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Looking to get into Polaroid prints but prefer taking photos on your smartphone? You can get the best of best worlds with the Polaroid Hi-Print, the latest instant printer from Polaroid that connects to your phone over Bluetooth and prints high resolution photos in under a minute.
The Hi-Print rivals the likes of the Instax Mini Link – but strips back a lot of the fluffy features to just produce a simple but effective instant printer. Read on for my full review.
Design and build
As designs go, the Polaroid Hi-Print is refined and clean. It’s compact in size and light enough to be held one handed. The top features a rainbow strip – a nod to the printing process – with the printing slot on the top of the device. You can place the Hi-Print both vertically and horizontally – though the former is slightly wobblier than the latter.
The cartridges can be loaded on the left-hand side of the pack which you can prise open with your fingernail. The power button is located on the right-hand side, along with two LED status lights. On the bottom of the device, you get a Micro-USB port for charging (a cable comes included in the box), another status light and a reset port.
To print a photo, you link your phone up with the Hi-Print using the accompanying app via Bluetooth. There you can select and customise the image you want and print directly from here.
Printing speed is slower than that of other instant printers at around 50 seconds – but this is due to being a dye-sublimation device, which means that the print ejects in and out of the printer at least four times to add each layer of colour, plus a protective film. You’ll get around 20 prints on one charge, which is lower than rivals but to be expected considering the more complex printing process.
Features and photo quality
Despite the slower speeds, the wait is certainly worth it, as the print quality is overall extremely high and much more detailed, vivid and striking than you would get from a quicker digital instant printer – which is the most important part of this product.
The printer uses 2×3 Hi-Print paper cartridge, which comes with 20 sheets in a pack. The images use nearly the entirety of the paper, bar a strip of white at the bottom. Again, rivals sometimes have borders round the photo, which makes the image smaller, so this is a big plus for Polaroid.
Prints are water and smudge resistant and contain a peelable adhesive back so you can stick your photos on your desk or the back of your phone. It’s a nice touch that allows you to use these prints as decoration without the need for extra accessories.
There are some customisable features on the app as well. These include frames, filters, aspect ratio changes, text and stickers – the last two are elements I can see younger generations making use of. Nothing on the app seems fluffy or useless, again another plus over rival products from Instax.
The app syncs up with the majority of photo folders on your phone besides your bog-standard camera roll. You can choose from previously uploaded images to WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more – useful if you have a particular image from your social channels that you want printed. You can also access your phone’s camera directly through the app.
Using the app is easy – the only time I ran into issues was during the initial pairing process which took a few goes to master. However, after that I encountered no problems. The interface is clean, simply laid out and doesn’t lag. You can choose to print a photo on the app and then minimise away, using your phone for other tasks whilst you wait.
Value for money
At £89.99/US$99.99 the Polaroid Hi-Print undercuts some other instant printers on the market right now including the Instax Mini Link (RRP £109.99/$99.99) and the HP Sprocket Select (RRP £119/US$149.99) – making it a competitive option.
You can currently purchase it from Amazon UK and Polaroid UK if you’re based in the UK, and Amazon US and Polaroid US if you’re in America.
Though the base price is not that high, the main issue with the Polaroid Hi-Print is its expensive running costs. One pack of Hi-Print paper cartridge – which includes just 20 sheets – comes in at £15.99/$16.99 for a pack of 20. This works out on average around 79 pence/85 cents per photo, more expensive than the likes of Zink Paper which costs under 50 pence for one sheet in the UK and just below 50 cents for one sheet in the US.
If you plan on printing lots of photos on this device, the costs will rack up very quickly, so you’ll have to be certain to make every single print count.
You can take a look at how the Polaroid Hi-Print compares to rivals in our list of the best portable printers. It’s also worth checking out the best instant cameras on the market too, if you want a camera-printer hybrid.
The Polaroid Hi-Print without a doubt produces some of the best instant prints from a smartphone that you can find on the market right now. The accompanying app is user-friendly, and boasts a good range of customisation features for prints.
Don’t however let the base price fool you into thinking this is a cheap instant printer – heavy usage will set you back a pretty penny. Nonetheless, if you’re prepared to pay for picture perfect quality, you can’t really get better than this.
Polaroid Hi-Print: Specs
255g (without cartridge)
Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer printing, 4PASS
620mAh lithium-ion battery
Approximately 20 prints on one charge
Printing speed approximately 50 seconds
Print size – 54 x 86 mm
Bluetooth 2.1+EDR & 5.0
Comes with USB cable
Film packs sold separately
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