Printers

By April 4, 2009 Read More →

Review Polaroid PoGo instant mobile printer

DSCF0312 Superetrader called and asked if we wanted to review a mobile photo printer which uses Bluetooth technology to transfer digital photographs from, well anything that can use Bluetooth file transfer. Yeah sure that sounds interesting, then we realised that OBEX which is the standard required is not available on the locked down iPhone Bluetooth stack. Thankfully our notebook has full support for Bluetooth built in so we managed to make the connection. Read on for our thoughts on this tiny mobile printer.

By July 12, 2008 Read More →

Polaroid PoGo instant mobile printer Review

Polaroid recently announced that they were to stop production of the instant film used in it’s range of instamatic cameras. When I first heard the news I was surprised that anyone was still using instant film and that they hadn’t stopped years ago. I later learned that there are a lot of business applications where this kind of film is used.

Polaroid are not leaving the instant photo market though as the launch of the Polaroid PoGo brings the concept of instant photos to the 21st century by using the latest Zink (Zero Ink) printing technology to support modern digital cameras.

Polaroid PoGo

The Polaroid PoGo

The Polaroid PoGo is a small battery operated mobile printer that allows you to print your digital photos on the go. With Bluetooth and Pict-Bridge support it’s possible to print photos from virtually all modern digital cameras and mobile phones.

Polaroid PoGo Specification:

  • Size: 120mm (4.7”) H X 72mm (2.8”) W X 23.5mm (0.9”) D
  • Weight: 8 oz (without paper) includes battery
  • Battery: 7.2V rechargeable lithium-ion
  • User Interface: 2 Tri-Colour LED indicators
  • AC Adapter: 9V output Universal Input 100V to 240 VAC
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth (Class 2) OPP USB 2.0 USB A connector
  • Print Speed: 60 seconds per print, from send to share

Whats in the box?

  • Polaroid PoGo instant printer
  • AC Adapter
  • Rechargeable battery
  • 10 sheets of Zink Paper
  • User guide & Warranty card

For more on what’s in the box and a demonstration of the PoGo in action take a look at Matt’s PoGo Video.

 

General – click images for larger view

The Polaroid PoGo comes in a neat and compact package weighing just 230 grams and measuring 120mm x 72mm x 23.5mm. On the ‘top’ of the unit you’ll find a single connector for plugging in the power supply to charge the internal battery.

Polaroid PoGo top side

Polaroid PoGo ‘top’

On the side from the power connector is the power button and a couple of tri-colour status LED’s which tell you the print and battery power status. Next to that is the USB 2.0 connector which allows you to connect a compatible digital camera.

Polaroid PoGo bottom side

Polaroid PoGo ‘bottom’

On the end of the unit there’s a single slot where the printed paper is slowly ejected.

Polaroid PoGo paper exit

Polaroid PoGo paper exit

The paper is loaded in a tray accessed by pressing a release button on one end. Zink paper come in packs of 10 but there seems to be room in the paper tray for about 30 sheets.

Polaroid PoGo paper tray

Polaroid PoGo paper tray

 

 

Highlights

  • Truly portable printing
  • Good connectivity
  • Cool gadget status
  • Smudge proof, water proof and ink-free prints

 

Lowlights

  • Prints are expensive
  • Print quality not great
  • Battery life poor

 

Review

I first saw the Polaroid PoGo a few months ago at a press event and when I saw it I immediately wanted one. The PoGo seemed like a great idea and as I am always behind a camera it was a logical addition to my gadget bag.

Polaroid released the PoGo in the UK a few weeks ago and it’s gradually being made available in a number of high street shops, such as PC World, and at online outlets such as Amazon and Play.com. The main unit will set you back just under £100 which isn’t all that cheap but you do get everything you need included in the box to get up and running.

Setting up is dead simple. Once you remove everything from the box you just have to install and charge the internal rechargeable battery. If you are a bit impatient you can start printing while the unit is charging.

The next step is to install that special Zink paper. Included in the kit you’ll find ten 2″ x 3″ sheets of paper in a pack. You’ll also find a piece of blue paper in the pack. Don’t throw this away as this is the ‘smartsheet’ that you need to run through the printer first. The smartsheet has a barcode printed on it and automatically runs through the printer the first time you turn it on after installing the paper. I believe that the smart sheet ‘tells’ the printer how many sheets of paper are installed.

You’re now ready to start printing and this can be done in one of two ways. The first is to use a mobile phone or other Bluetooth compatible device. If you are using Bluetooth you have to first set up a partnership between the PoGo and your mobile. The exact method depends on your mobile but normally consists of turning on Bluetooth and the selecting ‘add Bluetooth device’ and entering the Passcode. Once a partnership is created you can then send or beam images from your phone to the PoGo and within a minute or so out comes a full colour photograph.

The second way to print is to connect a PictBridge compatible digital camera. Connecting the printer to a compatible camera with a USB cable is normally enough to put the camera in to PictBridge mode. On my camera for example a button lights up blue when the printer connects and pressing the button prints the image currently displayed in the screen.

