Mobile printers have exploded in popularity in recent years, filling a niche that accompanied the surge of instant cameras. While pocket-sized printers are great for smartphone users looking to emulate the instant camera aesthetic, they can also be practical for all kinds of creative pursuits. We’re going to highlight our top mobile printers and why they might be useful to your workflow.
Canon IVY 2 Mini
Mobile printers don’t get much smaller than Canon’s IVY 2 Mini, a smartphone-sized gadget that produces sharp 2 x 3" borderless prints with peel-off adhesive backing. Using Canon’s Mini Print Mobile App, you can add frames, emojis, stickers, filters, and text to spice up your images. Produce unique photo stickers or leave the backing to enjoy a beautiful print. Between its editing options and sticker-making function, the IVY 2 Mini is a great do-it-all option for casual photo printing. It is sure to be a hit with kids, so we recommend snagging one of these little guys with some extra ZINK photo paper and pre-cut sticker sheets for your next family outing or long road trip.
Polaroid made waves with its first instant camera in 1948, establishing an iconic aesthetic that many mobile printers seek to replicate. Although it’s not an instant camera, Polaroid’s Hi-Print is a great mobile printer for smartphone users, generating 2 x 3" prints on self-adhesive photo paper. This little guy distinguishes itself from common inkjet systems with a dye-sublimation process that yields incredibly vibrant colors. Each print includes a tear-off strip on one end for careful handling with a writeable surface so you can caption your work. Combine this with the optional adhesive backing, and you have a great little printer to use for art projects like journaling or scrapbooking.
Canon SELPHY CP1500
While novelty applications are great, some photographers might be looking for a mobile printer to use in a professional capacity. Enter Canon’s SELPHY CP1500, a compact printer that produces vibrant, professional-like photos from a memory card, USB flash drive, or computer connection. This dye-sub printer comes with its own ink and 4 x 6" postcard-sized paper, but users can work with four different paper sizes for enhanced flexibility. With the companion SELPHY app, users can even apply specific finishes, overcoat patterns, and QR codes to their prints. Offering great variety and power, the SELPHY CP1500 can be a useful tool for event photographers. Quickly capture, print, and gift event attendees a photo of themselves in a nice display folder for safekeeping.
FUJIFILM INSTAX SHARE Printers
FUJIFILM’s INSTAX camera lineup enjoys immense success on the instant camera scene, so it makes sense that its mobile printers for smartphone users are just as good―so good, in fact, that we have multiple FUJIFILM recommendations depending on your artistic goals. All three options use real film to render your smartphone snaps with that lovely vintage feel.
You might consider the INSTAX Mini Link, which produces 2.4 x 1.8" glossy images with a simple white border. This look can be altered using compatible film packs with unique borders, or via the array of editing tools available on the INSTAX Mini Link app. While the small print size may not be for everyone, we think it’s great for close portraits and artistic experimentation.
If you’re looking to achieve a classic Polaroid look, the INSTAX SQUARE LINK is the smartphone printer for you. This little gadget has the unique ability to work with stills and videos, producing adorable 2.44 x 2.44" prints using square film. It requires the INSTAX SQUARE LINK app, which you can use to edit your image and apply neat AR effects.
Lastly, we have the INSTAX Link Wide, which, as the name implies, produces wide 2.4 x 3.9" prints using wide film. Like our previous options, users can access a swathe of presets and editing tools through the compatible INSTAX WIDE Link app. Of our three printers, we think this option is the best for capturing landscapes and group photos because of its generous width allowance. The print size is also the most conducive for framing or displaying.
Mobile printers can be a great small-space solution if you are looking to pare down or travel with your creative projects. They can also be a source of entertainment, inviting participants of all ages to enjoy shooting, editing, and receiving their own print. Regardless of your application, there is a mobile printer out there for you, and we hope our recommendations have given you some inspiration.
What are your thoughts on mobile printers? If you have one, what is your favorite way to use it? Let us know in the Comments section, below.