At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsPortable and stylish designImpressive printsUSB-C chargingDecent range of editing optionsConsRunning costs add up over timeApp could do with some improvementsQR codes on AR prints on the larger sideOur Verdict
The Instax Square Link has everything you need from a portable printer, with a sleek finish and a range of editing tools. However, the app could do with some refining.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Instax Square Link
Fujifilm’s Instax printers are some of the best known portable printers, and for good reason. They are compact, user-friendly and produce good quality photos in just over a minute, straight from a smartphone.
Instax has devices for its Mini and Wide film formats, but this review will be focusing on the Instax Square Link, which prints medium sized snaps in Instax’s Square film format. The last printer from Fujifilm that supported this size film was the Instax Share SP-3.
But is it the device for you? I’ve taken some time to test out this portable printer to help you decide.
Design & build
Like other Instax printers, the Instax Square Link has a modern and fresh feel to it. It comes in two colours, Ash White and Midnight Green. I tested out the second version, which is a unique shade in the instant printer and camera space.
The body is made from a matte ribbed plastic material, which looks refined. Plus, its slim and lightweight, measuring 105 × 37.5 × 127.5mm and weighing 236g. It can easily fit in a bag or a large pocket and can also stand upright on a desk if you’d prefer to keep it around the house.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
The power button sits in the centre, where the Instax logo is. This lights up different colours to indicate when the device is powering on, pairing, printing and charging. There is also a function button on the left which you can press if you instantly want to re-print an image.
Prints are ejected from the top of the device, whilst the film can be loaded using the switch on the back, though once a pack is in you should not open the cover until all the prints are used, otherwise you will spoil the ink.
The charging port is located on the right-hand side of the printer. You must prise open the cover for it, and this can be quite fiddly – especially on the first try.
App & features
To print photos from the Instax Square Link, you’ll need to download the accompanying app of the same name. This is available on both iOS and Android.
Overall, the app is simple enough for the basic functions. I occasionally had to re-pair the printer after charging, but otherwise encountered hardly any glitches.
However, the text could be larger in parts of the app, and navigation could be improved. For example, to change the printing mode from Natural to Rich (or vice versa), you must go to the settings, and can’t do it directly on the edit mode.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Instax provides a wide range of printing options to choose from. On a basic simple print you can edit the photo with filters, stickers and by rotating/zooming.
You can also print collages and add photos into pre-set frames from the Instax library. This includes seasonal options such as Valentine’s Day themed frames, though the choice in this section isn’t quite as extensive as what is offered on the Mini Link app.
Every portable printer from Instax has a little gimmick, and the Instax Square Link’s is its AR Print mode. AR (augmented reality) Print allows you to add a digital animation, special effect or doodle to an image via the app.
The print then comes out with a QR code. When you scan this, it takes you back to the Instax Square Link app, downloads the photo and then plays the special effect when you hold the print in front of your smartphone camera.
Of all the social features Instax has included thus far, this has been the easiest to use, and it is certainly much more user-friendly than the Instax Air feature on the Mini Link 2. That said, it does lose its charm after the first few uses.
The QR codes themselves are a little bit of an eyesore on the images. Whilst they can be moved around on the page, the size cannot be adjusted.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
There is also the Instax Connect feature. This allows users to upload and edit an image directly through the app, and then send them to another Instax Square Link printer around the world. Users have the option to accept or decline an image before they print it.
This section of the app also includes reminders, so the app can ping you a notification to send an image on a certain day. For example, you can add in a friend or family member’s birthday to the calendar, and then when the day rolls around, the Instax Square Link app will remind you to send a snap their way.
It would be useful if Fujifilm created one single app for all its products, rather than multiple. If you happen to own several Instax printers, this will become a bit of an annoyance.
Instax printers always produce great looking images, and those printed on the Square Link are no exception.
The prints are real film, so when they eject they come out blank and gradually develop as they are exposed to the environment. It takes roughly around 90 seconds for a print to finish developing.
Textures and details are sharp on prints from the Instax Square Link, and colours pop nicely. Even when printing in black and white or sepia, the images still look impressive. The quality is noticeably better than what you’ll find on Zink Paper, which often has fuzzy lines.
In the app, you can choose to print either in Natural Mode or Rich Mode. The former has shades that appear truer to life, whilst the latter boosts warmer tones and give a more colourful finish.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Instax Square prints measure 62 x 62 mm, with space at the bottom to add any annotations. These prints are the happy medium size, sitting in-between the Instax Mini film and Instax Wide film.
They are small enough to fit into a larger-sized wallet but would also look great pinned up on a board. The square shape also means that they’re handy for collaging.
Battery life & charging
Fujifilm claims that the Instax Square Link can last up to 100 prints on a single charge. However, this is dependent on how you’re using it – if you leave it running, the battery will drain quicker. Nonetheless, you should be able to take this printer out for several days and not worry about it running out of juice.
We’ve been asking for USB-C charging for a while now, and Instax has finally made the jump to the more universal port. Previous printers from the brand up until now used Micro-USB charging.
As expected, this switch seems to have improved charging speeds. Now it takes around 80 minutes to juice from flat to full – older devices from Instax took around the two-hour mark.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Price & availability
The Instax Square Link costs $139.95/£129.99. US readers can buy it from Amazon, B&H and Best Buy. If you’re in the UK, you can get it from Fujifilm, Amazon and Boots.
This price is a little more expensive than the Instax Mini Link 2, but this printer produces smaller images. The Square Link clocks in the same price as the Instax Link Wide, which producers larger prints, but doesn’t have the AR mode and has slower Micro-USB charging.
Alternatively, you can consider the Polaroid Hi-Print which comes in under $100/£90. Whilst the prints are impressive due to the dye-sublimation process, they are much smaller than what the Square Link produces. You can find more alternatives in our list of the best portable printers. We also have a chart for the best instant cameras, too.
Having a portable printer also comes with running costs. On average, Instax Square film works out around 95c/79p per print. This is more expensive than Zink Paper, which costs around 50c/50p per sheet, but this isn’t real film.
If you’re on the hunt for an instant printer, the Instax Square Link is a solid choice. It has a stylish and functional design, is user-friendly and produces impressive prints in a large square format. The addition of USB-C charging is also welcome.
The running costs are a bit more expensive than what you’ll find on Zink printers, but that is made up for in the overall quality. The app could also do with some tweaks in its layout. Nonetheless, there is no denying that this is Instax’s best instant printer so far.
Instax Square Link specs
105 × 37.5 × 127.5mm 236g Lithium-ion battery USB-C charging Printing speed approximately 12 seconds Print size – 62 x 62 mm Uses Instax Square Film Printing levels – 256 levels per colour (RGB) Supported image format – JPEG / PNG / HEIF / DNG Bluetooth 4.2 Uses Instax Square Link app