will communicate only via its wireless interface to a mobile device; hence, it has no use for a control panel.

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (Mobile)

The power button is located on the left edge, up near the top of the chassis, and the battery and power status LEDs are near the top edge, where you’ll find a mini-USB port for charging and a reset pinhole…

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (Buttons, Ports, and Indicators)



The Kodak Printer App

Or, you could say that your mobile device becomes the printer’s control panel, and an elaborate one at that…

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (Kodak Printer App)

Many of the options on the buttons in the above image speak for themselves, but a few don’t. Gallery, for example, displays the images on your Android phone or tablet. (The iOS version has slightly different options.) The Connect option, well, connects you to various popular social-media and cloud sites, and you can add others as needed…

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (Apps)

Editing mode allows you to crop and add text, stickers, and borders to your photos prior to printing, as shown here…

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (Editing Mode)



Setup

The Photo Printer Mini comes in the box ready to print. All you do is plug it into a USB power source to charge its internal battery; it comes with a short cable, but not a power adapter, though just about any phone or tablet power supply will do. As for consumables, the Kodak Mini uses self-contained cartridges with both the paper and solid dye-sublimation inks inside. There’s a starter cartridge inside the printer containing enough consumables to print eight photos—a skimpy allotment, for sure.

We’ll look closer at consumable purchasing options, costs, and so on in a moment. After the printer is charged, up, and running, install Kodak’s app on your phone or tablet, which is about the same as installing apps on any other mobile device. If your device supports NFC, simply make sure it’s turned on, and then tap it to the top of the printer…

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (NFC Instructions)

And then follow the directions to finish setting up NFC between the two devices; it’s a lot like setting up a Bluetooth connection. If, on the other hand, your device does not support NFC, you can connect both it and the Kodak Mini to your Wi-Fi network and print to it just as you would any other wireless printer.



Consumables Running Costs

As mentioned, the consumables for the Kodak Mini come in complete contained cartridges…

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (Consumable Box)

When one empties, you remove it and insert another…

Kodak Photo Printer Mini (Consumable Cartridge)

Again, when you buy the printer, you get 8 prints in the first cartridge already installed in the printer. Replacement cartridges sell in packs of 20, 30, and 50, that we found exclusively at Amazon ranging between $20 to $35. (Kodak also offers a 20-pack of adhesive-backed sticker labels that range about $1 each.) Since Amazon prices change based on a few variables, such as whether you have Amazon Prime or not, the per-page running costs we calculated are not exact, but close by a penny or two here or there. The 20-per-pack labels run about $1 per label; the 30-pack ones about 87 cents each; and the 50-count cost about 70 cents per label.

Compared to its competitors, the Kodak Mini labels aren’t cheap. The Kodak Dock, for example, has per-photo costs ranging between around 39 cents to around 50 cents, and it still prints larger photos than the Mini. HP’s Sprocket’s blank pages run about 50 cents each, though. No matter how you cut it, these little snapshot printers are not the least expensive ways to print your photos.

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