Once you press the print button the activity light on the PoGo starts to flash while the image is processing, within about 20 seconds the printer starts to whir and slowly the photo inches it’s way out of the slot at the end. The whole process from start to finish takes around 60 seconds. Printing via Bluetooth is a little slower but this is probably down to the connection speed.

So what are the prints like? I suppose I would describe them as ‘OK’. They aren’t going to compete with specialist photographic services or even the larger inkjet photo printers that you can buy these days but you have to remember this is a printer that fits in your pocket! When you consider that you can produce prints practically anywhere and any time then you begin to see where this little gadget will find its market.

Last week I went to a christening with my Canon camera around my neck and the Polaroid PoGo in my suit pocket. I took a number of nice pictures of the baby being baptised and while we were waiting for the ceremony to end I had already started to print and hand-out souvenir prints to the baby’s family. They were all very impressed an all wanted to have a go!

Have a look at the two images below. The first is the image taken straight from the camera with no PP and the second is of the same photo printed on the PoGo and scanned back in to the PC at 300 dpi. As you can see, the print isn’t perfect (the scan does look a little worse than the physical photo) and also note that the image is cropped.

 

Original Picture

Sample image from camera

Polaroid PoGo Print Sample

Scanned print from the Polaroid PoGo

The PoGo is great to take to parties and events, everyone will want you to print a photo for them. However, you wont want to get too carried away. The cost of the paper will probably stop you from going too mad as a pack of 10 sheets of Zink paper will set you back £3! So at 30p per print that works out at around 6 (six!!) times more expensive than commercial photo services such as Bonusprint. But again, remember that the PoGo allows you to have your prints NOW.

Even if you are feeling flush and splash out on a wad of photo paper don’t expect to be printing photos all day long as the rechargeable battery will only last for about 15 prints. In practice the battery will probably not last that long if you are leaving the PoGo switched on between prints.

The reason that the PoGo is so power hungry is down to how the Zink paper works. The print head has to get pretty hot to activate the colour on the page and it’s the heat in the print head that eats the battery.

The full-colour digital photos are created without ink cartridges or ribbons using Zink Photo Paper, keeping the printer to about the size of a deck of cards. The paper is a durable material that contains colourless cyan, yellow and magenta dye crystals. Heat activation brings photos to life, colourising Zink dye crystals, so digital photos can be shared instantly.

Conclusion

For truly mobile instant photo prints the PoGo is amazing, you’ll have your friends cooing over your new gadget!

However, for the PoGo to really take off I think the cost of the photo paper has to come down and come down a lot. If Polaroid can get the cost per print down to around 10p per print then I’m sure more people will consider the PoGo.

I’d also like to see a larger version made available. I know the portability will be somewhat compromised but I would much rather have 6×4″ prints.

 

Posted By: Matt

 

Posted in: Printers, Reviews
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By July 3, 2008 Read More →

Polaroid officially launches the PoGo!

A few months ago we were invited to a Polaroid press event where we were one of the first to see their new instant digital printer the Polaroid PoGo.

Polaroid today made an official announcement about the PoGo which you can see below. We’re hoping to get our hands on one to review pretty soon too!

Polaroid PoGo

Polaroid PoGo

The magic of instant photos is going digital. Polaroid, the company that pioneered instant photography 60 years ago, is launching the first in a new line of digital instant photo products. Using a revolutionary, pocket-sized inkless printing process, the Polaroid PoGo™ Instant Mobile Printer, unlocks photos trapped on mobile phones and digital cameras.

For fans of the original Polaroid instant camera, the Polaroid PoGo™ Instant Mobile Printer, short for Polaroid-on-the-go, provides a new way to continue the magic of instant printed pictures, and is the biggest innovation for the brand since the commercial launch of the iconic instant film in 1948.

Weighing just eight ounces, the Polaroid PoGo™ Instant Mobile Printer uses a Bluetooth or USB connection to receive pictures and creates full-colour digital photos without the need for ink cartridges or ribbons. The pictures print in 60 seconds – instantly dry to the touch, removing the need to ‘shake it like a Polaroid picture’. “For decades, the name Polaroid has been synonymous with white-bordered pictures, although change and innovation have always been, and will continue to be, a key part of this business,” explains Tom Petters, Chairman and owner of Polaroid.

“Dr. Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid, reinvented this company many times through its 70-year history – from polarized lenses to eyewear to the iconic instant camera,” said Petters. “With the Polaroid PoGo™ Instant Mobile Printer, we’re reinventing the magic of instant printed pictures for the 21st century.”

The Polaroid PoGo™ Instant Mobile Printer was exclusively unveiled by popular Hollyoaks actress, Leah Hackett, at PC World on London’s Tottenham Court Road today and will go on sale nationally tomorrow at retail outlets for £99 including PC World, selected Curry’s and John Lewis stores, Play.com and Amazon.com.

