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I really shouldn’t like the Polaroid PoGo printer. I can easily list off a number of problems with the device… small image size, average print quality and relatively expensive print media.
In spite of all of the valid complaints I have with the device, I find myself enjoying this little printer quite a bit actually. While all of these negative details remain true, they miss the point of this printer: instant gratification. There are certainly a multitude of very practical printing options available, but none of them feel as quick and fun as using the PoGo.
Part of that fun comes from its extreme mobility… the device itself is about the size of a 3×5 card and maybe an inch thick. Small enough that it could easily be carried in a jacket pocket or camera bag. The printer also includes a rechargeable battery, so no power cable is required for making a print on the go. The 2×3” photo paper is internal to the device as well, making the entire package a self-contained printing environment.
The paper used in the Polaroid PoGo is not your average glossy sheet. The PoGo uses a special zero ink paper that requires no ink cartridges. Much like the Polaroid cameras of old, all of the chemicals necessary to produce an image are inherent to the paper itself. This helps minimize the moving components in the printer (and likely helps keep the unit size so small) but also adds to the costs of the prints as you will have to continually buy the special ZINK paper refills. A 30-pack of paper can be had for about $9… a cost of about 30 cents per printed image. As an added bonus, you can peel off a thin sheet of paper from the back of the photo to reveal an adhesive surface, turning every image you print into a photographic sticker of sorts.
The printing process itself is fairly straightforward. For most cameras, you’ll only need your USB cable to use the PoGo. If your camera supports PictBridge, it will instantly detect the printer upon connection. Pick the photo you want printed and the PoGo will spit out a tiny rendition of the image moments later. With a Bluetooth device, this process is even easier. Simply pair your notebook computer or cellphone with the printer and send an image to it wirelessly. A list of supported cellphones can be found here on Polaroid’s website.
So how’s the quality of the images? Average to good, depending on the subject. Brightly lit scenes do well, while darker images tend to look a little muddy. Colors are nice and bright though and the images have a fair amount of contrast to them. There is a bit of graininess in the prints, but not enough to distract from the image itself. I actually find the effect somewhat pleasing… the photos have a vintage feel that is lacking from most other printers. Your mileage may vary though and I could see it being a source of frustration for some.
One more detail to note… the 2×3” paper shares the same aspect ratio as an APS-C image, thus no resizing or cropping is required when printing from crop sensor cameras.
Ultimately I have concluded that the Polaroid PoGo is more of a toy than a “serious printer”, but that’s ok. I have plenty of alternatives for printing high-quality images, but none of those options are as fun or as immediate as the PoGo. So, while this printer may be a toy, it is an exceptionally fun toy that is well worth the relatively low price of admission.
Get your own Polaroid PoGo Printer for $39.99 at Amazon (20% off).
His photos have been published in newspapers and on numerous websites.