Instant film cameras have made a comeback in recent years, with users enjoying the fun that comes with these Polaroid-style photos.
However, the Instax Mini Link changes up the formula somewhat by giving you the benefits of instant film photos but by leveraging the versatility of your smartphone.
I tried out this nifty gadget for two weeks and here are my thoughts…
What is the Instax Mini Link?
The Instax Mini Link is an instant-film smartphone printer by Fujifilm.
Instant film/self-developing film differs from photo paper, since these prints are made from actual film, rather than a photo print on special paper. It’s the type of film made popular by Polaroid in the 1970s.
The Mini Link connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Using the Mini Link app, you are able to send photos from your phone’s camera roll to the device.
The app includes a variety of modes and creative edits, allowing you to add frames, icons, and filters to your images.
The app even has a variety of game-like modes, such as party prints and match tests. You can also print still frames from a video.
When you send a photo to the printer, it takes a few seconds to print. Over the next few minutes, the film develops.
Instax Mini Link review: printing device
The Mini Link is a light-weight, efficient gadget that is incredibly simple to use. It brings the benefits of an Instax Mini camera’s instant film, but lets you enjoy the editing and photography capabilities of your smartphone.
This means you don’t have to worry about having a specialised camera or dedicated device for taking these pictures. You can take your Instagram pictures, images sent to you by others, or general snaps from your camera roll and immortalise them with instant film prints.
The device is lightweight and compact, making it easy to fit into your bag or luggage. But you don’t have to even carry it with you — you can wait till you’re back from your photography outing to print.
This saves you from the hassle of carrying film and printed photos when you’re out and about. While these prints are more hardy than photographic paper, they can still get damaged when carried around in a bag with other items.
The device responds quickly and there were very few hitches while I set it up. While there is a small guide included in the box that lets you know how to set up the printer, it’s really simple to figure out.
I didn’t find much use for its gesture controls, which let you shift and move the device to trigger the print from the app. However, they are available to use if you want to.
Battery life was decent, though the battery does drain more quickly than expected if you accidentally leave the device on and in standby for long periods of time.
Mini Link picture print quality
The Mini Link produces high-quality instant film images that make great gifts, keepsakes and decor.
At roughly the size of a credit card, the images are a bit small, but nevertheless provide great clarity and colour. I printed out a few of my favourite Instagram images, as well as images of my pets. There are now way too many cat photos adorning my fridge and I love it.
However the film’s size is also part of the convenience of the printer. Instax SA does offer larger printers with larger images in the form of the Instax SP-3.
One downside is the price of the film — which averages between R12 and R15 per piece depending on how large a pack you buy. However, this price isn’t so high that it puts me off of the product — just high enough that I wouldn’t frivolously print anything.
The only challenge I found when printing images is that a dark background could sometimes come out as a near-black colour. But adjusting the background to have higher saturation and brightness solved the problem.
Otherwise, images came out perfectly and much better than I had initially expected.
Instax Mini Link: Final thoughts
The Instax Mini Link is a great device that is fun to use — providing awesome keepsakes of your favourite photos and events.
The images produced by this small printer are clear and colourful, making them great gifts or mementos. I’ve used my images to brighten up my fridge, keep my place in books, and to brighten up my computer workspace.
The only real downside is affordability. Retailing at between R1700 and R1900 (depending on the retailer), it’s not cheap. However, the Mini Link does work out cheaper than many instant film cameras while offering extra versatility to source your images from other devices.
Overall, I really enjoyed using this device and it’s definitely a gadget I can recommend.
Find out more about the Instax Mini Link on the Instax South Africa website.