The resurrection of the polaroid-aesthetic camera has been massive, with Fujifilm leading the charge in Africa. Now, lovers of the old-school instant print photos are in for a wild ride as Intax’ Link Mini Smartphone printer mixes new tech with old tech to create something that needs to be seen to be believed.
The Instax Link Mini is sleek in design, it features a rounded shape that is deceivingly small and comfortably fits in hand. The device is mostly controlled through a large Instax button at its centre and features a backport for the film and an output slide for printed photos.
Most of its connectivity and usage is done straight through the Instax Mini Link app, available on Android and iOS via instant Bluetooth connectivity.
Through the app, the printer can be used in either of its 2 modes. Print Mode or Fun Mode and these modes can be selected through placing the Link Mini in different positions.
For the Fun Mode, a user merely has to place the device on its back horizontally, and the app instantly switches to the different mode complete with a colour change in both the device and the app.
Through Fun Mode, users can add frames to pictures in their libraries, with the app supplying a good variety of unique and different frames to experiment with. With the collage option, users can print a variety of images on a single photo similar to how collages work on Instagram.
This mode also offers a Party Print option in which users can connect with up to five friends through Bluetooth to create a unique Instax print. Finally, with the Sketch, Edit and Print Option, users can create personalised Frames for their print. The process is very quick and intuitive, yet a bit limited in scope.
Placing the Instax upright changes the app to a more professional Print Mode. Here users can use their smartphones as an Instax camera, able to print whatever image they take in the form of a polaroid. They can also use Video Print, to snip a frame from a video on your phone for printing.
The Instax Mini prints photos with exceptional quality, almost exactly as it appears on the smartphone, and images can be edited in terms of brightness and contrast. A small set of filters can also be chosen for printing.
One of the best things about the Instax Mini is that it works without a hitch. It is everything it says on the box. It is a quick and amazingly portable personal printer that gives you all of the accessibility of the Instax neo-polaroid camera but through the usability and outstanding compatibility of the smartphone. Photos are printed in around 11 seconds, and can be printed in quick succession.
It’s accessibility and plug-and-play appeal are the Instax Mini Link’s best qualities.
There’s also something inherently exciting about the device. It is difficult to put down, and its outstanding battery life, charged through a USB adapter, only aids in this. The in-built Lithium-ion battery is capable of approximately 100 prints per charge.
It is superbly fun exploring all the options available through the app. The motion tracking to change modes and dynamic colour display will also be very attractive for younger users.
The Mini Link’s main drawback is its price. The device currently retails at R1889 through Takealot. With this users can purchase the device and its USB charger. In order to print your pictures, users will have to purchase additional Fujifilm Instax Mini Film boxes. These retail for R155 each and only contain 10 images in each box.
This means that to be able to use the device to print 100 images, users will have to pay R3439 in total for the device and ten Mini Film boxes.
While this may be the make-it-or-break-it issue for some customers, those that love the aesthetic of neo-old school polaroid film and the incredible accessibility of being able to print directly from a smartphone will find a device that is everything it says it is.