Polaroid PoGo™ products employ Zink™ Zero Ink™ Printing Technology from Zink Imaging, using a unique composite paper which houses cyan, yellow and magenta dye crystals in a protective coat. The millions of crystals embedded within the special Polaroid paper are colourless before printing, so the paper appears white. The secret to the process is the heat activation which brings the photos to life through colourising the crystals, printing high quality images in less time than a traditional Polaroid photo.

More than a decade in the making, the ZINK™ Zero Ink™ Printing Technology originally hatched within the research and development department of Polaroid, before spinning out as a separate company. As the company’s namesake innovation reaches the digital age, it’s only fitting that Polaroid will pioneer this inkless printing technology through its new digital instant printer.

Facts about Polaroid:

  • Polaroid reinvents instant photography with the launch of the Polaroid PoGo™ Instant Mobile Printer, the world’s first such product.
  • In 1936 Edwin Land and George Wheelwright demonstrated the world’s first polarised, anti-glare car headlights
  • Polaroid the company was founded in 1937 by Edwin Land and a group of small investors and unveiled the first commercial instant camera, the Land Camera, in 1947
  • When Polaroid first started trading, its main product was polarised sheet glass to be used for sunglasses and windows of railway observation cars in the USA
  • Edwin Land was so innovative, that he stands second only to Thomas Edison with the number of US patents granted to him (over 500)
  • During World War II, Polaroid technology was used to help pilots with anti-glare goggles, with the same Polaroid technology used by fighter pilots in their visors today
  • In 1952, the first instant x-ray print was created – taking just 60 seconds to produce
    While the initial application for Polaroid was for sunglasses and scientific work, it has been key to many other products including LCD flat screen TVs
  • Hip Hop band Outkast bought Polaroid to a whole new generation in 2003 with their hit song ‘Hey Ya’, which included the immortal line ‘Shake it like a Polaroid picture’
  • The Polaroid instant picture has long played an important role for many professions and trades including the police and forensic crime teams, insurance companies, artists, film & TV directors for continuity purposes and of course photographers – to name but a few.
  • While the Polaroid photo has a plethora of fans and admirers world wide, artist Andy Warhol was one of the most significant users of Polaroid instant film, which was instrumental to the creation of some of his most famous pieces
  • Polaroid enters new segments of consumer electronics business with the launch of portable DVD players and LCD TVs in 2003
  • By the end of 2004, Polaroid is the number one selling brand of portable DVD players
    Just a few years after launching its portable DVD player, Polaroid achieves top ten rankings among global brands in other CE categories such as LCD TVs and digital cameras
  • Posted By: Matt

    [Post tag(s): smartphone blog, Pocket PC blog, Tracy & Matt, Polaroid, Zink]

    Posted in: News, Printers
    By March 21, 2008 Read More →

    Polaroid Launches First Inkless Instant Digital Printer

    Polaroid are probably best known for their instant cameras and film. Much has been made of the fact that Polaroid are going to stop production of their instant film products but that’s not to say that they are leaving the instant imaging market.

    Last week I attended a Polaroid press event where I was introduced to a number of new Polaroid products from large LCD TV’s and photo frames to Digital Cameras. Perhaps the one thing that grabbed everyones attention, however, was the Polaroid PoGo. This small device can print the photos directly from your PictBridge enabled digital camera, without the need for a PC, and you see the results in under 60 seconds.

    I had a chance to play with a PoGo and I have to say I really NEED one!

    Polaroid PoGo

    Polaroid PoGo

    From the press release:

    The magic of instant photos is going digital. Polaroid, the company that pioneered instant photography 60 years ago, is launching the first in a new line of digital instant photo products. Using a revolutionary, inkless printing process, the Polaroid Pogo™ unlocks photos trapped on mobile phones and digital cameras. For fans of the original Polaroid instant camera, the Polaroid PoGo™ provides a new way to continue the magic of instant printed pictures.

    “For decades, the name Polaroid has been synonymous with white-bordered pictures, although change and innovation have always been, and will continue to be, a key part of this business,” explains Tom Petters, Chairman and owner of Polaroid.

    “Dr. Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid, reinvented this company many times through its 70-year history – from polarized lenses to eyewear to the iconic instant camera,” said Petters. “With the Polaroid PoGo™, Polaroid is reinventing the magic of instant printed pictures for the 21st century, and helping ensure the rich legacy of Polaroid lives for another 70 years and beyond.”

    Roughly the size of a deck of cards, the Polaroid PoGo™ uses a Bluetooth or USB connection to receive pictures and creates full-colour digital photos without ink cartridges or ribbons. The pictures print in 60 seconds – instantly dry to the touch! ZINK technology uses a special paper that is a composite material which houses cyan, yellow and magenta dye crystals in a protective coat. The crystals are colourless before printing so the paper appears white. The secret to the process is the heat activation which brings the photos to life through colourising the crystals, printing high quality images in less time than a traditional Polaroid photo!

    You can find out more about the Polaroid PoGo and Zink (Zero-Ink) technology on the ZINK website.

    Posted By: Matt

    [Post tag(s): smartphone blog, Pocket PC blog, Tracy & Matt, Polaroid, Zink]

    Posted in: News, Printers