We like the idea of the Sonic Mini 4K more than the reality. When it works, it's great, but this model is riddled with QC and longevity issues. If you don't mind tinkering to perfection or replacing parts as they fail, the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K is an amazing budget-friendly option. What you save upfront, though, you'll likely spend down the line.
In-Depth Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K SLA Printer Review
The Sonic Mini 4K promises the world for under $400, but can you really get 4K, ultra-high quality prints from a budget printer? If you’re like us, you’re skeptical and wondering if there’s a catch. That’s why we put this 3D printer through its paces for today’s Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K review.
Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K Specs
Jumping right in, the Sonic Mini 4K’s most impressive feature is obviously its monochrome UHD LCD screen. This screen produces extreme levels of details with blazing exposure times down to about 2-seconds. It’s coupled with a parallel LED UV lighting structure that provides an even wash of light during printing with minimal leaking.
With just a 5.2” x 2.9” x 5.1” build volume, the Sonic Mini 4K is one of the smallest resin printers we’ve ever reviewed. Consider this before purchase and measure the space out if you’re not sure. The benefit here is that the 4K resolution over such a small build platform means the potential for even higher print quality.
The Sonic Mini 4K’s chassis is almost entirely plastic, which does give it a light and even “cheap” feel out of the box. That said, important parts like that resin vat and Z-rail structure are made of aluminum. It’s a bare-bones setup with just a USB port in the back and a very simple touchscreen interface.
Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K Pros
This is one of, if not the cheapest 4K SLA printer on the market. If you demand high-resolution printing at a low cost, the Sonic Mini 4K is probably your best choice. Forgetting its tiny build volume and cheap plastic construction, the Sonic Mini 4K has the potential to produce exceptional-quality prints. If model quality and cheap starting cost are important to you, this printer delivers.
We’ve already mentioned it but it bears repeating: the print quality from this machine is incredible. Once calibrated, this printer produces results that rival those of much more expensive machines. If you’re familiar with resin printers but have never used a 4K or monochrome LCD, you will be blown away by the amazing precision and fast exposure times. Even if you’ve used 4K screens before, the Sonic Mini 4K’s smaller build volume allows for the smoothest finishes and minute detail.
Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K Cons
Quality Control Issues
It’s a common problem in the 3D printing industry that in a rush to make the cheapest 3D printer, a brand foregoes quality control in lieu of mass production. We get it, and expected the Sonic Mini 4K to come with some quirks. Unfortunately, too many printers appear to be slipping through the cracks. Users report a myriad of issues from unfinished screw fittings to faulty LCDs and even issues with the USB port. It seems that every component of the Sonic Mini 4K is subject to fault out of the box.
Of course, plenty of customers receive fully functional units. There is a good chance, however, that you may need to replace or troubleshoot some frustrating quality control issue.
Not Very Beginner-Friendly
For the reasons listed above, it’s difficult to recommend this printer to all but the tech-savviest beginner. Phrozen doesn’t even sand the build plate, instead choosing to ship the box with a piece of sandpaper and some rough instructions. Calibrating the Sonic Mini 4K is also a chore.
Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K Verdict
It’s difficult to compare the Sonic Mini 4K since its nearest competitor is almost twice the cost. Still, we remain critical of Phrozen’s lack of quality control. It’s a shame because if you’re not willing to deal with Phrozen’s lackluster customer service or put in your own time and energy fixing things, the Sonic Mini 4K comes up a bit short.
This printer has good bones, but most people want their SLA printer to “just work”. For a 4K printer with more reliable performance and customer support, we recommend the Anycubic Photon Mono X. It’s more expensive but you get a lot more print volume, a sturdier machine and much better customer service. We also recommend Phrozen’s own upgrade to this printer, the Sonic Mighty 4K, as it’s easier for beginners and suffers none of the Sonic Mini 4K’s quality control issues.