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Anybody who has ever used a Polaroid Instant camera will know how convenient it was to have a picture immediately after taking it to show to your friends or as a record of an event. While it's still very easy to take instant photos in a social setting, typically with a camera phone, a paper copy is harder, ironically, since the demise of Polaroid's instant film cameras.
As some recompense, Polaroid is the first company to introduce a printer based on ZINK Imaging's new technology. ZINK, which stands for Zero INK, uses no inks, ribbons or coated films. Instead, all the technology needed to produce a full-colour print is held in three layers of transparent crystals, coated on the ZINK paper. A thermal print head sends pulses through the layers to heat the appropriate set of crystals and produce a colour image.
The small, black and silver printer is easily pocketable and comes in slightly smaller in volume than the power supply used to recharge its Li-ion battery. It has a type one USB socket on the side to take a PictBridge cable from a camera and the only control is a power button. A pair of three-colour LEDs show charge and power status, and prints feed out from a narrow slot in one end of the printer
Installation and set up could hardly be easier. A catch on the end of the PoGo releases a spring-loaded lid and 10 sheets of ZINK paper fit into a recess in its body. Clip the lid shut again, and it's ready to print. There's no software, as this printer doesn't work with PCs; only with cameras and mobile phones. The phone connection is via Bluetooth, and all you need to set that up is the printer's pin, which the phone requests before completing the link.
Under test, the good news is we've found a printer that lives up to its claimed print speed. Polaroid says it takes ‘about a minute' to produce a print, and we measured it at ‘about a minute' printing from Bluetooth and via a PictBridge cable from a digital camera. This seems like a good speed, considerably faster than standalone inkjet or dye-sublimation printers, until you remember that the print size is only a quarter of the standard from these other printers.
Linking the PoGo to a Bluetooth phone is very straightforward and once we got the phone to do a Bluetooth search, it spotted the Polaroid printer and linked to it without problem. It only takes around four seconds longer to print via Bluetooth than to print over PictBridge.
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