We may take many more photos now with our smartphones than we used to with cameras. But the images tend to stay in your smartphone or get uploaded to social media.
Rarely will you have prints made, probably because it is troublesome to download the images to a flashdrive and go to a photo kiosk in the neighbourhood.
But now, there is the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1. This is a portable printer that your smartphone can connect to using Wi-Fi. It produces an instax print in less than 20sec.
The all-white printer is about the size of a Fujifilm instax mini 8 instant camera and about as thick as a cheeseburger. It weighs 253g and can easily be carried in your bag.
The power button and film exit slot is on top of the device. In front is a row of LED lights to indicate the number of prints remaining. Beside it is a shorter row of LED lights to indicate battery power.
Installation is a no-brainer. Insert the CR2 batteries at the bottom of the printer. Lift up the rear compartment cover and slot in a pack of Fujifilm instax mini instant film, which will give you credit card-sized prints.
Make sure the yellow indicator on the film is aligned with the corresponding indicator in the compartment, and close the cover.
The two CR2 batteries are supposed to last 100 prints. But the SP-1 can also be powered by an AC input with a power adaptor that is sold separately.
Next, download the free instax Share app (Android and iOS) to your smartphone or tablet. Power up the SP-1 printer by holding down its power button for about a second. Then, connect your mobile device to the printer's Wi-Fi network.
Start the instax Share app. You need to key in the default password "1111" in the app before you can connect. The password can be changed or disabled.
Next, take a photo or pick one from the collection on your tablet or smartphone. You can apply existing templates to the photo or add text on the border and you are ready to print.
From the moment you tap Print, it takes only 19sec to print the photo. As this is an instant print, the quality is not comparable to that produced by proper photo printers.
The prints have a typical Polaroid look that gives them a distinct character not found in regular prints.
On the downside, the instax mini prints are expensive.
The cheapest I can find is $7.90 for a pack of 10 prints without fancy frames. In other words, it costs 79 cents per print.
You need to print out fast too, as the printer tends to shut down automatically in 3min to save power. And then you will have to go through the whole process of connecting to the printer's Wi-Fi network again.
At $259, the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 smartphone printer is not cheap and the instant prints are quite pricey too. But at a party or special event, this gadget will definitely be the centre of attraction.
By Trevor Tan
This article was published on May 7 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.
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