Polaroid ZIP Review 2020 | Is It Worth Your Money?

Imagine being able to print photos on the go with a pocket printer that’s only the size of your smartphone. The Polaroid Zip is a fun little printer that prints good quality photos in an instant.

It’s a great device to have if you are looking for an easy and fast way to print photos at parties or just want to get those memories out of the digital space and into the physical realm.

If you are expecting studio quality prints, mobile printers aren’t the tool for that. It can print well, but not suited for people who are looking for high-quality photos.

Now, if you want to know more about this one, then read this whole article.

Why Polaroid ZIP?

This portable printer allows you to print photos without the need for any toner, ink, or cartridges. So, how does this work? This device features a ZINK Zero Ink Technology that uses its own proprietary ZINK paper to print photos.

These paper sheets are embedded with color crystals that will automatically activate when you take a photo. These crystals are heat activated, which means you won’t have to pay extra for cartridges.

Plus, the sheets are treated with a protective layer that protects them from water damage, smudges, and tears. I’ll talk about this later in this review.

It’s a Bluetooth device that you can easily connect with your phone via the dedicated polaroid app. This one is compatible with Android & IOS and supports Wi-Fi connectivity.

Features at A Glance

  • Fast & easy to print from your phone.
  • IOS and Android compatible.
  • Inkless printing technology.
  • It features a Polaroid photo editing app.
  • Small, portable with a travel-ready design.
  • It comes with a starter pack of ZINK paper.

Polaroid ZIP Review

Fujifilm, Hp, Kodak, and even LG have their own mini printer. So, what makes this one unique from the rest? This isn’t a comparison review, but I will do my best to highlight the features that make this a top choice for you guys that are looking for an instant printer.

Out of The Box

So, out of the box, you will get the actual printer, a user manual, a 10-pack of ZINK printing paper, and a micro USB charging cable. The printer weighs around 186 grams, which is pretty lightweight.

The battery is a rechargeable one featuring 500mAh lithium polymer. It takes 1.5 hours to charge the battery fully, and you can print about 25 photos per charge. This one print onto 2x3 ZINK paper, also known as Zero Ink. The mini portable printer comes in 4 different colors.\

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Usability

Loading paper onto it is easy. Simply open the printer by sliding the back cover-up. The pack of ZINK paper that you get goes right in there. On the bottom of the pack, you will see a blue paper.

That’s the smart sheet, and that goes face down in the printer when first open a new pack of sheets. Once you load the paper with the blue smart sheet face down, slide the cover back until you hear a snapping noise.

Press and hold the button. You will see the light appear on the device. If it doesn’t power on, charge the device fully. Once you turn on the device and see the light blinking, wait for the Smartsheet to go through the printer automatically.

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Connectivity 

To establish the wireless connection, make sure the Bluetooth on your device is enabled. Once you see the printer pop up on your Bluetooth connectivity list, pair it up with your mobile.

You will also need to download the polaroid print app. It’s free and has tons of features like photo editing options, adding different filters and smileys, etc. Once you download and launch the app, follow the simple steps to connect the devices.

Find the image that you want to print, tap on it, and press the print icon on the bottom right side. You can select the number of photos that you want to print.

Photo Printing Process

When it comes to representing all the colors and details accurately, mobile printers aren’t that efficient. But thanks to modern technology, the visual quality has seen some major improvements over the past couple of years.

Photos are printed using a special paper that is embedded with cyan, magenta, and yellow dye crystals. Initially, the papers are colorless. But when you start printing, heat activates and transforms them into the appropriate colors.

The paper sheets always come out smudge-proof and dry due to the fact that there is no ink involved. You can even peel them back and use them as stickers. For a portable wireless device, the level and accuracy and color details aren’t bad at all.

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Print Speed & Battery Life

Image quality isn’t something to brag about. I mean, what more can you expect from a printer that’s smaller than your smartphone? However, the thing that impressed me the most is the print speed.

It takes about 40 seconds to print a photo. This is much faster than what the competitors are capable of. You have to make some compromises when printing images with a lot of dark tones.

The battery life is reasonably long. They say you can print 25 photos, but I have seen a lot of people get up to 30 photos per charge. And also, it can print while charging, and it takes about 90 minutes to recharge fully.

The cost of printing is something left to be desired. I will talk more about that in the following section.

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Drawbacks 

While you are saving money by not having to buy toner or ink cartridges, the cost of those ZINK papers and considering the number of photos you take with your phone will add up to make this into a slightly costly device.

You can only print 25 photos per charge, so make them count. While the prints are small, each of them will cost about 25 cents. So, you really have to make them count and not print everything you capture on your phone.

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Brand Reputation 

Polaroid knows how to make user-friendly printers. Well, they have been in the portable photo printing industry for 65 years, and with that much experience, they obviously know a thing or two when it comes to printing photos on the go.

This device will either disappoint you or impress you. It really depends on how you compare this. Because if you compare a portable printed with a full studio-quality inkjet printer, you are sure to be disappointed.

Think of it as a fun little gadget and don’t get your hopes up and consider this as your portable magic device that can handle all your printing tasks. At this age, hardly anyone has the time to take photos and print a physical copy.

Back in the days, when Polaroid first began selling instant cameras, those models used film packs that contained sheets of plastic negatives. Those sheets were covered in reactive chemicals and would come out blank.

When you expose them to light, they will begin to develop. That was back in late 1948. Now, things have changed a lot. The basic principle is the same, though.

The sheets now need to be exposed to heat in order to bring the colors. The dye crystal on the Zink paper is hit with 200m pulses of heat. The crystals are then melted to produce a wallet-size color photograph.

Pros

  • Simple setup
  • Easy to use
  • Prints fast
  • No ink cartridges
  • Compact and portable

 Cons

  • Price

Basic Troubleshooting

After printing a few photos, if you notice streaks appearing, try running the blue Smartsheet once more through the printer, and you will see the quality will improve a lot.   

If you face any sort of trouble pairing the smartphone with the printer, make sure no one in the area is connected; otherwise, it won’t work. Before launching the app, make sure you have the Bluetooth on your device enabled and connected to the printer.

If you see darker photos printing out, avoid using the app. Try using your regular photo editor and increase the brightness. I won’t rate the app here because this review is focused on the printer itself.

I will say there are some hiccups when using the app and leaves a lot to be desired. However, I’m optimistic that the app will be improved through future software updates.

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Uses of The Polaroid Mobile Zip Printer

  • You can use this mobile printer on vacation.
  • This can also be used at events like weddings and parties.
  • Print out an instant memento at graduations and farewells.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does it come with ZINK paper sheets?

Yes, it comes with 10 of them.

Will it work with other ZINK papers?

It will work, but you won’t get the same photo quality

Can you make this work directly with any camera?

Sadly, the feature isn’t available yet. You can only print photos directly from your mobile.

Final Thoughts

Out of the box, the device works really well. The color accuracy and quality could be better, but for the price, this one is certainly impressive. Also, you should keep in mind that this is a compact wireless device and not a full-blown printer.

I will recommend the Polaroid ZIP mini printer because you can have a lot of fun, quickly printing your favorite snapshots on the go. Based on the hardware alone, this one easily gets a nine out of ten ratings from my perspective.

That’s the end of this Polaroid ZIP review. As again, photo quality is more subjective than anything, and if you want studio print quality, this isn’t for you.

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