We Review the Liene Pearl K100 Portable Photo Printer: A Competitive Entry in the Zink Space

We Review the Liene Pearl K100 Portable Photo Printer: A Competitive Entry in the Zink Space

While instant photography cameras like Fuji’s Instax series have gained a huge following among a younger generation who are discovering the beauty of instant prints, lugging around an undersized camera just for the hard copy photos is a chore. That’s where portable photo printers like Liene’s Pearl K100 portable photo printer come in.

The phone in your pocket is already a pretty good camera, so if on-the-go prints are what you’re after, Liene’s latest entry into the market joins a long list of zero-ink (or zinc) manufacturers. such as HP and Canon. And while the Liene might not be a name you’ve heard of, it offers pretty good value against the competition with its Pearl K100. The company sent me a unit for a test drive, and this tiny pocket pusher turned out to have a lot going for it.

What is Zero Ink?

Traditional small photo printers, like Liene’s previous 4×6 model, use dye sublimation technology to make near-lab-quality prints. In my testing of that model, the prints compared favorably to my professional grade Canon photo printers. Dye sublimation also allows for colorful, waterproof prints.

The colorful and waterproof parts carry over to this new printer (and zero-ink printers in general) with the added bonus of not needing cartridges, toner, ink or anything else that a larger printer needs. All you need is the printer and some zero-ink paper. Photos print in one pass instead of requiring multiple runs for each color layer, and prints are done in about a minute. The ink is embedded in the paper itself and is brought out in the printing process.

The catch? Image quality on any zero-ink printer, including this Liene, won’t come close to a dye-sublimation or higher-end inkjet printer, and prints from this printer (and most other printers in this class) are a bit smaller at 2×3″ instead of the usual 4×6″

Still, print quality has never been an obstacle for other instant media like Polaroids, and it’s not here, given the range and intended use of the printer.

All of this comes in a portable package that’s easy to toss into a backpack, purse, or bag (if you’re wearing cargo pants, that is). The entire printer is just under 5 inches long, just over 3 inches wide, and is about an inch tall. It weighs less than half a pound and runs on a rechargeable battery that charges via USB-C and claims to be good for 30 prints. The design is not unlike an enlarged AirPods case, although my white model seems to pick up dirt and scratches easily. There are also green and pink models available.

How much does it cost?

Some of the intended use for this printer can be inferred from the paper that Liene supplies for it, which is 2×3” corrugated paper that has a tough backing. It wasn’t until I read the specs for the printer that I realized this was the case, and so instead of just having 2×3 prints, I actually had a bunch of stickers that I could put anywhere. That’s not a bad trade-off for the cost of about 50 cents per print, about the same as Liene’s larger 4×6 printer.

The best thing the Lien makes for itself is its initial purchase price. At $97.99 (though currently $88.19 with an Amazon digital coupon), the printer also comes with 50 sheets of corrugated paper. Compared to the closest competition, it’s a bargain. HP’s Sprocket is $101 dollars for the same amount of included paper, Canon’s Ivy printer is $103. And all three companies typically charge between $24 and $25 per 50 pack of paper. You can get the printer with less included paper, but that seems to defeat the purpose. All of this compares favorably with Fuji’s Instax paper, which works out to about 75 cents per print.

Ease of use

One of the things that struck me was how easy it was to use the printer. The Liene Photo app for the iPhone instantly connected to the printer via Bluetooth, which is a welcome change from the Wi-Fi of the company’s previous printer. I just selected a photo in the app and was ready to go. I had an existing Liene account from the company’s 4×6 printer, but after a quick account creation it all just works without any fuss.

Like any printing app, you can add filters, enhance or edit the photo, and crop or make borders or Polaroid-style prints. It’s all simple and easy to use. The printer is also compatible with Android phones.

Image quality

The image quality of this printer is objectively not good. Again, image quality wasn’t a strong point for Polaroids or Fuji Instax prints either, and it’s key to remember that this is the competition for this kind of printer. Prints are definitely comparable to those famous brands. When buying any inkjet printer, the quality of the print is not the end goal, and that is the case here with the Liene Pearl K100 Portable Photo Printer.

If you are buying with the best image quality in mind, it would be better to consider a dye sublimation printer or a high-end inkjet model. While you will get better quality, you will also get more complexity and cost. Still, despite the simplicity, the printer occasionally had a glitch and photos would show some banding, although it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed by running the calibration sheet through the printer for a cleanup not.

With this Liene printer you get simplicity and fun. It’s actually pretty neat to be able to make a print, peel off the back and slap it anywhere, and if that’s your goal, the Liene delivers in spades at a price better than the closest competition. The fun is as much a feature of the printer as anything else.


Last year, I had concerns about whether Liene, as a relative unknown in the printer game, would stay. A year later, these concerns appear to have been unfounded, as the company appears to be committed to the US market with even more printer releases. Liene’s latest apps are easier to use than ever, and the printers seem well built. The printers are at least as good as the nearest competition at a better price.

A printer like this would be a fun tool for scrapbooking, journaling or decorating your fridge. My kids get a kick out of taking pictures of themselves and friends to put on their school directories. The speed and ease with which these sticker photos can be made makes the printer well worth the price.

What I liked Good price point Portable and easy to use Wallpaper makes printing fun again What I didn’t like Print quality is only average, which is more a comment on zero ink technology than the printer Purchase

You can buy the Liene Pearl K100 Portable Photo Printer by clicking here.

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