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Lifeprint brings augmented reality to your photo prints

The pocketable Bluetooth printer is paired with a powerful app that lets you print videos and GIFs that come to life when viewed through your iPhone.

Joshua Goldman
Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
2 min read

Lifeprint is a mobile instant photo printer that simultaneously delivers the past and the future of how we experience pictures -- still and moving.

The pocket-sized block isn't too different from other small mobile printers like the Polaroid Zip or HP Sprocket. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and pumps out 2 by 3 inch borderless photos using Zink zero-ink paper. Embedded with cyan, yellow and magenta dye crystals, the paper starts off colorless, but as the print is being made, heat activates the crystals, changing them into the appropriate colors.

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The Lifeprint printer is even priced the same as those other models at $130 (approximately £100 or AU$170) with paper costs at about 45 cents a print if you buy in bulk. What sets the Lifeprint apart is what you're actually able to print.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

You see, while the Lifeprint does a fine job of printing stills, it can also print video clips, Snapchats, GIFs or Apple Life Photos as what the company calls hyperphotos. For example, using the Lifeprint Photo app (available only for iOS at the moment), you can select a video clip, trim it down to a max of 15 seconds and then select a frame from the video for your printed picture. Then, using the player in the app, point your iPhone's camera at your print and it will near-instantly start playing the clip you made on top of the photo as if it was a tiny TV.

The hyperphotos can be a combination of two unrelated pieces of media as well. With the app, you can select any photo you want to print and then attach whatever video you want to play when viewed in the app. The app is free, too, and you don't need to sign up for anything in order to use the viewer.

Lifeprint created its own social network around sharing hyperphotos as well. You can post them and send them to family, friends and followers so they can print out your shots with their own Lifeprint printers. You can keep your hyperphotos private, too, though you'll have to make that call before you share them the first time. Otherwise, you'll have to delete them from your profile, which will turn a printed hyperphoto into just a regular print.

I don't know if this is the future of photo prints, but it's definitely cool to see still images suddenly spring to life. If you want to see it for yourself firsthand, the Lifeprint is now in Apple stores. There's a sample image on the back of the box, so you'll just need to download the Lifeprint Photo app and point your iPhone at the image.

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