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Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K Review

The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K is an affordable entry in the increasingly-competitive resin 3D printer market which offers high resolution at a low cost. If you’re interested in printing small models or objects and capturing as much fine detail as possible, the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K is a machine that may work for your application. The build volume of the Sonic Mini 4K is typical for resin machines in this price range, but the high Pixels-Per-Inch density makes this one of the best 3D printers you can buy.

The introduction about Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K

Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K Photo

With looks similar to the Sonic Mini that came before it – pared back and basic – the Sonic Mini 4K differs by swapping the vivid red UV-blocking lid for a mud-green one that gives us the impression that the machine has grown up a little.

Addressing the killer new feature of the Sonic Mini 4K means, of course, talking about the resolution. The Sonic Mini 4K has a 135 x 75 mm 4K (3840 x 2160) LCD with a pixel density of 722 pixels per inch (PPI). This means a pixel size of 35 microns in the X- and Y- axes would, to our knowledge, put it as the highest resolution on a budget MSLA printer. Things are decidedly lower res on the original Sonic Mini, which has an XY resolution of 1920 x 1080. The new Sonic Mini 4K crams four times the number of pixels into roughly the same area.

The resolution bump alone isn’t the only reason to take an interest in the Sonic Mini 4K. It continues the current trend for monochrome LCDs in MSLA 3D printers. This type of LCD, in addition to a better life span over its RGB counterpart, allows a greater intensity of light to pass through. This effectively reduces the length of exposure time needed to cure the resin. Because of this, the Sonic Mini 4K is capable of cure times close to, if not under two seconds – a remarkably fast print speed that cuts printing times way down. Monochrome LCDs are typically good for thousands of hours of use. It would appear that Phrozen is covering short-term degradation with a three-month warranty on the LCD. Loss in performance outside of this time frame would be considered general wear and exempt from any statutory warranty claims.

At 135 x 75 x 130 mm, the Sonic Mini 4K’s build volume trumps its predecessor by 15 mm on the X-axis and 7 mm on the Y-axis. Not a dramatic difference, but one that gives the Sonic Mini 4K an above-average printing area for its class of machine. Looking at the competition for comparison’s sake, the Elegoo Mars Pro has 120 x 68 mm in the X- and Y- axes, whereas the Anycubic Photon S only has 115 x 68 mm. The Sonic Mini 4K has a larger printable area than both. That said, both printers beat the Sonic Mini 4K out for Z-height with 155 mm and 165 mm to the Sonic Mini 4K’s 130 mm.

The Phrozen Sonic Mini shipped with a colorful injection-molded plastic resin vat that, in our experience, worked just as well as the metal counterparts it replaced. Phrozen saves itself the bother this time, shipping a metal resin vat as standard with the Sonic Mink 4K.

45° of Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K

The using experience

The form of printing powering the Sonic Mini 4K is fundamentally quite simple. Sitting beneath the resin vat inside the printer is a masking LCD screen that provides the outline of the layers you are printing. A bank of powerful UV-emitting LEDs sits beneath the LCD, lighting up for the specified length of layer cure time, shining through the mask of pixels, and hardening that layer of resin. The differentiation between the large number of machines to use this tech is in the type, size, and resolution of LCD used, plus the power of the LEDs emitting the light. The original Sonic Mini uses a monochrome 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel display. By allowing a greater intensity of UV light than its RGB counterparts, a monochrome LCD allows the machine to cycle layer cure times as quickly as two seconds, if not quicker. Because of this, the Sonic Mini was faster than most of the competition, at the expense of resolution (which we noted wasn’t all that noticeable, in any case.) Now, the Sonic Mini 4K addresses the latter aspect with a mono LCD that boasts a 4K resolution. Another move that puts it ahead of many of the current competition in sheer numbers. It’s even out in front of the subsequent competition.

The Sonic Mini 4K is the most beginner-friendly 4K 3D printer on the market, offering ultra-high resolution with 722 PPI, the highest PPI ever! The printer offers 4K resolution printing at 35μm with a large printing area of 6.1″, producing highly detailed 3D printed parts that match your exact 3D printing designs, regardless of the size of your model. Using Monochrome LCD technology, the Sonic Mini 4K is one of the fastest 3D printers on the market, being able to print one layer in ONLY two seconds! The LCD screens work for over 2000 hours.

Comparing prints from the Sonic Mini and Mini 4K under the microscope, we can pick out sharpness in features on the Mini 4K print that aren’t there on the other. It is a noticeable step up. The same applies to other desktop resin printers – there is a slight improvement, though we’ll note you can still see that subtle stair-stepping effect of surfaces close to flush with the X- or Y- axes. At a distance, you can barely tell, but there is a general sense of sharpness to good prints on the Sonic Mini 4K. Enabling anti-aliasing can improve things further, and helps to smooth out egregious examples of the staircase effect.

To get the most out of this bump in resolution though, you need dialed-in print settings. Mid-way through testing, Phrozen obliged us with an updated print profile for the Sonic Mini 4K tailor-made to make the most of the resolution.

Is it worth ?

 

The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K is, technically, a reasonable improvement on a very good 3D printer. The new print plate and vat should reassure any doubters of the original Sonic Mini’s overtly cheap alternatives while bringing this budget machine up to snuff in all areas for newcomers jumping on board. The baseline quality of desktop resin 3D printers is already very good, and while throwing more pixels at the process does appear to bring a sharpness, it is not really a giant leap ahead of what you could already do on similarly priced printers.

All in all, buy it – Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K Review: High-resolution 3D Printing, low cost, you will never regret it.

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