Once presumed to largely be a gimmick, Lenovo-owned Motorola has continued its commitment to its Moto Mod range – a series of attachments which adhere to its Z-series smartphones for enhanced functionality.
As such, welcome the Polaroid Insta-Share printer, which claims to convert your Motorola phone into a “super portable Polaroid camera”.
In addition to printing photographs from your phone, the Insta-Share Moto Mod can print pictures from your Facebook and Instagram too.
Retailing for A$129 online the Polaroid Insta-Share Printer comes with ten sheets of adhesive camera film.
Users can purchase extra film online or from retailers for $39.84 for 30 sheets (i.e. over $1 per printed photo). (However, feel free to shop around for a better deal).
Design & Set-up
From the moment you unpack the printer, one thing is instantly clear – this is one heavy attachment.
The Polaroid Insta-Share printer is thick, bulky and adds a considerable amount of weight when attached to your [thin] Z-series smartphone. Portability and ease of handling is immediately diminished.
Unfortunately, the printer does need to be fully charged before first use, which takes a decent amount of time. This is a con for many Gen-Y-instant-gratification customers.
To set-up, simply unwrap the provided stack of camera film and load into the back section of the printer. It’s easy, and super quick. No fuss.
Users are directed to Google Play to download the Insta-Share app. Here, users can sync their Facebook and Instagram profile to view images, and print off accordingly (more on this later).
The Insta-Share printer has a large ‘one touch’ button on the side, which immediately opens the camera app when pressed. Simply press, shoot, and print. In theory it’s great.
As mentioned, the Polaroid Insta-Share printer only comes with ten sheets of film. As such, you’re required to exert restraint and print images sparingly.
Syncing with Facebook and Instagram is easy. You do have to grant several app permissions, however, it’s largely an effortless endeavour. Scrolling through your pseudo Instagram feed you can select an image, and press the relevant icons to print.
After a few seconds a photograph is printed, with surprisingly no drying time required. Images measure 2 inches x 3 inches, similar to a passport size.
The same process applies to regular camera phone photos, and Facebook images.
It could be the unit I was given, however, there were several instances when I received an error message advising the printer wasn’t properly connected. It was. To rectify, I’d have to swivel the printer against the phone a bit, or completely detach and re-attach. To say the least, it was an annoyance, especially when you’re trying to focus the camera lens and capture a really great moment.
The printer’s bulky size encourages the user to first capture images with their smartphone alone, and then attach the printer to print. As such, it renders the Moto Mod’s ‘one touch’ camera button somewhat useless.
The app’s software is also particularly prone to bugs. No doubt printing is a high intensity task, however, the app would often freeze and automatically exit. Thankfully not mid-printing, but largely when perusing your library to select an image.
I appreciated that I could print old Instagram images, or select past images which were significantly far back in my image library. The app had largely no issues going back in time.
As mentioned, printing is a very quick process, virtually only a few seconds.
Like all Polaroid photographs, the back of the film has an adhesive layer which you can peel off, and treat like a sticker. Images make for great diary or journal keep-sakes. The quality of the adhesive is very good, and the provided camera film is thick and durable.
I’ll be honest, the process is fun. A lot of fun.
I thoroughly enjoyed choosing images, and experiencing the thrill of transforming a digital file into physical form, before my very eyes.
Unfortunately, the biggest flaw I found with the Polaroid Insta-Share Moto Mod printer is the quality of images produced.
They’re not striking, not clear, and colours are not accurate. Printed images are definitely much lower quality than produced by a traditional Polaroid Instant Camera, or the popular Fuji Instax cam.
Images printed from Facebook or Instagram are notably worse, with colours shifted and edges blurred.
Regardless of image source, final images do have notable imperfections, including jagged edges on some occasions.
Streams of coloured ink also made their way through the first few printed images. This wouldn’t be so bad if each image wasn’t over $1 per print.
Be warned – The Insta-Share Polaroid printer does use a significant amount of phone battery, very, very quickly. It’s likely positioned as an attachment to use sparingly, or ad hoc. Not repeated extended use in one go. The actual Insta-Share Moto Mod battery also doesn’t last super long.
I had high hopes for this Moto Mod – it’s a nifty device, and in theory a really great idea.
Concerning the end result – unfortunately, the proof is in the pudding. At this stage, the photo quality leaves much to be desired. In a world of super crisp AMOLED smartphone screens, 4K TVs and HDR 10+ Amazon Prime Video, the image quality this little Moto Mod produces feels a little outdated.
Naturally, there is a difference between digital images and physical images, however, as one person said when using the device with me, “What’s the incentive to choose this over a disposable camera?”. I’d argue fun and convenience, provided you’re looking for a quick token memento, rather than an excellent printed image.
The Insta-Share Moto Mod printer is heavy, bulky and has a suite of software issues, with a sub-standard end result.
It’s an immense amount of fun to use, but sadly the end result isn’t robust enough amidst current technological evolution.
That being said, Motorola has proven its commitment to its Moto Mod line, with an ever expanding suite of new additions.
Perhaps Motorola (or parent company Lenovo) is developing a new revamped portable printer, one with a thinner build, better software and much better image quality?
Perhaps the current Insta-Share Polaroid printer is a precursor, and almost a taste of what’s to come?
Personally, I’d be very excited to try it.
If you’ve money to splash, or are looking to expand your current Moto Mod collection, feel free to give this a whirl. However, the current model is more a case of fulfilment and fun, over function and form.
Consumers can purchase Motorola’s Insta-Share Polaroid Moto Mod Printer online or from various local retailers for RRP A$129.