Smartphones and web apps like Google Photos might let you store a bazillion digital snaps in the cloud, but sometimes it’s nice to have a physical momento to stick on your fridge – and that’s where the new Polaroid Lab comes in.
We’ve seen lots of mini instant printers before, of course, from the HP Sprocket to hybrid cameras like the Canon Zoemini S, which lets you print shots from your phone as well as the built-in camera. But the difference is that these tend to use Zink photo paper, which prints your images rather than letting them develop like real instant photos.
The Polaroid Lab, on the other hand, projects your photo onto film, then uses a combination of mirrors, light and chemistry to develop it into an instant photo that’s spat out in typical Polaroid fashion. Wave it around for a few seconds and you’ll have a physical, retro version of your phone photo that’ll no doubt have all of Polaroid’s usual contrasty goodness.
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To use it, you and your fellow wedding/party guests will need the Polaroid Originals app, which is free for iOS and Android. Once you’ve got that, though, it’s just a case of putting your phone face down on the platform and pressing the red button.
The Originals app will also apparently let you make fancy image collages and give your shots AR effects, if you want to bolt futuristic touches onto your retro, physical snaps.
It looks like the Polaroid Lab will be ready for the Christmas stocking duty it’s surely been designed for – while it’s been slightly delayed from its original on-sale date, Polaroid says it’ll be available to buy from late October 2019 for £119.99.
We’ll bring you a full review before then to let you know if it’s the best way to turn your smartphone photos into old-school souvenir prints, but in the meantime check out our round-up of the best instant cameras.