Table of Contents
- 1 Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer
- 2 Polaroid Hi-Print 2x3 Pocket Photo Printer
- 3 Other Comparable Mobile Photo Printers
For many of us, Polaroid is near-synonymous with instant images. Remember those times when you had to take your good old Fujifilm negatives to the print shop and wait in anticipation for them to be printed. Then remember the excitement when you saw your first picture taken with a Polaroid instant camera? The fascination as the picture slid from the slot, the anticipation as you waited for it to develop while waving it about vaguely, yet with purpose?
Modern-day mobile or portable photo printers bring you that instant printing of photos that Polaroid cameras were known for. A polaroid printer connects directly to your iOS or Android smartphone or mobile device and allows you to print any image from your phone right then and there.
They are great for parties or events, even traveling, when you want to give someone a memorable keepsake – or keep them for yourself. They make nifty little additions to traditional photo books. Let’s be honest; it’s always nice to have a physical photograph to remind you of good times. Here are some of the best:
Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer
With the Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer, you can select a picture on your phone and instantly print it in color. A 2x3” print takes less than a minute to produce instant prints once you hit the print button.
The Polaroid ZIP instant photo printer uses ZINK (Zero Ink printing technology). This technology makes use of special ZINK photo paper that is made of composite material with dye crystals embedded in it. The crystals are cyan, yellow, and magenta and covered with a protective polymer coating. As the printer heats the dye crystals, they melt, and the color is activated – producing a full-color, smudge-proof image. The Polaroid ZIP wireless printer can hold up to 10 sheets of ZINK paper. Each paper has an adhesive back. This sticky paper lets you easily stick your prints where you want them.
A 500 mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery can print 25 photos before it needs to be recharged via a micro-USB cable.
The Polaroid ZIP Printer can connect to your mobile phone via Bluetooth 4.0 or NFC technology (Near-Field-Communication). It is compatible with both iOS and Android devices (phones and tablets), as long as you have installed the Polaroid ZIP mobile app on your phone.
The Polaroid ZIP Mobile App
The Polaroid ZIP Mobile App is compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems. It also gives you various ways to enhance your images before printing them. The interface is similar to Instagram, making it intuitive and user-friendly to those who are familiar with Instagram.
With the app, you can adjust the brightness, contrast, tint, and saturation. Along with these features, the Polaroid ZIP App provides twelve color filters, including retro, sepia, and high dynamic range (HDR). Another design feature includes the option of creating a collage of up to nine images in collage mode. In paint mode, you can add stickers, stamps, frames, or emoticons to the image.
A fun feature of the Polaroid ZIP mobile app is that you can add private edits of animations or voice messages to a digital image. These private edits are only accessible when you scan a QR code printed on the picture's still image. To do this, you select an image and add the animation or voice message. You then print the picture, which will contain a QR code. When someone scans the QR code, they will be given access to the digital image from where they can see the animation or hear the voice message.
Other features of the app include in-app ordering of paper and linking with social media accounts. You can also take a picture while in the app, edit it, and print it.
Polaroid Hi-Print 2x3 Pocket Photo Printer
The Polaroid Hi-Print 2x3 Pocket Photo Printer uses dye-sublimation printing technology. This produces more vibrant images than those printed with ZINK printing technology – in roughly the same amount of time (about 60 seconds). While the Hi-Print Photo Printer gives you better print quality in your images, it also comes at a higher price.
The paper for the photos printed by the Polaroid Hi-Print comes in a cartridge. Each cartridge holds ten 2.1x3.4” photo papers and a single-use dye sublimation ink ribbon. The printer is a four-pass printer, and the paper moves back-and-forth over the printhead. Each time a different color gets added to the image: cyan, magenta, and yellow. The fourth time the paper moves over the printhead, it gets covered with a clear protective coating. This coating is to preserve the image’s quality – Polaroid even claims that it makes the photo prints waterproof.
The Polaroid Hi-Print is slightly larger than ZINK pocket printers that only need space for the paper and no ink cartridges. However, the Hi-Print needs to accommodate the cartridge with the paper and the dye sublimation ink ribbon. Having said that, the Hi-Print is smaller than many other dye sublimation pocket printers.
The Hi-Print has a 640mAh battery that should last for about 20 physical prints when it is fully charged. The device charges via a micro USB cable.
It is compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones and connects via Bluetooth 5.0.
The Polaroid Hi-Print App
The Polaroid Hi Print App allows you to edit your images before printing them. You can adjust the brightness, contrast, clarity, and saturation of your images or add one of the many filters available on the app. You can also choose from numerous frames and stickers to add, in addition to adding, editing, and formatting text.
Other Comparable Mobile Photo Printers
HP Sprocket Plus
The HP Sprocket Plus, along with the app, is easy to use. You only need to load the paper into the back of the printer, connect your smartphone or mobile device via Bluetooth, and you are ready to print your pictures. With the app, you can connect to your social media accounts like Facebook, Google, and Instagram to print images directly from these sites. You can also, of course, print photos from your phone or device’s photo album.
Polaroid Mint Pocket Printer
The Polaroid Mint Pocket Printer comes in a variety of bright colors. The Polaroid Mint app has some design and editing features but not as many as some of the other mobile printers mentioned here.
The Polaroid Lab is not so much a pocket printer as it is the more modern version of old school Polaroid. The idea is very much like traditional Polaroid cameras, but instead of being an actual camera – or connecting to your phone to print pictures – it only works as a printer. To print a picture from your smartphone, you need to place your phone on a scanner on top of the printer. It then scans this picture and sends it to the Polaroid Originals app that you need to have installed on your phone. Yes, yet another Polaroid app.
You can use the app for edits. It has other features that many mobile printers don’t have, like splitting one image to print across multiple pictures. These pictures then create a collage of the larger image once pieced together.
The best feature of the Polaroid Lab is that it uses i-Type film (the traditional Polaroid film). The printed image is a bit more faded and less sharp than what you would get with dye-sublimation or even ZINK printers. It gives the photos the look and feel of old-school Polaroid photos that we all remember from way back – including that excited anticipation while waiting for the print to develop. The nostalgia comes at a price, though, as the i-Type film is generally more expensive than ZINK paper, mostly because fewer devices use it. Thus there is a lower demand for it, making it more pricey.
Fujifilm Portable Printers
Fujifilm has two portable printers: the Fujifilm Instax mini link and Fujifilm Instax share SP-3. The Instax mini link creates fluidity between your phone and the printer. Different motions and actions taken with the printer will automatically create reprints or zoom in and out to capture and print your best shot. It also has fun quizzes (with the results printed on the physical photo, and a ‘surprise’ feature that merges two pictures together in the final printed image.
The Fujifilm Instax share SP-3 boasts a quick 13 seconds to print a physical picture. It can also split one image into two physical prints. Another great feature is the ‘Real Time Template’ that prints the date, location, weather, temperature, and humidity on the picture, perfect for those keepsakes of happy memories.
Using a portable printer is a fun way to create quick prints of pictures taken with your Android or iPhone, or mobile device. Printers that use ZINK (zero ink paper) generally make for good-quality images. On the other hand, dye-sublimation printers offer higher quality images, but this comes at a higher price per image. Most of the big names in digital cameras now have their own version of a portable printer. The features range quite a lot, and the one you decide to buy will depend on the features you would use the most.