I Want This Smartphone Printer!

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Have you ever used a smartphone printer? Up until now, it’s been a real pain in the butt to print photos off your smartphone or tablet. This little gem makes it a snap. Imagine heading over to grandma and grandpa’s house and showing them pictures of the kids. “OK, mom, I’ll email them to you.”

“But, honey, I don’t have a printer. Let’s go to Walmart!” NO!

No More Going to Walmart to Print Quickly

The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 photo printer makes it so you don’t have to go anywhere to print the pictures of those special moments. “Honey, that’s a cute picture of the boys. Can I get a copy please?” “Sure thing mom. Hang on a sec. Here you go.” Pictures in an instant.

How Does This Smartphone Printer Work?

In a word, Wi-Fi. The Instax Share printer sets up a Wi-Fi hotspot that the Android or iOS app connects to. Hit print and the app sends the image to the printer. The printer has a cartridge similar to the old style Polaroid Instamatic cameras we old-timers used to use (My mother still has hers, and it works.).

The printer film cartridge holds enough instant film for ten prints. This is the same cartridge used by Fujifilm’s Instax Mini cameras that bring the old Polaroid style a newer, hipper look. At approximately $15, the cartridges are a little on the expensive side in my opinion. That’s about a buck fifty per print. However, the convenience of the system does make up for it.

Here’s how easy it is to use: First, launch the app. Next, select or take the photo you wish to print. When you have the photo you want, do your edits, if any. Finally, hit the Connect and Print button in the app after turning the printer on. The app connects to the printer and the printed picture pops out of the slot on the front of the printer about 20 seconds later. The connection process takes about ten seconds, so, from clicking Print to having a finished picture in your hand, for the first print, totals about 30 seconds. You can also choose to reprint images if you want.

Use It at Home or While Out and About

The other nice thing about the Instax printer is that it’s small enough to drop into a purse or pocket, measuring four inches wide, 4.5 inches deep, and 1.7 inches tall. You don’t need a power outlet, either since it’s powered by two watch-type batteries. However, if you are near a power outlet, you can save the batteries and plug into AC power with the not included adapter. Yeah, you’ve got to buy that separately.

What About the Apps?

We’ve become a society that likes to edit our photos before sharing them and the mobile apps deliver. Editing options include several basic templates and some filters including black and white and sepia (antique photo-style) filters. Fuji has also included their proprietary Fujifilm Intelligence Filter that gives your photos a little more “pop and pizzazz” otherwise known as color brilliance. Of course, no photo editor would be complete without the ability to cut, crop, and enlarge the image, so those features are also built into the apps.

Some of the things you can do with the basic templates is crop the image to a size that allows you to add text to the image, as well as colored borders if you want. We’re becoming a social media driven society, so the apps also let you pull images from Facebook, add your profile photo, and it even adds the number of likes the pic’s received since it was posted. Another template, called the Real Time template, adds the location and time the photo was taken, and the weather conditions (ie: temperature and humidity).

The printer and the app both let you monitor the status of the printer, with the printer have LEDs to tell you about remaining battery life (Fujifilm says the batteries last for 100 prints) and the number of prints left. There are also indicators for the batteries and prints remaining in the app.

What About Picture Quality?

I was wondering about that myself, remembering back to my own Polaroid cameras in days gone by. Not to worry, the images created by this printer are excellent quality. However, as you can imagine from size specs listed above (four inches by 4.5 inches) the prints are pretty small. The printer paper measure 3.4 inches by 2.1 inches, but the prints themselves are 2.4 by 1.8 inches.

My Conclusions

The Instax smartphone printer is priced right in the gray area between “considered purchase” and “impulse buy” at right around $150. The buck fifty cost per print is quite a bit higher than a standard printer, but you can’t pop a standard printer in a pocket or purse. However, image quality is high and the “fun factor” is even higher. Christmas is only right around the corner. Hint, hint.

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