What is it? Remember back in the day when you used to have to go to Snappy Snaps to get your photos developed? Well this Lifeprint does it for you.
So it’s a photo printer? Yes.
That’s really not very exciting. On the face of it no, it’s not, but then that depends on what you’re printing.
Go on… How does printing videos sound?
Sounds like nonsense. Bear with. So, printing photos on the Lifeprint is pretty simple. You open up the accompanying app, select which image you want to print out and then send it via Bluetooth or over Wi-Fi to the printer (the benefit of Wi-Fi is that so long as the printer is on, you could be on a far-off jolly and surprise the folks at home). After about a minute or two, you have a photo perfect for sticking to your fridge.
But, you’re not just limited to printing photographs, you can instead choose to print up to 15 seconds of video.
How does that work? Once you’ve selected an appropriate vid or gif from your camera roll or from various social media platforms, picked a cover frame and thrown on a few snazzy filters, it wings its way over to the printer and out pops a still frame. Then, using the live viewer within the app, you hover your camera over the picture and things suddenly spring into life, with sound and everything.
That’s amazing! It is rather cool. Augmented reality is a pretty hot topic these days, and this is a pretty simple way to get on the bandwagon and show off to your mates some pretty funky tech. What’s also pretty neat is that you don’t have to remain still – as you move your camera around the video is pinned to the photo, so it’s always within the frame.
Hang about, the video is great, but that picture quality… Yes, it does leave a little something to be desired doesn’t it. Lifeprint have freely admitted in the FAQs that the ZINK technology they use doesn’t produce exceptional photos, with colours a little washed out and the contrast not exactly making the blackest of blacks, but it’s a common problem with small, portable printers. They also tend to curl a bit after a few days.
But it’s all about the videos, right? Exactly, that’s the big draw to this printer, and you can even share your mini movies with the Lifeprint community if you’re into that sort of thing.
Hollywood here we come! Alas, you’ll need something of a blockbuster budget if you’re going to get too creative. At £159.99, it’s at the mid to upper end of the portable printer range, and you only get five photo papers to start with – an extra pack of 20 will set you back another £30 on Amazon.
Oh, can it be done cheaper? Of course, but you’ll have to settle for smaller, 2×3 photos, which are probably better suited to wallets rather than walls. Still, it’s all a bit of fun, eh…
Alexander is the Online Editor at BBC Science Focus and is the one that keeps sciencefocus.com looking shipshape and Bristol fashion. He has been toying around with news, technology and science on internet for well over a decade, and sports a very fetching beard.