“Mobile printing is fun with the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link.”
Easy to use app
Small, minimalist design
The battery life is less than specified
Despite what OutKast said, shaking instant film for the photo is actually bad. But maybe Lil Jon was right when he told him to wiggle. When you wiggle the new Fujifilm Instax Mini Link mobile printer, tricks like zooming in or changing the mode are performed. The Mini Link uses the same Instax mini instant film as Fujifilm’s Instax cameras, but prints directly from your phone. Some motion control options are even added, including flipping the printer to change the print mode.
The Instax Mini Link is basically the Instax Mini LiPlay, minus the camera functionality. With the help of Bluetooth, digital images stored on your phone are converted into instant photo prints with an image area of 2.4 x 1.8 inches. The Mini Link can print a photo or a frame from a video in the camera roll of your phone or control the camera of your phone directly via the Instax camera mode in the app.
Since the image quality is limited to the printing medium itself (in this case Instax Mini-Film), the choice of a mobile printer depends on the quality of the app, the printer design and the price – a trifecta that the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link does correctly.
The Instax Mini Link app
Many camera and photo printer apps are fairly simple and feel a bit chunky, but the Instax Mini Link is an app that we actually want to spend time in. For starters, the app enabled us to connect to the printer via Bluetooth without leaving the app. Go into the smartphone settings and without entering a long, complex password.
As soon as the app is connected to a printer, a start screen opens, which shows various printing options. At the bottom is Fun Mode, a range of different types of printing – some are a little tricky, but Fun Mode largely lives up to its name. A frame print adds a graphic or sticker to the photo, e.g. For example, a carnival mask, a pair of angel wings, or even a graphic of an Instax frame within the actual Instax frame. The next fun mode is a self-explanatory collage print with a good selection of layout options.
Match Test is Fujifilm’s attempt to do matchmaking – yes, that kind of matchmaking. You upload two separate photos or a photo of the two of you together and Fujifilm shows you how compatible it is that you are. You can increase “accuracy” by answering a handful of questions. Gimmicky and strange, yes, but you have to wait for the results to appear on the print, which adds a little to the puzzle.
The app is well designed, from organization to animation while the photo is printing.
In Party Print, you can invite friends to send a photo to your printer. Half the fun is waiting to see what’s going on. So there is no way to preview the print in advance. In this mode, up to five friends can be invited to print. (You probably shouldn’t invite your friends with a rough sense of humor to use this feature, or you’re looking at the business end of a full moon.)
Outside of the fun modes, there is a simple print option, a tool for printing a video frame, and an instax camera mode. In Instax mode, you can take the photo in the app. In contrast to a real Instax camera, however, not every picture is printed automatically. You can preview before printing. Of course, this avoids wasting film, but negates some of that instax feeling.
In each mode, the app offers a handful of editing tools before printing. A trio of sliders adjusts brightness, contrast, and saturation. The filter tool offers black and white, sepia, and automatic adjustment options. Pressing to zoom will crop the image or rotate the photo with one turn. The photo will be previewed using this iconic instant white frame to get a better idea of what you’re actually getting out of. While there is a large red button for printing, you can also swipe up to send the image to the printer.
In addition to the multitude of different recording modes, the app is well designed from organization to animation when printing the photo. The controls and options are either self-explanatory or are explained on the screen with short tutorials in front of the darker functions like the party print.
A compact, motion-controlled printer
Hillary Grigonis / Digital Trends
The on-screen controls are not the only options for controlling the printer. If you point the printer upwards instead of leaving it on a flat surface, you will return to the home screen to select a new print mode. Three or four tap backtracking are saved in the app.
With these motion controls, the Instax camera mode is also more fun. The zoom is adjusted by folding the printer in and out. If you want to print a second copy of the previous image, the only button on the printer that is covered by the Instax logo will do just that.
Regardless of whether you print using the app or the physical button on the front, printing is surprisingly quick in just a few seconds. The Mini Link feels faster than a zinc printer when printing successive images. However, if you are using a real Instax film, you will have to wait for the image to develop itself. However, you can delete the image from the printer after about 12 seconds.
We printed out ten packs of film and left the printer on for more than an hour before the battery indicator in the app showed fifty percent. However, we do not believe that many users will get the 100 prints per load specified in the specifications. The built-in battery is charged via a USB connection on the side.
Hillary Grigonis / Digital Trends
The printer itself weighs 7.3 ounces. The Instax Mini Link is 4.9 inches long, 3.5 inches wide and 1.3 inches thick – it’s shorter and narrower than a simple iPhone, but much thicker. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but you’ll need cargo pants to put it in a pocket.
The exterior is lightly patterned with stripes and doesn’t feel chintzy despite being made of plastic. The buttons are kept to a minimum – the Instax logo is also the on / off button, while the film door is on the opposite side. The film spits out at the top and on the side there is a hidden door that can be charged using the supplied USB cable.
Prints from the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link look like prints from any Instax Mini printer. They’re not exceptionally sharp, but how sharp do you need a 2-inch photo? Shadows sometimes come out too dark and lights too bright, but that’s all part of the instant film fun.
With only slight differences in print quality from one mobile printer to the next, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link hits just the right points to assert itself as one of the best available photo printers. The app is straightforward and full of extras. The printer itself offers entertaining motion control and a minimalist user interface. With $ 100, it can hold its own against the competition.
Is there a better alternative?
The Mini Link brings some of our favorite features of the Fujifilm Mini LiPlay to a device that is just a printer and not a camera. However, there are some differences, e.g. B. the exchange of the audio print function of the LiPlay against the motion control. By not using the built-in camera, the price drops by about $ 60.
The mobile printer category offers numerous options. Most of them are good, but the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link is characterized by the fact that it offers a real movie experience and one of our preferred app interfaces. The link outperforms the previous Instax Mini printer, the SP-2, with additional features. However, the SP-3 prints in a larger square format if you prefer larger prints.
Competing zinc printers do not use real film, but omit the white border for a larger surface and have a sticky back. Options like Canon Ivy Mini, Polaroid Zip, HP Sprocket, and Kodak Smile also cost around $ 100.
How long it will take?
That is hard to say. The product itself seems durable and should last for many years. Software support and print media that determine the final lifespan. Nevertheless, you should use it for at least a few years.
Should you buy it
Yes. If you want to experience instant film with the simplicity of smartphone photography and a few extras that you didn’t even know you wanted, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link will entertain you.