What is Polaroid Pop?
If you are a certain age, you probably have the Polaroid brand with a certain degree of nostalgia. The company was synonymous with instant cameras and quickly became part of pop culture. Nowadays, it is still an authorized brand.
It is this nostalgia in which the company bets on Polaroid Pop, which is an instant camera such as Fuji Instax Mini 8 or Leica SOFORT and a portable printer such as HP Sprocket. Unfortunately, it is also not particularly good with a mediocre camera and poor print quality.
Complete this with cheap build quality, frustrating and error handling, and expensive consumables, and, ultimately, you have a disappointing device that does not work. It is not up to the Polaroid heritage.
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Polaroid Pop – Design
There's no escaping the fact that Polaroid Pop is a sturdy camera. In its defense, it has to be able to hold its special Zink printing paper, but even so it is great. It is not a camera that you can store in a pocket ready to capture the next amazing moment.
Its rectangular design with very curved corners is at least playful in line with the brand. But it's the shiny plastic construction that makes the Polaroid Pop feel cheap and sticky, like a kid's toy.
The plastic finish is also a magnet for fingerprints and the type of material that is easily scratched. Considering that you are likely to throw Polaroid Pop in a bag to carry it, you will have to pay attention to what else is there if you want to keep the camera in good condition. Even taking care, my review unit has detected micro-scratches that are noticed under the light.
The large red shutter button on the front of the device also serves as the power button to turn on the camera. Turn off the camera with a button on the screen.
The bottom of the Polaroid Pop is actually a sliding lid for the paper feeder. This is available in a variety of colors, including yellow and green; my revision model was a more conservative black. The cover has a rubber layer, through which it feeds the wrist strap to minimize the risk of losing the cover.
It is annoying that the cover is secured by a magnet and the camera can detect when the cover is not turned on – you will receive an error message on the screen to notify you of the fact. The camera is incredibly picky with the case in place, so if it's loose even in a fraction of a millimeter, you'll have to squeeze the lid until the camera decides it's happy.
The front of Polaroid Pop is characterized by its 3.97-inch LCD touch screen, surrounded by a thick bezel. The screen is bright enough, but it is low resolution and grainy as a result. However, it is fine to frame your shots and preview your impressions. I also found that the tactile response worked well. Around the back is the lens that is compatible with a dual LED flash
Polaroid Pop: software and operation
An on-screen tutorial is run the first time you turn on the camera, but it's not a great start when the The camera is explaining what it should do if it discovers that it will not turn on. I discovered that Polaroid Pop was not activated several times. But before you get to that point, keep in mind that the Polaroid Pop is incredibly fussy about how it loads.
The camera makes it clear that you want 5V / 2A to complete your battery through the micro-USB port. But after having problems for the camera to load initially, I consulted the troubleshooting page of the Polaroid website. Here, it says that the camera must be charged from a single USB wall adapter plugged directly into a wall, and not through a multi-USB port charger.
I tried a variety of different USB charging methods and adapters to find that only some worked. Considering that a wall adapter is not even included, this proved very frustrating.
If you find that the camera does not turn on, but has managed to load it, tutorial says to use the reset button, which will need a pin to press. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to use this button in the last weeks. From instances in which the camera does not turn on, until it gets stuck when transferring a photo from my phone, or just inexplicably hangs up.
And since there is no physical shutdown button or removable battery, you will have to rely on the reset button every time there is a blockage of the camera software; the on-screen power button is not always available to give Pop the old "on and off" treatment. If you plan to take out the Polaroid Pop, make sure you have a safety pin on hand, which in my experience is likely to happen often.
Loading the Zink paper can also prove problematic, with the camera occasionally throwing a paper feed error for no apparent reason.
When it works, the menu and operation of the camera is quite simple. There is a digital zoom slider and the ability to switch between still images of 20 megapixels or 1080p video. There's even a GIF recording mode that rotates like an Instagram clip from Boomerang. You can preview the photos and videos you took with the camera and start an impression. There are frames and borders that you can add to the images to give them extra personality.
The Polaroid Pop add-on application for iOS and Android can be used to transfer images you have captured elsewhere for printing. But there is no remote trigger control or advanced functions.
To synchronize with the application, simply connect to the Polaroid Pop Wi-Fi network. When this works, the images are transferred quite fast; but sometimes they can not be transferred completely as mentioned above. As long as the transfer does not start and then it just fails, I found that closing and reopening the application generally worked.
Still, it's a complicated process and just another experience with errors that became characteristic of my time with Polaroid Pop.
It assumes that the life of the battery is enough for 50 shots, but I never got close to that. I would go down to half the battery after doing half a dozen shots. This was mainly as a result of jumping through hoops and collisions that would ultimately consume much of the power before reaching the printing stage.
Polaroid Pop – Consumables and print quality
Polaroid Pop uses Zink Paper, which is the same as that used in the HP pinion. This paper of 'zero ink & # 39; it actually embeds the ink in the paper itself. The Pop uses Zink paper of 3.25 x 4.25 inches, which allows the square Polaroid printing format instantly recognizable with a space not used below so you can capture or label your photos. Personally, I would have preferred to simply print on the full paper.
At the time of writing, you can get a pack of 40 sheets of Zink paper for £ 34.99. Compare this with the 3x2in Zink paper from HP Sprocket that comes in a 30 pack for £ 14.99 or in a pack of 20 for £ 9.99, and the Polaroid Pop consumables look pretty expensive. Sprocket's Zink paper also has adhesive backing, while Polaroid Pop is not adhesive, but is slightly thicker and less likely to bend if not glued.
the overall experience was even worse, the print quality was disappointing; It was worse than the HP Sprocket. The color production of Pop is completely low compared to the original photos, both from the Pop itself and from the camera of an iPhone. The prints tend to show an orange tone and a lack of detail. The results are worse than even the worst inkjet printer I've used.
But, considering the nature of Pop, you might miss some of its print quality defects if consumables were not so expensive.
The picture quality of the built-in camera is also nothing special, even worse than a cheap compact camera or an economical smartphone. As such, having a built-in camera is not a particularly strong point of sale.
Why buy the Polaroid Pop?
The Polaroid Pop is expensive at around £ 200 and one of the most frustrating products I've used in a long time. It would be much better to spend almost half the price of an HP pinion and simply use your smartphone to take photos. It is likely that the results are superior to those offered by Polaroid Pop.
If you do not have an instant camera installed, Leica SOFORT does not cost much more and offers better photos, but without the ability to print them from a smartphone.
Polaroid Pop is one to avoid, unless you like to pull your hair, and then remain disappointed.
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Frustrating to use and just not worth the trouble: Polaroid Pop is one to avoid.