One of my favorite things to do during the holidays (besides give gifts) is to try and enhance my family’s enjoyment of things with tech. For instance, in past years I’ve set up Google Hangouts for Christmas morning video chats and turned old tablets into Yule Log fireplaces. This year I got the chance to review the FujiFilm Instax Share smartphone printer and I knew right away that it was going home with me for the holidays.
The Instax Share is a compact and portable photo printer that uses the same instant photo film as FujiFilm’s instant cameras. But with this you can connect wirelessly to Android and iOS phones and tablets (as well as some of Fuji’s digital cameras) to print any image from your gallery app. Just download the Instax app (Android/iOS), set up the printer, choose the photo you want, and print.
The Instax app has a few editing tools, such as auto enhance, filters, crop, and rotate. The best feature is the built-in templates–with these, you can add text, the date, or holiday-themed frames. I used that last one a lot, turning the pictures into mini Christmas cards.
I didn’t tell anyone about the printer at first, I just took pictures as I usually do, trying to capture the best moments. Then, while people were distracted, I printed off a couple (the Instax is pretty quiet), then handed them out once they’d developed. The photos were a hit. My family loved everything about them, but especially the template art. We rarely get pictures printed up anymore, so the instant ones made a nice keepsake and inspired some nostalgia.
We have a large family, so I’ve popped in and out of several houses this past week. Each time I took the printer with me, took some pictures on the sly, printed them out, and surprised everyone.
I wasn’t only limited to the pictures I took with my phone, either. My camera has Wi-Fi, so it’s easy to copy the photos I like from it to my Note 4 over the air. And then I print them out like normal. The difference in quality isn’t that noticeable since the Instax prints don’t tend to be super sharp to start. As with Instagram, a little softness and not-quite-true color is excusable in this format. Plus, I like my photos to be like my memories.
I can see several similar situations in which the Instax Share printer could be useful: other holidays, birthdays, family reunions. I’m about to embark on some epic travel over the next year and I’ll probably use it to print pictures I want to mail to family and close friends or just keep for myself. Yes, I can do all these things digitally (and I do), but tactile things still matter and still make us happy. And making a printout of a favorite picture with a tiny printer feels more personal even than getting them mailed to you from Walgreens.com.
Bottom Line: the FujiFilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer lives up to expectations and makes a nice addition to holiday family gatherings. Highly recommended.