Polaroid PoGo Instant Photo Printer [Review]

I still remember seeing my first Polaroid photo. It was on a school trip to a place called “Happy Valley”. The teacher took a class photo and we all crowded round to see this miraculous image appear there and then. This was the time of waiting several days to get your photos back from the chemist, so seeing them in a few minutes was just revolutionary.

Polaroid eventually stopped making those particular instant photos (although The Impossible Project has succeeded in resurrecting them again) and moved on to pastures new. Now the more likely thing is to want to print digital photos, and I recently got hold of theĀ Polaroid PoGo mobile printer. So what’s it like?

Zero Ink

The first thing to note is that the PoGo uses no ink. I have no idea how that works, but you do have to use Polaroid’s own paper. The little 2x3cm cards come in packs of various sizes, but take the pack of 30, for instance, and you’ll be paying around 17 pence per photo. That’s not silly money, but it is enough to make you think twice before printing out all your holiday photos. Add to that the fact that the photos are about the size of a business card and you’ll realise this is a somewhat specialised setup.

The photos do have a peel-off back that allows you to use them as stickers, so I can see these being good for putting on a photo board, in a scrapbook, or maybe in your wallet given their miniature size.

Direct Printing

The PoGo is meant to be portable, and it’s light, small, and battery powered. That’s no good if you have to plug it into a computer to print, though. Fortunately you can bluetooth your images from your mobile phone or, if your camera supports PictBridge you can plug that into the built-in USB port. iPhone users, we can’t bluetooth our images because the iPhone can’t do that, which is annoying, but my camera did work perfectly with the PoGo.

The procedure for printing will vary depending on your camera, but I had my first photo about a minute after hitting print. That’s great – it means I don’t have my daughter pestering me about how long it’s taking to get the photo done!

But do they look good?

The real test is whether my digital photos make the transition from camera to paper in a decent state. The printed photos have a slightly cold tone to them, and when I printed out a monochrome image the very bottom looked obviously blue. Not enough to ruin the image, but noticeable. There is also some light banding across the image that may annoy. Other than that I’m actually quite pleased with how they turned out given the price of the unit, and I’m wondering if I can compensate for the cold look by altering the white balance in the camera’s settings.

Conclusion

I’d say the PoGo will find a place in our family as a way of creating fun keepsakes, images for the children’s journals and scrapbooks, and if we’re out with friends and snap a particularly cool image they want there and then. It’s a great little piece of kit, with a few tonal aberrations in the final images but, and I want to make this clear, it’s never going to replace getting your photos professionally printed. If you’re just looking for a way to produce little mementos, the PoGo is a pretty good option.

The Polaroid PoGo is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

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