Review: Harry Potter Printer Uses AR to Bring Photos to Life

Who says you can't print videos? The folks at Lifeprint sent me the Harry Potter Magic Photo Video Printer ($149.99) to review, probably because they know I'm a fan of Harry Potter, but they didn't know that I've been using ZINK photo printers and instant cameras for years. In fact, I've been using Polaroid cameras since they came out decades ago, and this new device brings back some of the magic, literally, from those early days of instant cameras.

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All of the ZINK-based printers share the ability to instantly get 2x3-inch prints, or more recently 3x4.5-inch prints, and optionally with sticky-backed paper. No chemicals or ink is required; all of the technology is built in to the paper. That does make the paper a bit pricey, but if you shop around, you can find deals. 

There are a couple of distinctive features of the Harry Potter version from Lifeprint. First, it is decorated like a Harry Potter accessory should be, in gold and either black or white, with the Harry Potter logo on the top. There is a spot for an emblem so you can customize the printer with one of five included stickers to show your "house" (such as Hufflepuff) or the familiar "HP" symbol. This is a nice touch. 

The second and perhaps most important differentiator is the use of Augmented Reality. The free Lifeprint app can associate a printed image with a video, so whenever the app "sees" that print, it plays the video in place of the photo! It's just like the moving newspapers and posters in the Harry Potter movies. This particular printer supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for connectivity, and iPhone and Android. The app can let you add virtual stickers and enhance your photos.

Lifeprint

Pros

  • Clever use of Augmented Reality
  • Fast, wireless printing via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
  • Virtual stickers and sticker photo paper options
  • Works with ZINK paper
  • Sold in gold with white or black accents and optional emblems

Cons

  • Paper is expensive

Final Verdict

The Harry Potter Magic Photo Video Printer from Lifeprint brings photos to life just like in the movies!

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.