Smartphones and social media have made it easier than ever before to send pictures to family and friends, but nothing can truly replace sharing a real photo. That’s where FujiFilm’s Instax Share Printer 2 comes in: the portable device connects to your smartphone over Wi-Fi and spits out instant photos like an old school Polaroid camera.
In practice, the $200 SP-2 couldn’t be easier to use. All you have to do is turn the printer on and connect to it to your phone like you would for any Wi-Fi network. Then you can use FujiFilm’s Instax Share app (available for free on iOS and Android) to print out a new pic, anything from your existing gallery, or something from a social media site such as Facebook, Instagram or Weibo.
You can even edit your photos so that they fit just right, while adding a filter, or even making one of those fancy two-photo composite shots that artistes call a diptych. Then all you have to do is hit print, and about 10 seconds later, you’ll have a physical 2.3 x 1.7-inch photo to show off. If you print from Instagram, you can tack on your profile and caption to printed photos.
The SP-2 is powered by the same kind of lithium-ion batteries that FujiFilm uses in its cameras, and recharging it as simple as plugging in a micro USB cable. Fujifilm says that the SP-2 should last about 100 shots between charges, and if the battery ever goes bad, you can replace it by opening up the plastic flap on the bottom.
On top of the printer, you'll find a row of lights to let you know how many prints are left in the cartridge, along with an indicator light to show you how much battery you have left. Popping in more film is pretty easy too. All you have to do is slide open the latch on the top, and slot in a new 10-shot cartridge by lining up the yellow box on the cartridge with the one on the inside of the printer. The SP-2 will then automatically spit out the light-blocking plastic card; after that, you’re ready to go.
After getting some time to check out the SP-2 for myself, I was thoroughly impressed at how streamlined the process of printing out your pictures is. Aside from a little hesitation when switching between the printer and other networks as I searched for images on social media, there’s almost nothing getting in the way of you and your photos.
There’s a seemingly endless number of situations that would be perfect for the SP-2. You could buy a bunch for a wedding so every guest could create some instant memories on the spot, use it to decorate your home, or print out pics to make a scrapbook.
My only real reservation about the SP-2 is its price. $200 ain’t cheap, and with 20-shot packs of Instax film going for $19.99, you’re paying about a buck a photo. But in a world that’s getting more digital every day, the Instax Share SP-2 is a refreshing twist on an old idea, and a whole lot of fun.