What is it?
Fujifilm’s Instax Square Link smartphone printer lives up to its name by allowing direct image printing from a smartphone. The device produces a 62mm2 image, conveniently ejected from the printer. The print initially displays an empty white square in the centre, and the image fully develops in about 5 minutes. The result is a mostly accurate reproduction of the original, with excellent quality compared to what one usually sees from Instax cameras.
The companion app, Square Link, connects the device via Bluetooth to one’s smartphone. The app provides information like the device’s name, battery status, and the remaining number of prints in the current cartridge. While the app is not intended as a comprehensive editing tool, it does offer a range of simple yet effective editing options. These include zooming, rotating, adding text or stickers, correcting brightness, contrast, and saturation, as well as a choice of three different filters.
Other editing options include adding frames or creating collages using multiple images. One can select a frame from a video to be printed, or capture real-time photos within the app itself. The app features AR Print, which incorporates special effects, doodles, backgrounds, and additional text or photos into your prints via a QR code. Upon scanning the QR code, which is applied to the print after adding AR effects, one’s smartphone opens the Square Link app and brings the printed image to life with its customised effects. One cannot add multiple of these edits to the print.
The accompanying charging cable supplies power to the device via a smartphone power brick (not included), fully charging in about 80-120 minutes. The device dropped to 80% battery after completing 10 prints. One needs to purchase cartridges, which allow for 10 prints per cartridge. One can follow the instruction manual to insert the cartridge into the device, which is a simple and quick process.
The Square Link is compact and light. Accessories such as cases and frames are available, and sold separately.
What does it cost?
Fujifilm’s Instax Square Link smartphone printer is available at a recommended retail price of R2,899 on superbalist.com, and the instant film (10 sheets) at R229 or R199, depending on the frame type, on takealot.com.
Why does it matter?
Is the satisfaction derived from reading the pages of a hardcover book truly incomparable to that of an e-reader? And if so, does this same physical-versus-digital argument extend to the realm of photography? With the advent of smartphone cameras and cloud storage technology, we now possess the ability to store countless digital images and videos. However, holding a physical copy of a printed image provides a more tangible feel to the memory. The Instax printer provides for a user-friendly experience that produces accurate prints, which are great for revisiting moments, and gifting to friends and family.
What are the biggest negatives?
- Limited editing tools.
- Only 10 prints per cartridge.
What are the biggest positives?
- Accurate and good quality prints.
- Decent battery life.