The Kodak Dock photo printer was quick and painless to set up. After you load the cartridge – there is just one, and it holds all the color – you snap the fully loaded paper tray into place. The printer’s compact design makes it seem portable, but it doesn’t have a battery pack like some of the other snapshot photo printers we tested.
After setting up the printer, we connected a phone to the dock, which required a micro-USB to universal-C adapter since it was a more recent LG model. You should take the added cost of an adapter into consideration or plan to connect the printer wirelessly to your phone. The dock also allows for a wired connection via USB or micro-USB. If you use the dock to connect your phone to the printer, it charges the battery for you, which might save some desktop space in your home office.
We downloaded Kodak’s Printer Doc app, which lets you browse your phone’s gallery for photos. It can also connect to your social media accounts and email, in case you want to print photos you store in those locations. This app was easier to navigate and use than some of the others we tested. Once we selected an image, it took a second to get the printer going because the print button blends in with the machine’s body; it would be easier to find if it lit up like the power button.
There are limited editing tools within the app, which can be useful. You can pinch your selected photo to zoom and crop it before printing or alter its filter and brightness. As with many of these snapshot printers, you can use the app to decorate your photo with text and symbols before printing it.
The printer uses dye-sublimation technology, which transfers layers of color via heat onto the photo paper. This process creates longer-lasting photographs but takes a little longer than printing with inkless Zinc paper. On average, it took about a minute and a half for one print to finish.
It did a better job than the more expensive Canon 1300 at reproducing detail, shadows and brightness, but it struggled with skin tones in our portrait test. We also found a few minor defects in the photos, small disruptions where dust or the paper’s imperfections interrupted color transfer.
The photo paper has easy-to-grab, removable tabs that prevent damage to the photos when you handle them, and make it easier for the printer to feed them. However, they don’t tear away cleanly, and you can see some bumps on the edge after you take them off. The choppy edge might be frustrating for hobbyists who want to display the images.
We didn’t run into any problems while working with this printer, but we checked Kodak’s support options just in case. The company provides a one-year warranty, and if you need help troubleshooting a problem, there are manuals online as well as contact information for phone and email support.
The Kodak Dock photo printer is a solid option for a limited-use 4 x 6 photo only printer. It is easy to connect to the app, and it produced some good-looing prints. If you're looking for a snapshot printer, the Kodak Dock photo printer is likely the best value. It produces high-quality prints and doesn't have a prohibitive price tag.