Review: ZINK hAppy Smart App Printer featuring Zink Zero Ink Technology
The ZINK hAppy Smart App Printer is a premium semi-portable small format printer for iOS- or Android-based devices. With the right acid-free, permanent adhesive label pack loaded (referred to as “zRoll” and available in five sizes), you can print glossy full-color labels, pictures, coupons, stickers, tags, or similar types of small format output. Since the zRolls are self-contained, there’s no additional ink to worry about. Once the zRoll is used up or you wish to change sizes, just load another and get back to printing.
A 1/2″ zRoll is included (3/8″, 3/4″, 1″, and 2″ are also sold separately, and it’s the latter that’s most appropriate for small photos), along with the printer itself, power adapter (a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for true portability is sold separately), quick start guide, and a Cleaning zRoll, which is a white, non-printing label pack that starts a cleaning cycle. ZINK recommends you run a cleaning cycle for best performance after every 20 prints or so.
Setup is fairly straightforward. Plug in the power, load the zRoll, and download and run the ZINK Design and Print Studio app from either the Apple App Store or Google Play (note that there are some in-app purchases for certain “premium” content, which is disappointing considering the cost of the printer and consumables). From there, just follow the instructions in the app, which are a bit overbearing, but do eventually work, even though it took me a few tries and I wasn’t able to initially register an account.
The app itself is easy enough to use. Once you’re happy with your design, just print and then swipe your finger across the Swipe-to-Cut Groove on the printer to cut the print. If you print multiple copies, the printer will kiss cut between each copy so that individual prints can be peeled on demand, although this too can be changed to Swipe-to-Cut in the app.
There is also a ZINK MailEasy app for printing lots of address labels and a ZINK Big app that lets you assemble smaller prints into 4×6″ or larger (up to 16×20″) photos. It seems you’re not just limited to those apps either, as the ZINK hAppy Smart App Printer supposedly supports AirPrint on iOS and Google Cloud Print on Android, but I didn’t test either possibility.
Although the print speed is pedestrian, print quality is generally excellent, with good color. As you can hopefully see from the photos, this higher print quality makes it usable in a wider variety of scenarios than just for home use, particularly since it is effectively glossy laminated by default. However, the included 1/2″ zRoll is pretty small (about return address label size) so it’s hard to coax much detail, so getting some of the bigger sizes is definitely recommended.
It’s a premium product that does exactly what it sets out to do. If you don’t mind the similarly premium price for the printer and its consumables, this is definitely something worth checking out for your small format, adhesive printing needs, be they labeling, party photos/photo booth, scrapbooking, or anything else like that you can think of.